CC Outtake: Lancia Fulvia Coupe – Simple, Brilliant, Scarce

fulvia 4

A compact, stylish, capable, Italian coupe, with a 1.3 litre  DOHC engine and a great handling chassis sounds like an ideal recipe for many drivers, a great compromise between enjoyment, ability and cost. Lancia offered all of this in the Fulvia Coupe from 1965 to 1976.

fulvia 2

The Fulvia Coupe was based on the Fuliva saloon–named after a Roman aristocrat and the husband of Mark Antony–and was powered by a 1216 cc or 1231 cc DOHC V4 engine. It may not sound a lot, and maybe sounds complex, but it gave 80bhp at a time when that was a pretty decent number for a car this size. It was several inches shorter in the wheelbase than the more conventional looking saloon and was styled in house at Lancia, rather than by one of the Italian design houses. Both the Coupe and Berlina (or saloon) gained reputations for engineering excellence and great road manners. In effect, Lancia had a position not too dissimilar to that of BMW currently.

fulvia 1

The position of the outboard headlights shows this is a pre 1970 series 1 car; in 1970, the outboard headlights were lifted to meet revised regulations, with a slight negative impact on the “just right as it” factor in its styling. The ultimate version was the Fulvia HF with 1.6 litre 132bhp engine

The Fulvia had a great rally career, winning many rallies in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The HF won the International Championship (precursor to the current WRC) in 1972, followed by a celebration Monte Carlo edition.

fulvia 3

I saw this example in south west France last summer, not having seen one on the road for I can’t remember how long. Somehow, the French style yellow lights peering from beneath the tree gave it a real character, like a cat watching you enter its territory. This is clearly a well maintained car, with some minor modifications, principally the additional driving lights and the removal of the bumpers. The format of the number plate shows that the car has been with same owner for several years now. Lucky chap!