1971 Lancia Fulvia Coupe

Since the earliest days of Lancia, the Torino-based car builder took an innovative and ingenious approach in their quest to produce some of the finest cars available. Lancia competed for buyers with the likes of Alfa Romeo in the pre-war era, and while Alfas were fast, flamboyant and exotic, Lancias were the Thinking Man's sports car; more measured and conservatively styled, yet always exquisitely engineered, beautifully constructed and highly advanced. In the post-war years, both Alfa Romeo and Lancia drastically shifted focus from limited production luxury cars to mid-priced, mass-produced GT cars and saloons. Also like their neighbors at Alfa Romeo, most Lancia models were available in Berlina, Coupe or Cabriolet form, designed and built by a variety of preferred Italian coachbuilders. With the V6-powered, monocoque Aurelia leading the range into the 1950s, Lancia required more entry-level models to stay afloat and compete with Alfa’s new Giulietta. The Aurelia was joined by the V4-powered Appia, an entry level car in terms of price but still built with the same high standard of engineering excellence and quality ingrained into every Lancia product. Following in the footsteps of the Appia, came an all-new car for 1963: The narrow-angle V4-powered, front-drive Fulvia.

Lancia’s baby Fulvia borrowed its layout from the larger executive-class Flavia, but in a tidy and compact package. Initially offered only as a four-door Berlina, the line was supplemented by the Lancia-styled Coupe and lightweight Zagato-bodied Sport in 1965. The Fulvia’s elegantly simple monocoque chassis featured independent wishbone front suspension with a single transverse leaf spring, backed by a beam rear axle located by a Panhard rod. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard from the onset, and Lancias typically precise build quality made for a car that felt far more expensive than it was. The Berlina was certainly a capable and stylish little car, but it was the crisp and elegant coupe that captured the most attention, and has since become a true icon among enthusiasts.

While the Fulvia coupe’s rallying exploits have certainly cemented its legendary status among hardcore enthusiasts, the road going Fulvia is no less brilliant. The simple and elegant styling was executed in-house rather than by an outside coachbuilder. By the time the series II had arrived, the styling had been tweaked (though remaining no less beautiful) and the mechanical spec updated with a 90 hp 1.3 liter engine, larger Girling disc brakes and a 5-speed transaxle. Collectors have caught on to these brilliant little cars and as such, values have been steadily on the rise, with the rally-bred 1.6HF topping the charts. The second series 1.3S may lack the grunt of its bigger sibling, but it is no less joyful and beautifully delicate to drive. Lancia's exquisite Fulvia truly is one of the greatest driver’s cars of all time.

This handsome 1971 Fulvia 1.3S presents in lovely condition, following a sympathetic restoration to original specification. A recent Italian import, this Fulvia was originally purchased as a graduation gift for a young Italian lawyer, Avocat Chimenti, by his family. Chimenti enjoyed his Fulvia for many years before handing the car over to his family mechanic for careful storage and maintenance. It remained in Chimenti's ownership until 2012.  In 2013, the Fulvia arrived in the USA where it was treated to a no-expense-spared mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment, with great care given to preserve its exceptional originality. Today, it remains a beautifully honest example finished in the original and attractive combination of dark blue over dark tan upholstery. The body is straight and tidy with very good older paint and nice, factory precise panel gaps. Some light texture is evident in the paint in places but it is overall a very presentable and imminently attractive car. The sparse and delicate brightwork presents in very good condition, a mix of carefully selected originals, restored pieces and correct replacements. The restorer resisted the urge to fit larger wheels, instead restoring the correct originals which are wrapped in proper Michelin XAS rubber. The car sits proudly, looking proper and light on its feet, the correct wheels and tires retain the Fulvia's delicacy and communicative feedback. OEM headlamps with distinctive yellow bulbs add yet another layer of appeal.

The simple yet stylish cabin is trimmed in caramel tan upholstery with black carpets, trim and correct rubber mats. Front and rear, the seats are in fine order and complement the matching door cards. Rubber mats and other soft trim are in excellent condition, and the dash panel is free of cracks or fading. The original fiberboard fascia has been replaced with a gorgeous, glossy wood piece and the original Jaeger instruments have been carefully and thoroughly restored. The original shift knob remains in place and a period correct Nardi steering wheel dresses up the cabin nicely. Original touches such as Lancia dealer decals in the quarter windows and a very cool dealer-accessory service calendar add to the delightful period charm of this fine Fulvia.

Lifting the bonnet reveals a very correct and well detailed engine bay. The narrow-angle 1.3 liter V4 engine is very tidy and honestly presented with correct wiring and hardware, proper finishes on the ancillaries and factory-correct decals and markings. The undercarriage is similarly tidy, with factory assembly marks present on the subframes. The chassis was refurbished with fresh and correct DeCarbon shocks and the tricky front axle CV joint boots replaced. The original jack, vinyl spare wheel cover, and Lancia tool kit remain in place.

With just one owner over a span of four decades, this lovely Lancia has clearly been cherished since the day it left the dealership floor. Thanks to the careful and sympathetic work it received from its most recent keeper, it remains fresh and ready for enjoyment, certain to capture the heart of its next owner.

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