Sold: 1970 Lancia Fulvia HF 'Fanalone' ($99,000)
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1970 Lancia Fulvia HF 'Fanalone' ($99,000)

Mid-Century Motoring By Mid-Century Motoring
May 25, 2017

Photography by Sean Smith

PRICE: $99,000

High Fidelity Rally Hero: the Fulvia HF “Fanalone”

It is an indelible image of rallying and Italian motorsport: the little Fulvia HF flying sideways down a snow-covered mountain road, LANCIA-ITALIA emblazoned across its hood, while drivers Sandro Munari and Mario Mannucci fight their way to victory at the 1972 Monte Carlo Rally. The win was an important moment for the storied company, as it ultimately led them to the championship title that year (and many beyond), but was also a fitting tribute to the amazing automobile hiding behind layers of snow, mud, and HF Squadra Corse stickers.

Nearly a decade earlier, Lancia introduced the replacement for its Appia: the iconic Fulvia. Sold in Berlina, Coupe, and even fastback form (by Zagato), the car was unmistakably a product of this forward-thinking company. A front-wheel drive design, with a transaxle ahead of the driver and a V4 engine lying on its side even farther up in the nose, lent the Fulvia surprisingly adept road manners and potential. Paired with disc brakes, independent front suspension, and a gorgeous (if small) cabin, the car delivered its own special version of driving thrills while simultaneously providing Lancia’s racing efforts an exciting new platform. Early attempts at motorsport saw the 1.2- and 1.3-liter cars upgraded to Lancia’s famous “HF” (High Fidelity) spec as the company entered cars in the contemporary rally scene. But the competition became more and more stiff, and soon the Fulvia needed something extra under the hood to stay in contention.

DESIGN

Enter the new Lancia HF 1.6, jumping into the fray with a significantly-upgraded 1.6-liter engine. With up to 132 hp on tap the new engine created a purebred Italian rally monster out of the Fulvia frame, and naturally the rest of the car received exciting enhancements as well. For homologation purposes Lancia produced 1,278 road-going examples, featuring the same 1.6 under the hood (though tuned to 115 hp) and many of the same cues as seen on the rally cars.

Piero Castagnero’s Fulvia Coupe design is the basis for the HF, but visually the homologation cars are strikingly different from normal production examples. Flared arches house a wider track, while the bumpers remained on the shelf, resulting in a lower, wider, and more sinister stance. The blue and yellow HF stripe runs down the center of the car, along with flourishes like the angular, pared-down hood strake in place of the usual full-length chrome piece. In the engine bay, the V4’s valve cover echoes the livery, painted to match in yet more blue and yellow.

Perhaps the most famous detail, though, are the oversized Carello driving lights in place of the main beams. At the time, competition rules stipulated a limited number of lights up front, so Lancia had no choice but to upgrade the existing configuration. It turned out to be the signature design element of the car, earning it the nickname “Fanalone” (literally “big headlights” in Italian, along with all the double entendres one can imagine).

THE CAR

Formerly part of a large collection overseas, this Fanalone is now in the US and presents in exceptionally original condition throughout. Thanks to an intact libretto (service booklet) it’s recorded as an Italian-market car, originally from the Palermo region, and one that stayed in the country until its recent importation. Many additional service stamps show careful ownership throughout the years, while the dry and straight body indicates it was never raced or damaged. As a certified ASI example, the car still retains its numbered plaque on the rear parcel shelf, indicating that it met the criteria for a preserved, classic car within Italy’s guidelines.

All of the HF trim is accounted for and is in great shape. The vinyl stripes and stickers, large Carellos up front, and Cromodora wheels all present well and give this Fanalone its famous racing look, while the lively 1.6 and twin Solex 42mm carbs back it up with exciting performance. Inside, the elegant sport seats face a Ferrero steering wheel off a Lancia works race car, which is set against the gorgeous wood of the Fulvia’s dash.

EXTERIOR

Body – Dry and straight, with the correct alloy door/hood/trunk panels, the car does not appear to have ever been damaged, in an accident, or restored.

Paint  The Rosso Corsa paint is presentable and driver-quality with only minor flaws. It is perfectly suited for the exciting array of events that this car is eligible for, without having to stress over an occasional stone chip.

Chrome and Glass  Appearing original throughout, the trim is in great shape and everything is intact. All glass is clear and serviceable, with excellent rally stickers (many from past iterations of the Targa Florio) on the rear side windows.

Wheels  The Cromodora wheels look great with only minor wear/paint chips, though the tires are older and may be due for replacement soon.

INTERIOR

Steering Wheel This car is fitted with a stunning Ferrero HF wheel, more commonly found on works cars, and it is in excellent shape with a soft, black leather rim.

Dashboard & Instrumentation – The elegant Fulvia wood dash looks to be original and is free of cracks, as is the black vinyl dash top. The Veglia instruments are clear and work well, though the special Fanalone oil pressure gauge (in lieu of the clock on a normal Fuliva) shows slight sun damage under the lens.

Seats, Trim, and Carpet – With a wonderful “flying buttress” design, the Fanalone seats are both striking and comfortable. These are in great condition and free of tears, though the driver’s side seat bottom may need one of its springs replaced. Door panels, the parcel shelf, and all carpets are excellent throughout. The front rubber mats are missing but can be sourced.

MECHANICAL

Engine – Recognizably a Fulvia engine, but so much more aggressive and eager, the 1.6-liter V4 is in excellent health and pulls hard all the way up to redline. Twin 42mm Solex DDHF carbs sound great and feature dramatic trumpets, providing for smooth acceleration.

Transmission – A five-speed manual transaxle with a dogleg first gear, the gearbox is a joy to use and delights its user with a short throw and precise action. These cars retain the shorter gearing from their rally brethren, and are extremely well-suited to a tight, twisting backroad.

ORIGINALITY

There are a lot of differences between a Fanalone and a normal Fulvia, and it’s important to find an example that retains all the details of this unique spec. As an original “stradale” homologation car, this one ticks all of those boxes while reflecting a history of careful ownership and preservation. With an ASI plaque, low mileage, and correct running gear, it delivers a time-warp experience that can be impossible to replicate in a lesser example.

DOCUMENTATION

As previously mentioned, the car’s libretto booklet is included, and displays a variety of information and service stamps from the first decade or so of its life. Also included are the ASI plaque, the original Battaini jack, and the correct tool roll.

OUR THOUGHTS

Homologation is Sacred – There’s no denying the appeal of a homologation special. These cars existed to allow the manufacturer to go racing, and often were made in extremely limited numbers (usually the exact amount stipulated by the sanctioning body). Furthermore, they share a lot with their racing siblings, and provide an on-road experience unparalleled by normal production cars.

The Beginning of a Legend – During the Fanalone’s reign, and certainly in the decades to follow, Lancia entered the highest echelon of achievement during the most legendary years of the European rally scene. It all started with this car.

Built like a Fine Watch – All Lancia cars of the pre-Fiat era are overbuilt and engineered to an unbelievably high level. The details of their engines, suspension, and overall design are fascinating, and truly not found elsewhere. Underneath all the stripes and stickers a Fanalone delivers endless joy in its little details—spend a little time staring at the intricacies of the engine bay, or even just the spiral pull on the dipstick, and it all becomes clear.

MEET THE SELLER

The Fanalone is for sale by Ben Tarlow at Mid-Century Motoring. You can get to know him better here.

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