1972 Lancia Fulvia 1.3S Coupe
Sometimes finding good cars takes forever. You have to beat the bushes, send a thousand text messages, make a hundred phone calls, and comb through endless want ads in multiple languages. Invariably, you end up wasting an inordinate amount of time, and often even take trains to far off places, only to find the car you traveled so far to see is not up to snuff. It's tougher work than it seems, and inordinately time consuming.
Other times, however, great cars just seem to fall into your lap somehow.
Bill was recently here in Spain, touring the peninsula with his lovely wife, sightseeing, hanging out here in Javea with Altamira and I, and occasionally scouring the countryside for interesting cars and trucks. While passing through Barcelona, he stopped in to see a colleague of ours, a man named Javier who brokers classic cars, although typically vintage Ferraris, Aston Martins, pre-war Alfa Romeos and the like. Pretty heady stuff.
“Something has come up,” Javier told Bill. “Something out of the ordinary. A man contacted me about a car that we don't normally deal with. A Lancia Fulvia. I would have told him no, but it's, well… kind of a nice story. I thought you might be interested.” Javier is a very smart man, so Bill called me immediately.
“Hey, uhhh… I know we just bought a Fulvia from the Canary Islands, but I'd like to buy another one,” he said. “It's a really good car.”
“Okay,” I replied. “What's the deal?”
“We'd be buying it from the original owner. An Italian. He bought it new in Milan and kept it there its whole life. Same owner. Same address. It only has 90k kilometers on it, and looks like it. It's pretty amazing.”
“Wow.” I said, getting excited. “I'm in. So we're going to have two Fulvia coupes on the same boat?”
“It worked for Noah.”
“AN ENGINEERING TOUR DE FORCE.”
With it's narrow angle DOHC V4 engine and front wheel drive, the Lancia Fulvia was something a little different when it arrived at the Geneva Motor Show in 1963. If not necessarily for Lancia, at least for the rest of the motoring world. The initial sedan (“Berlina”) model was a bit of a combination of the front-wheel-drive technology found in the Flavia and the V4 technology found in the Appia, but the Fulvia was an entirely new vehicle and shared almost no parts with either earlier model. The mashup worked. Quite well, actually.
But it was in 1965 when the Coupe arrived that things really started to get interesting. With in-house styling by Piero Castagnero that was both compact and stylish, the launch of the coupe began a period of rally and competition success that would cement the Fulvia's place in motoring history. After absorbing the HF Squadra Corse and making it Lancia's in-house racing division under the control of Cesare Fiorio, Lancia gave the Fulvia coupe its debut at the Tour de Course in 1965, and there was no looking back. Fulvias won the Italian Rally Championship every year from 1965 to 1973, the International Rally Championship in 1972, and turned in many notable performances in the meantime, including Sandro Munari's victory in the legendary Monte Carlo Rally, where he beat a more powerful Porsche 911S by almost eleven minutes.
Throughout the late 1960's and early 1970's, the Fulvia coupe continued to be a sought after road car, making up for its relative lack of power with sparkling handling, exceptional build quality and remarkable refinement. Road & Track magazine, after testing the Fulvia Coupe in 1967, proclaimed it “a precision motorcar,” and “an engineering tour de force.”
The car offered here is a Series II model, which was introduced in 1969 with revised bodywork, better brakes, an improved 5-speed transmission and other evolutionary changes. It has covered less than 58,000 miles from new, in the care of only one faithful owner, and has spent its entire life in and around Milan, Italy. It has been recently serviced and is ready to use and enjoy as a Fulvia should be, a wonderful motorcar that would be welcome at a wide variety of vintage events throughout North America and abroad.
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