Monday, 6 April 2015

Car of the week: Lancia Beta Coupe

Unlike previous weeks the reasoning behind today's car is a little different. I'm not going to advocate buying this car if you want headache free European motoring, instead I'm saying that if you want to be different and don't mind Italain themed problem solving then maybe this is the car for you. This weeks car is the gorgeous Lancia Beta Coupe, a car that I thought I would never see down under.
Lancia Beta Coupe

Who would buy one?

Now choosing to buy a Lancia outside of Italy takes a very special sort of person, someone who really does dare to be different, but the fact that someone in 1975 in Australia woke up one day and thought, yes a Beta Coupe is what I need in my life is quite extraordinary. I don't know the official figures so please correct me if I'm wrong but I doubt there are more than a few dozen Beta Coupes still surviving down under. Yes the wonderful Italian styling might be a reason why some found homes, but why someone would choose such a flawed car to tackle Australia in is quite baffling.
Lancia Beta Coupe

Surprisingly advanced 

Anyway reasoning aside I'm pleased some of Lancia's most popular exports are still out there as despite iffy reliability and chronic rust problems the Beta was quite an advanced car. Beneath the beautiful body a choice of 1.6, 1.8 or later 1.3 and 2.0 litre 4 cylinder engines could be had, these were mounted transversely powering the front wheels, unusual for a coupe of this vintage. The engines themselves were tilted backwards slightly too, this moved the centre of gravity back and improved traction to those front wheels, a very clever way to improve the Beta's handling. On top of this the Beta Coupe featured fully independent suspension with a rear end that utilised MacPherson struts and trick anti roll bars. A fine piece of engineering that assured the Beta Coupe handled like an Italian sports car should, even if it only made do with 88kw of pulling power.
Alfa Beta's had renowned handling capabilities
Puff of blue smoke probably accepted with Beta ownershop

The negatives   

Lets face the facts though, cleverly engineered it might have been but well built? Not so much. And now some 40 years later things will have likely deteriorated. There is no point ignoring the fact it will need some work to keep it going, but there are clubs out there who can help with that. The other good news is that most surviving cars will be owned by someone who cherishes it or at least had good intentions for it, which brings me on to the car I've picked this week thanks to carsales.com.au.

Now go get yourself one

Lancia Beta Coupe for sale
An almost completed 1975 Beta Coupe project for a very reasonable $6,500. The advert goes into a lot of detail on the work already carried out and the seller comes across as very honest, so I wouldn't doubt this car in the metal is exactly how it's described in the add. Obviously there is no rego and some more money does need to be spent but this Beta could make a very desirable classic, not to mention a potential investment opportunity. Best act quick though, if the seller has no interest by the 24th April it's going back into the garage!


1975 Lancia Beta Coupe, $6,500

Photo credit: Photopin.com, tony-harrison.co.uk
 

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