Saturday, February 28, 2009

eBay Find - 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato

In the US the Beta Zagato replaced the mid-engined Scorpion in the Lancia lineup. It was based on the Beta Coupe, but had a unique targa type top. Unlike the Scorpion, the Zagato could, in theory, seat 4. It was, like all Betas, FWD.

According to the website Lancia Beta Australia (USA Edition), development and build of the Zagato went like this...

"At the Geneva Motor show in 1974, Pininfarina displayed an open spider based on the Beta Coupé. It was not a true convertible as there was some safety concerns at that time, so the spider incorporated a built in roll bar. Lancia expressed its interest to Pininfarina to market the new spider, but Pininfarina's budget could not justify such a small production run. So Zagato took up the challenge and produced the spider in conjunction with Lancia. Complete Coupé body shells were shipped to Zagato from Lancia's factory to have them modified, the modified bodies were then sent back to Lancia to have the anti-rust treatment done. Again after this the bodies were shipped to back to Zagato where the bodies were painted and the interior finished off. Finally the semi complete cars went back to Lancia so the engine and transmission could be fitted."

Two things come to mind here...

1) That's a lot of work and effort.

2)"Sent back to Lancia to have the anti-rust treatment done"? I can hear the snickering. Lancias, especially the Betas, were known for horrible rust problems. The reality is that while that was true for the early Betas, the later cars, such as this one, were much improved and rusted no worse than any other early eighties Italian car (Which, because I used that last line as a positive comparison, tells you just how badly the early Betas rusted).

In stock form, with 84 HP on tap, the Zagato will not set any speed records, but the engine loves to rev, the car handles well and rides nicely. Look at a Zagato as a great cruising car, one made for long summer weekend drives.

Lancias, like all Italian cars, need to be maintained. Regular oil changes and cooling system flushes are a must. Other issues with all Betas are suspension parts that can be weak, and the interior, while nicely appointed, is somewhat cheap. Air conditioning systems on all Lancias and Fiats of this era are useless (most of them are broken anyway).

Mechanical parts are easy to source through any of the many Italian car parts specialists you find on the internet. Body parts, trim, lights and glass are much tougher to come by.

The car being offered on eBay is a "Limited Edition" Zagato, with gold stripes and wheels. It is the nicest original Zagato I have ever seen. It will probably sell for a premium. Honestly though, look at what you're getting for the price; a low mileage, rust free, well maintained, near perfect car. If you're looking for a Lancia Beta Zagato, it makes sense to buy this one, as any lesser car would cost you twice as much in parts and labor to bring it up to the condition this one is in.

Click here to see the eBay listing for this 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato.

Click here to see the Lancia Motor Club (UK) website.


Anonymous said...

I was clicking around and stumbled upon your website. Why the hell do you start your posts with on the defensive way! Ex: I just posted this because... I'm not telling you to buy this but...

In other words: don't think that I post this because the car is good, or because it's a real car and I didn't know it was art...

Terrible to read! Thought I'd let you know. Now I'll disappear in the internets again.

Gorelock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.