This Lancia Fulvia Is a Perfectly Weird BMW 2002 Alternative

Inline-fours and rear-wheel drive are so passée. What you need is a front-wheel drive, V4-powered oddball like this.

image
Hemmings

The cool thing about Lancia in its best days is that it never built a totally conventional car. Take a look at the Fulvia. It was ostensibly a competitor to cars like the BMW "New Class" sedans and Alfa Romeo Giulia, but it used a 12-degree V4 engine canted to its side sending power to the front wheels. Oh, and it won the International Rally Championship (the predecessor to today's WRC) in 1972.

Welcome to You Must Buy, our daily look at the cars you really should be buying instead of that boring commuter sedan.

When it was released in 1963, the Fulvia was a strange car, and arguably, it was still strange when was built in 1974. Front-wheel drive was a bit more common by that point, but you didn't see it in upmarket cars like this. And V4s were certainly an oddity, too.

When R&T reviewed the Fulvia in 1967, we called it "a precision motorcar, an engineering tour de force for less than $4000." All that graceful, unique looks make the Fulvia an interesting proposition among classics today. This green example is for sale in Italy for $21,000, which is a lot, but not a whole lot more than a sorted BMW 2002, and less than most Alfa Romeo GTVs you'll find on the market.

This specific car is a so-called Fulvia 3, one of the last variants created by Lancia before production ended in 1976. Its V4 displaces 1.3-liters and sends around 90 horsepower to the front wheels via a five-speed dogleg gearbox. While this one might not be a concours-quality car, it looks to be very clean, and the seller said it's been treated to a recent engine overhaul.

A Fulvia owner told me there's no need to be put off by the fact that they're front-wheel drive—these are sweet-handling cars by any standard. And while black plastic trim spoils the look somewhat, the purity of the 1963 original is mostly intact here.

Think of the last cars and coffee you went to—you probably saw tons of BMW 2002s and maybe even a few Alfa GTVs. But, you probably didn't see a Fulvia, and there's a huge appeal in that, too.

It's not the obvious choice for someone seeking a classic, European two-door, but it might be the most interesting.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From You Must Buy