It’s certainly no secret that most of us here at ViaRETRO hold classic Lancias in very high regard. Both Søren and Claus have previously owned Fulvias, and while I have yet to put a Lancia in my garage, I’m convinced that day will come. While I’m open-minded about which specific Lancia that may be, I’ll admit that there are of course a few select models which crop up in my dreams more often than others.
While many dyed-in-wool Lancista insist that real Lancias stem from before the FIAT takeover, I’m personally not too concerned about this. Sure there’s a character and ingenuity to those pre-’69 Lancias which perhaps faded a little under FIAT’s rule, but remember that the glorious Stratos came to be under FIAT, and that’s probably all the proof that will ever be required in proving that there was indeed something rather special about Lancia even post-’69.
It wasn’t just the illustrious Stratos though. Both the Beta and the troublesome Gamma are interesting and desirable models in their own right. So much so that we’ve written about both on several occasions here in ViaRETRO, such as when Claus wrote about the broad Beta family or when Søren fell for an early Gamma Coupé which he met at Cars ‘n’ Coffee just north of Copenhagen. I love them all, but ever since childhood it’s been the sexy little mid-engined Montecarlo which has always held a special place in my heart. In fact, we’ve even featured a Montecarlo as a Prime Find previously, and this will be the first time in ViaRETRO history that a given model has the privilege of being featured twice. That really says it all…
The last Montecarlo we featured as a Prime Find was a left hand drive car for sale privately in Italy, but this time it’s a right hand drive UK-market car which will be up for auction with Brightwells at their Leominster auction on this coming Wednesday the 28th of November.
So what, you ask, makes this particular Montecarlo so special? Well in short; the colour and the estimate. It’s a 1978 car making it one of the very last series 1 cars – strictly speaking I should therefore call it by its full name: Beta Montecarlo. It wasn’t until the series 2 cars were relaunched in 1980 that they dropped the Beta name to be called just Montecarlo. Time has however turned this Beta Montecarlo into a little bit of a series 1 / series 2 cocktail, as it has at some point during its life lost the distinctive solid panelled buttresses in favour of the later glazed buttresses of the series 2 cars. It also has a split front grill from a series 2 car, but luckily though, it still retains the other features which are unique to the series 1 cars such as the pretty Vitaloni door mirrors, the funky two-spoke alloy wheels and even the stock two-spoke steering wheel.
In my opinion though, the single most appealing feature has to be the utterly delicious colour of this Beta Montecarlo – the rare and ever so handsome pale pastel blue. The Montecarlo looks nothing short of fabulous in this shade! Which only makes reading the auction description all the more mind boggling, as they kick off with the following words: “Paint it red and call it a Ferrari. Who would know?”, which frankly has to be the single most ridiculous thing anyone could possibly do to this striking Italian Pininfarina beauty. Yet another resale red Italian sportscar is probably the last thing this world needs, and ruining an excellent example of a rare Lancia would be the only thing achieved. Here are a few pictures of the pale pastel blue 1978 Lancia Beta Montecarlo which we have borrowed from Brightwells’ online catalogue:
If only I had more money, more garage space and fewer classic car projects, I would be delighted to be the person to save this Beta Montecarlo from such a devastating destiny. In my ownership, it would live on in all its pale blue splendour. However, I will sadly have to leave that pleasure up to someone else – perhaps even one of our ViaRETRO readers? The estimate has been set at £ 9,000 – £11,000, which I suppose reflects the Lancia not presenting in perfectly factory correct condition. Even so, to my mind it still seems like a very reasonable estimate considering what’s on offer – a rare Pininfarina-designed, Lampredi twincam mid-engined Lancia in a gorgeous colour. I for one will be very interested to see where the bidding goes on this one…
For more details on this Beta Montecarlo, and perhaps even the required information to get yourself to Leominster on Wednesday, here’s the link to Brighwells website. You’ll have to scroll down to “L” in order to find the sexy little Italian.
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org