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Lancia Beta.A press photo from the 70s showing the Lancia Beta for the family man (or woman)...
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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.
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 is a link to an external site for a Lancia & Beta enthusiasts' club:
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