5 February 2021

More than an old car #164: Lancia Fulvia

Some time back, I went to ask my viewers about what cars they would like to see on this page. I'll start working on some of them soon, but please do forgive for the lower content output: sometimes one may not be in the mood for things, you know? This 1969 Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1.3 HF was one of the suggestions that popped up, and it was something that I wanted to write about for some time...

The Fulvia was first introduced in 1963 where it replaced the aging Appia. Named after Via Fulvia, an ancient Roman road leading from Tortona to Turin, it featured a front-wheel drive design and shared almost no components from its predecessor. Initially available only as a 4-door sedan (berlina), it was deemed to be rather plain an 'not elegant', although it found some success in rallying.  

The coupe was introduced in 1965, where it immediately became a huge commercial success due to its sporty look. Designed in-house by Pierro Castagnero, its design was inspired by the Riva brand of motorboats and is technically a 2+2 seater sports berlinetta. It was first available in a 1216 cc engine, which was enlarged to 1231 cc in 1967. During that time, Lancia introduced an enhanced version of the Fulvia known as the HF: it was visually distinguished by the removal of the bumpers and a yellow-blue painted stripe on the bonnet and roof. On top of that, the bodywork was lightened by the use of Peraluman alloy and Plexiglas for the rear window. 

The engine capacity was further increased to 1584 cc in 1969 under the direction of Cesare Florio, and these cars were known as 'Fanalones' due to the larger inner headlights. Fulvias after 1970 were facelifted, featuring a thinner grille and export versions had raised external headlights. A final facelift occured in 1974, known as the Fulvia 3 which featured matte black grilles and headlight frames. This Fulvia HF was powered by a 1298 cc Lancia V4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 180 km/h with an acceleration of 9.5 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 3935 mm long and weighed only 850 kg, with a fuel consumption of 12.8 litres / 100 km

Production of the Fulvia ended in 1976 with 140,054 coupes made, of which supposedly just 8 units were the 1.3 HF in RHD. This unit was imported from the UK and underwent some restoration, before it was sold to a well-known classic racing and motoring historian, who still owns it till this day. I am aware of another facelifted Fulvia here which was brought in by the same person: it was auctioned off recently. 

Fulvias in both sedan and coupe versions were sold here in the 1960s, first by Asia Motor Company Ltd and Olivetti (Singapore) Limited. As of 2019, there were only 9 Lancias registered here: the relative lack of understanding on a dead brand can be pretty daunting for someone who might want to bring one in. However, the fact that these have been imported shows the enthusiasm some people have on these rare machines. I haven't gotten a closer look ever since 2018 when these pictures were taken, perhaps you'll be lucky to see it soon!

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