16 December 2019

More than an old car #126: Lancia Flavia

It is always nice to come across classic cars anytime, anywhere, but it was a bonus to have seen this elusive 1963 Lancia Flavia Vignale Convertible!

The Lancia Flavia was developed by Antonio Fessia, then Central Technical Director of the Lancia motor company in the 1950s, and was unveiled to the public at the Turin Motor Show in 1960. Fessia was determined to produce a suitable front-wheel-drive car, which was inspired by a prototype that he worked on. Its name is based on the Via Flavia, an ancient Roman road, which was in keeping with Lancia's tradition of adopting names from Roman roads.

Initially, only the sedan (berlina) version was available, but a coupe and convertible were gradually introduced. The convertible (introduced in 1962) was based off the sedan, and was designed by Giovanni Michelotti from the Vignale coachbuilder company. As such, it still looks square and sober, although the pouting grille and twin headlights gave it a certain tenacity. A variety of engines were offered, namely 1.5 litre, 1.8 litre and 2 litre engines. This unit was powered by a 1800 cc Lancia H4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 173 km/h with an acceleration of 13 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4340 mm long and weighed 1150 kg, with a decent fuel consumption of 11 litres/100 km.

Production of the Flavia ended in 1970, although the convertible version was discontinued in 1967. It was a very rare car even until today: out of the 1,601 units made, 834 cars had the 1.8 litre engine. Amazingly, only 49 in total were in RHD! Interestingly, there are only about 10 Lancias in existence in Singapore: seems like people were not that keen to keep the numerous bread-and-butter models that used to roam our roads.

This unit was imported some time in 2012 and I understand it rarely appears, except during the F1 Drivers' Parade every year. I was fortunate to see it up close when it was awaiting maintenance: it really blows the mind to see that we have such unique cars despite our restrictive ownership. This is not just some old car, but one that you'll be hard-pressed to find around the world...having said that, I hope you will be able to find it soon!

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