So many other car companies have died during my time in this job: Austin, Daimler, Jensen, Marcos, Panther, Reliant, Talbot and TVR, and those were just the British ones, so it’s good to see that the last of these appears set for a reboot and that some have started, including Ariel, BAC, Elemental, Zenos and, effectively, McLaren as well. Over in America, there’s been carnage: Plymouth, Mercury, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Hummer – all have been consigned to the history books in the last few years.
But I guess the marque I miss most is one that still technically exists. I find it lowering that, today, the only Lancia anyone can buy is a Fiat Panda-based supermini called the Ypsilon that’s only available in left-hand drive markets. For a company responsible for cars that won World Championships in Formula 1, sports cars and, of course, rallying, that’s a pretty sorry state of affairs. This is the company that provided a road car with a monocoque chassis almost 40 years before Colin Chapman did the same in F1, and independent front suspension when everyone else was still using horse and cart technology – and that was just the Lambda.
For myself I’d rather Fiat Chrysler just put it out of its misery and let us move on to a time when we’ve forgotten about all the unworthy Lancias of the recent past and can focus once more on those that made it great. It would be sad to see such a great name go out with such a whimper, but better perhaps than to see it continue as such a poor shadow of its once great former self.