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Homepage. This page: Not one of Lancia's most popular designs perhaps? the 4dr Beta.

Lancia Beta.

A press photo from the 70s showing the Lancia Beta for the family man (or woman)...

Return to Classic Motoring Photographs - Page 4.

Lancia Beta car When did you last see one of these seventies Lancias on the road? The last one I saw was at Tatton Park car show a year or two back (pic), but otherwise I can't remember when I last saw one of these old Betas still in use.The 'Berline' version was the least glamorous of the Beta range, all the style seemingly expended on the Beta Coupe & Spider, the Monte Carlo coupe, and the HPE estate, some of which were supercharged and known as the Volumex. Just as BL did with the Austin Princess, Lancia managed to produce a sedan that looked like it should be a hatchback, but instead saddled it with a bootlid instead, and that is what is shown above.

This Beta was aimed at the motorist who still needed a practical 4 door car, but with an injection of Italian flair for design. Whether they go the latter is open to debate I suppose. What they did get though was a car that damaged Lancia's reputation forever, certainly in the UK market at least, due to the attentions of the metal moth, or rust, as it is more commonly known.

The subframe mountings could rot terminally from the inside out in a very short period of time, thanks largely to minimal rustproofing and steel of dubious quality being used. Dealers offered to buy back cars that had suffered in this respect and scrapped them, which did nothing for Lancia's reputation. They weren't the only Italian manufacturer offering cars that rusted from day one, as Fiats and Alfas of the time were hardly hewn from stone, and 70s cars from BL and Vauxhall were not exactly industry-leaders in rot prevention techniques either.

Although the styling of the Beta saloon would rarely set hearts fluttering, the 4 door version of the Beta did have a few neat design tricks beneath its sober skin. The engine was canted back in the subframe, to improve weight distribution over the front wheel drive setup (the Monte Carlo was rear engined so had a similar layout, just in reverse). All four wheels had disc brakes, at a time when some manufacturers were still using drums at the back. Power was from a Fiat-derived twin cam engine (re-worked by Lancia), and MacPherson struts were fitted to each corner.

Today, it is mainly the sports/performance versions of the Beta that are preserved, although a few of the saloons have made it into the 21st century too. You can place free Lancia parts ads here at oldclassiccar, and below are some external links to Lancia & Beta enthusiast websites:

http://www.betaboyz.fsnet.co.uk/
http://www.montecarlo.org.uk/
http://www.lanciamotorclub.co.uk/

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