Thursday, October 17, 2013

1976 Lancia Scorpion - Buy It For The Looks

When new, the Scorpion had a lot going against it. It shared a showroom with the Lancia Beta, a car that, while entertaining to drive, had rust and reliability issues like few other cars ever had. The Scorpion had some problems of its own, but was never quite as bad as the Beta. Still, the Beta's reputation kept many people away from the Scorpion.

Performance was also a problem. The Scorpion came to the US in 1976 and 1977, some of the worst years for performance cars - heck, for any type of car - in the US. Heavy 5 MPH bumpers added weight and crude emissions control systems sucked horsepower. The 120 horsepower 2.0 liter engine found in the European version of the Scorpion (called the Montecarlo) wasn't emissions certified, so we got the 1.8 which, in US form, pumped out a measly 81 horsepower.

Having said all that, there are plenty of reasons to own a Scorpion.

Exclusivity. Only 1801 were sold in the US. Accidents, rust, abuse, lack of maintenance, negligence and stupidity took its toll on many of those cars. There are very, very few still around.

Looks. The Pininfarina styled body was as exotic looking as anything being sold in the US at the time. It still looks good today.

Performance. What??? Didn't I just write that the performance is sub-par at best? I did, and it is. But, look at other 4 cylinder sports cars from the same period. The MGB, the TR7, the Fiat Spider all had performance issues. That's the way it was for all cars back then. The Scorpion is no different.

This car has been "newly restored" and has a claimed 74,000 miles on it. The seller says it needs a windshield. Although the $10K Buy It Now price may seem a little high, it may be worth it if the restoration was done right. The Scorpion is not an investment car, but rather a rare alternative to an MGB, TR7 or Fiat Spider. A really nice looking alternative.

Located in Los Angeles, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.


Larry said...

First time I saw one of these - on my way home from middle school, it was parked at the entrance to the park next to my parents house the shape blew me away. It made a very strong first impression on a very impressionable car-obsessed pre-teen.

As is usually the case, however, those positive first impressions get beaten down over time by reality. It's "newly restored" - but it needs a new windshield? Probably can't find one without paying a king's ransom to procure a donor car just for the windshield.

You are correct in saying other 4 cylinder sports cars from the same period had performance issues, and that's the way it was for all cars back then. But most people don't artificially limit their sports car search to 4 cylinder 1970's sports cars with poor performance.

No matter how much nostalgia I'm feeling for this Scorpion (and I assure you, it's quite a lot), the reality is that there are a lot of other interesting, better performing, more reliable cars out there for less than the asking on this one.

Larry said...


Max Power said...

As Waylon Smithers once said, 'I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it...'