Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1977 Lancia Beta HPE

There must be a law that says when you write about a Lancia Beta you have to mention that they rusted badly. Every article I have ever read mentions it. So, being the law abiding citizen that I am, it's my turn... Lancia Betas rust horribly. OK, I got that out of the way.

There are very few Lancia Betas left in the US. They didn't sell well when they were new and above mentioned rust took its toll on the few that did sell. The fact "Lancia snobs" looked at them as nothing more than Fiats didn't help things either.

The HPE was one of the more interesting cars of the Beta line. Like the Jensen GT, Reliant Scimitar, and Volvo 1800ES, it was a small 2 door station wagon. (HPE stood for High Performance Estate - Estate being the European name for station wagons.) It was built on the sedan's long wheelbase platform, but the front end copied the coupe.

I suspect that here in the US the HPE is the rarest of the Beta line. (I have no numbers to back that up, I'm basing that on the fact that very few were sold here when it was new.) It's not often that you see one in this condition - or any condition, for that matter - come up for sale.

This HPE is being described as an "an all original solid car". The seller writes that "everything about the car is fully functioning including the nice and cold blowing AC". That's impressive; the Fiat / Lancia AC systems rarely worked well when they were new! The paint (an unfortunate tan color) is original and is described as "good but not perfect". The dash has a few cracks, but the leather seats are not ripped. All-in-all this is a nice "driver quality" car.

If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive, rare, Italian classic, this Lancia HPE might be a good choice.

Located in Medway, MA, click here to see the eBay listing.

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