The Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato Is an Overlooked Gem

A front-drive, V-4-powered hatchback, the Fulvia Sport Zagato is a very pretty oddball.

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You might be familiar with the Lancia Fulvia, a front-drive compact from the 1960s that brought the storied Italian brand its first rally championship. What you might not have known is that there was a Zagato-bodied version of the Fulvia, which isn't too surprising, since only . You should know about it, though, because it's a real gem.

Thankfully, Harry Metcalfe of Harry's Garage is here to educate. He just bought a 1972 Fulvia Sport Zagato 1600, arguably the ultimate version of the car. As the name suggests, it has a 1600cc engine, an odd narrow-angle V-4 closely related to those used in Fulvia rally cars. The engine is unique, canted to its side at 45 degrees, and with a 13-degree angle between its pairs of two cylinders, which meant Lancia only needed one cylinder head. In 1.6-liter form, this V-4 sent around 115 horsepower to the front wheels via a five-speed transaxle.

Compared with the Alfa Romeos and BMWs it was up against, the Fulvia was quite unusual. Other automakers offered front-drive V-4 cars at the time—Ford and Saab notably—but none had quite the sporting credentials of the Lancia. And nothing looked like the Fulvia Sport Zagato, thanks to the pencil work of Ercole Spada, the man behind the gorgeous Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, and later, the E34-generation BMW 5-Series. Even today, it's a striking shape.

In their day, Lancias were expensive cars, which is why they never sold in big numbers. But Metcalfe argues that the Fulvia is undervalued now. A Sport Zagato , but a regular coupe can be had for under $30,000. As Alfa GTVs and BMW 2002s become more expensive, the Fulvia is well worth a second look.

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