Isn’t it remarkable how Lancia, the oft-derided firm considered by many to be the purveyors of rust and misery, has produced so many cars that have transcended preference or prejudice?
Find, if you can, a genuine car enthusiast who doesn’t have a soft spot for at least a couple of Lancias. Appia, Aurelia, Stratos, 037, Delta, Delta S4; so many wonderful cars. The Lancia Fulvia is another. When it was launched in 1965 at Geneva it displayed a number of unique (and rather unconventional) mechanical solutions. In fact, throughout its history Lancia filed patents in the hundreds. By the time this gorgeous Fulvia concept appeared in 2003, Lancia was no longer the autonomous hive of ingenious mechanical invention it once was, although still a few years off coming under the total control of Fiat.
The coupé concept seemed to be created to reflect how the Fulvia might have looked had it stayed in production and evolved without interruption. Dimensions were very similar, with the overall impression being that the car was being pulled along from the front… which of course it was.
The designers managed also to maintain the original car’s impression of lightness, especially at the rear. I’d contend that the car’s ‘face’ could have resembled the original’s more closely, but on the whole this was what I’d call a very successful design exercise. The interior, too, tastefully echoed the original with clear instruments and an uncluttered, ‘airy’ look to it.
Inevitably, the mechanical side of things didn’t quite live up to the unusual-but-effective layout of a very narrow V4 motor mounted ahead of the front axle. Instead, a Fiat-derived 1800cc was used which at least would have blessed the lightweight Fulvia with fitting performance, if not quite the inimitable bark of the original V4. But despite this and the fact that the platform was borrowed from the Mk2 Fiat Punto, surely it would have sold in droves?
However, Fiat’s fragile financial standing in 2003 apparently meant that the Fulvia concept was unable to progress and further, despite hopes of a revival in 2008 according to Autocar.
Such a shame. I’d still put it very close to the top of the list of concepts I wish could have made it into production.