I Bought a Lancia Fulvia!

UPDATED with more pics, thanks to a friend who’s also visited the collection.


Happy days!

As the headline suggests, I’ve just transferred payment for the purchase of a Lancia Fulvia! I’ve been wanting one of these cars in the worst possible way, for a few years now.

Fittingly, I’ve ended up with one in the worst possible condition πŸ™‚

This is first photo I saw of the car. I now have a few more below.



The story….

This Lancia Fulvia was part of a local collection that’s being sold after the owner’s death. There were quite a few interesting cars in the collection, actually. My stepson, Geoff, bought the Fiat X19 parked next to the Fulvia in this photo. We’ll re-commission that one over the next few weeks/months so he can have some fun with it. I nearly threw myself at a Honda S800 convertible (and the Honda S600 Coupe next to it) but I could never walk past the Fulvia.

The good parts:

  • It’s a genuine Series 1 1.3 Fulvia Rallye, which means it has the aluminium doors, bonnet and boot. It’s the last Lancia before Fiat got involved with the company so it’s quite desirable from that point of view.
  • It’s a local car! I’ve been looking all over Australia. I’ve even had two Fulvias checked out overseas in the last year or so. To finally find one less that 30 minutes from home is just amazing.
  • It was cheap (in Fulvia terms), which brings us to “the bad parts”….

The bad parts:

It might simply look dusty in the photo, but this Fulvia needs complete restoration. The engine is seized, for starters. There’s rust in the sills, though thankfully the subframe appears to be solid. It’s painted red but the original colour was dark blue. The interior needs restoration, too.

There’s not a part of this car that doesn’t need fixing or fettling.

So while I’ve got my Fulvia, it’ll be some time before I get to drive it. The first step will be slowly pulling it apart to see just how bad the damage is, before paying some skilled men to fix the structural bits for me. I intend to use Lancia’s superior engineering to my benefit by learning how to pull apart and rebuild a well designed engine.

We pick the Fulvia and the X19 up in just over a week from now. More photos and stories will be posted in due course.

It might be a mess, but it’s my mess and I couldn’t be happier.

More pics. Click to enlarge:

photo 5

Incorrect Lancia Beta badge here…..

photo 1

This pic actually makes the interior look decent. It needs plenty, trust me.

photo 2

That engine’s not going to push this car anywhere…..

photo 3

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  1. Congratulations! I have heard of, seen some photos of, but not been to or know the whereabouts of (aside from suburb) this collection.

    1. Thanks Nige. Yes, the sale is a bit hush-hush. It’s a word of mouth type affair with qualified potential buyers getting through the door.

    1. Thanks mate. Missed you (and Nige) last Sunday at Sandy Bay. Was going to ask you about your own V4 project that you were hinting at. Next time….. πŸ™‚

  2. And now the fun begins…
    At least I hope it’s fun. I was rooting for you to get a Fulvia, and I hope the teardown doesn’t reveal any nasty stuff.

    1. I know there’s rust in the sills, there’s probably rust in the floors. If the subframe reveals a whole lotta nasties then we have a problem. But the usual surface-level checks seem OK. The front guards haven’t split and they’re usually first to go when there’s a subframe problem.

      Fingers crossed!

  3. I’m very happy for you my friend. You know I have affection for the Lancia marque, and this should prove to be a great project for you and yours. Patience is a virtue, and this looks to be a virtuous project! ha!

    A college friend of mine had a Fiat X1/9 from the middle 1970’s. It was always breaking, but then again, he’d not ever really fixed it as he should. He was always most annoyed that the car’s gearing was much too low for highway driving. I thought that was silly of him. Why would you expect the car to be a cruiser? I assume that the newer model with the 5-speed transmission remedied that “complaint” somewhat.

    Have fun! That’s the name of the game.

  4. One more thing: I have ZERO experience with aluminum body parts, but I understand they present some challenges. Seek advice, which I’m sure you will.

    1. Yeah, there’s a reason companies are only just starting to work with it in a widespread fashion. The boot will pose some problems but the doors and bonnet are in good condition. The rest of it steel so should be (relatively) fixable.

  5. Hahahaha, well done and congratulations…. I can feel the excitement in your post πŸ™‚

  6. Congratulaions Swade, Great to see you finally got your own Lancia. Now the fun starts. I’m sure there are Lancia experts in Tasmania, if not I can put you in touch with some on the mainland (Melbourne) (sounding like a Tasmanian now, though I am only half. I only have one head, but some people think I’m a little crazy).

    1. If we have experts here, I haven’t met one yet. But I’ll be hunting around, that’s for sure.

      Bottom line, restoring this car will be an exercise in saving money to get experts to fix things. I’ll do as much as I can, but that’s not much.

  7. Exciting. I look forward to see the pictures of the restoration. It will be lots of fun I’m sure.

  8. Congratulations!! I love these Fulvias! I have happy memories of working at Lancia (my first job!) and sitting and dreaming in Fulvias and Beta coupes in the showroom!

    Enjoy the process! πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and encouragement. If there was ever a car worth the effort, it’s this one. Even my wife loves them!

  10. Many congrats, Steven, I’m sure you’ll be very happy together…eventually! I confess I have a bit of a soft spot for those Fulvias too. So how does this play with the Maxim…?!
    Best of luck with the restoration, looking forward to seeing it come together over the next few years πŸ™‚

    1. There’s definitely some maxim conflict going on, Al, but I think it can be overcome by the unwritten maxim of “if it’s rare as rocking-horse poo, buy the one you can find” πŸ™‚

  11. Finally! How cool is it that you find one just down the road too; ‘meant to be’ as they say, and welcome to Reno World, where the more you dig… the more you dig. Think about taking photos of every angle before you pull it down. I’m still trying to come to terms with my resto, attempting not to just chuck stuff into margarine tubs and bury them in the shed. Every little nut and bolt will be impossible to source again when you want to rebuild it.
    Great that you got the Rallye! Enjoy!!

  12. Progress being made, in little steps, but progress nonetheless. Rear window is now out, rust issues around the drains wire brushed and chemically treated. The construction of the car is such that there are several panels with edges all meeting in seams that were sport welded by hand and then brazed over. Very thin sheet metal too, so any rot doesn’t leave much to play with. But it is pretty decent compared to some i have seen, so i’m lucky. I try to do a small job every weekend, mainly to keep traction on it. E21s are becoming desirable now it seems and that is giving me more hope too. I watched a friend go through the highs and lows mentally with his Spitfire resto. I just need to feel that things keep moving along. Can post a few pics if you want…

  13. Couldnt be happer your you mate. I hope you’ve found a good place to store it untill the work can begin. Also make sure you’ve got plenty of shedspace because…as I’ve found…cars i parts needs about 3 times the space that assembled car takes up. Just dropped off the 914 to the paintshop this morning. Will be some time before I get it back but hopefully it will be worth it.

    1. Storage will be a problem. It’ll be under a cover in my front yard for the first little while, hopefully not too long. There are plans that include a garage in the front yard (4 spaces) but that’ll take a while to happen. Hopefully it should go to the panel guys in a few months for some new sills and floor and by the time it gets back, our current garage should have space (968 is going offsite).

      Can’t wait to see the 914 with its new paint on.

  14. Hey Andrew R. If you would like a hand with your resto, even though it’s a BM. . and not a Saab, let me know. I’m a free man, able to hand you a spanner and willing to learn. Good luck with your toils.

  15. Swade, Thanks for the additional photos, great start to a before collection. Take thousands more from all angles and have plenty of sealable plastic bags and marker pens!

    Hope your’ve got a warm dry place to store your 968.

  16. If the engine’s seized, maybe time to pour 50ml of Penetrene down the spark plug holes and leave it to sit for a week or so to ease the dismantling? This works.

      1. We don’t have that brand in in US, either, but I’m sure that penetrating oils are available pretty much everywhere. Here in the US, the favored brands would be Liquid Wrench and PB Blaster. Some folks swear by old automatic transmission fluid, too. Much more information available by Googling “penetrating oil”.

        1. I might stick to the brand name searches rather than the broad term suggested, if that’s OK πŸ™‚

          Actually, I’ve got two bottles of Penetrene on their way. Should be here next week.

  17. Congratulation Swade.

    This place in southern France has an extensive parts inventory: toutespieceslancia.com.

    I’ve never been, but learned about them through my favourite French automotive blog:

  18. Congratulations! I would think a restoration project could be fun and educational if you got the car at the right price to start with (and it sounds like you did!). And at times if it gets frustrating, just take a deep breath and go for a drive in your Porsche. πŸ™‚

    Cheers! It sounds like a great adventure!

  19. Great news mate! So chuffed for you. I hope you find it’s a much simpler job than you’re expecting to get her running, and that you can realise that automotive dream of driving your own Fulvia sooner rather than later. The fact she’s an S1 is the icing on the cake. If you can, do enough to drive her before the rebuild starts and she’s in pieces for months.


  20. Lancia’s reputation took a hammering in the UK in 1980. Lancia Beta models, suffering from serious suspension sub-frame corrosion problems were bought back from owners by the company in a highly publicised campaign. The brand never recovered from the effects of this incident and the Delta, which had a rallying reputation, was last model sold, being withdrawn in 1995.

    Turning a dream into reality can be a very satisfying experience. I hope the journey goes well for you Steven. It will be interesting to follow the account of your adventure.

  21. Splendid news Mr Swade sir. Welcome to the club. You have selected wisely. I consider the Rallye to be the pick of the delicious coupe’ bunch. Fulvias are beautifully constructed. Take your time and respect the engineering. Let me know if I can assist you in any way. The adventure begins. Lucky man. So envious – you can never have enough Fulvias/Lancias.

  22. I just purchased the same car but in perfect working order. I am mad for it. Can’t keep myself from driving it. You are going to feel the same way once you get it going
    It’s a work of art and a keeper