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Author Topic: What is a Lancia?  (Read 1266 times)
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« on: 15 July, 2008, 10:50:49 PM »

So we have followed some impassioned discussions over the last couple of years on Internet bulletin boards, and in various bars and pubs, pertaining to the new Delta and how successful it has been in updating the Lancia brand internationally, and speculating on how the UK will receive the marque.

In the design cues of recent Lancia models and now in this new Delta I'm concerned that the car itself is not stunning enough to look at, may not be rewarding enough to drive and may not be built to a standard that inspires 15,000+ worth of confidence... but mostly for me I find that the design evokes a Lancia era that predates me, and possibly also the vast majority of their target audience...

We have seen conceptual reinterpretations of Stratos and Fulvia that either invoke the spirit of previous hits, or cast into relief that in the Fiat family Lancia has lost its mojo, its standing and its ability to uniquely deliver heart-stopping design, brutal and uncompromised performance engineering or simple, chic and nimble cars.

Among British Lancia fans it's divisive to ask "what is a Lancia?" and inevitably the answers will be subjective, especially here in fact, where to a large extent the contemporary view of Lancia was rocked in the late 1970's, and stalled entirely in the early 1990's. For one group of enthusiasts Lancia may represent an important innovator in the early days of motoring, for another it maybe is engineering excellence and uncompromised flair in the 1950's and '60's.

The vast majority of us have only experienced the Lybra, Thesis, Musa, Ypsilon and other latter day Lancias whilst travelling overseas and so they are (sadly) interesting but largely irrelevant with opportunities for ownership being limited to personal or grey imports.

Speaking personally I have long viewed Lancia as a sporting brand... refined and elegant in its road cars, which deliver agility and drivability greater than the sum of their parts. But it is in the bleak forests of North Yorkshire, the scorched deserts of Africa and in myriad klaxon-deafened European mountain villages that the Lancia spirit comes alive. The snarling thrill of a Stratos, 037 or Delta S4 projectile hurtling precisely at ten tenths over barely suitable roads at the hands of a brooding Finn is what I remember and what I crave again!

I'm aware and in awe of the beautiful designs that preceded these cars, but my own Lancia ownership belongs firmly in the post Group-B era... the period between the dainty Fulvia and the reborn HF 4WD is where my relationship with Lancia was forged and these rally behemoths were the cars that define the brand for me.

So please Lancia, for the chaps in their mid twenties to mid fifties... we need a car for the road and a car for the track. We need somewhere to hang our hearts and a campaign that makes us want to stitch patches on our bodywarmers and carry flasks of soup into the forest.

The Aurelia was a beautiful car, but I'm sick of my choices being limited to retro-pastiche on one side and clinically technical on the other, I need my Lancia to find me a new Kankkunen, a new Toivenen and then to build them something to destroy the WRC in.

If Fiat group wants me in a new Lancia, this is the recipe!

But what about you?
« Last Edit: 15 July, 2008, 10:52:56 PM by ian.cleary » Logged
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