Boise Betas – HPE, Coupe, and Zagatos

Since I’m feeling guilty (or something) for finally giving in on my Beta sedan and taking it up to a professional in Berkeley, I figured I’d do a post on Betas. Call it an act of contrition, if you like. Speaking from my experiences working on these cars, I would move on any of these cars with a certain level of trepidation, but I have to say they’re still very attractive in terms of the performance and technology you get in these late-70s cars. Maybe it’s just setting the correct expectations – with these cars at such low prices, expect to do a certain amount of mechanical work before having a reliable, smooth-running driver.

Who knew there were so many Betas in Boise? With four on the market at the same time, Boise must be a veritable hotbed of Lancia enthusiasts. With the varied assortment, you have to think that somewhere in the Boise area, there’s a Berlina hiding in someone’s garage. This first pair is pretty interesting – an HPE and a Coupe, both from 1979. Unfortunately, the HPE has an automatic transmission and is missing a carb, but from my perspective that’s a good reason to source a fuel-injected 2000 engine with a 5-speed and drop that in, instead of bothering with the strangling emissions equipment. The good news is, the coupe is a runner, so you can keep the flame alive with that while finding and installing that 2000. The HPE is also listed separately at $200, but you can get the whole package here at $750 in Meridian, ID.

1979 Lancia Beta HPE & Coupe

The other pair is truly in Boise, listed on Craigslist for $1000. One is the “special” gold & black Zagato, the other is painted in a non-original yellow. Both look pretty solid, which is unusual for any Beta, although I don’t believe Idaho salts their roads. The seller alludes to “gas tank issues”, which could mean rust holes, or simply that the wire mesh sock over the fuel pump pickup is corroded, blocked, or both. The cars do both run. Either should be fairly easy to repair, as long as the corrosion to the tank is not tremendous. While you’re in there, you might also want to check your hard fuel lines inside the car – these are the ones that crumbled on mine.

1981 Lancia Beta Zagato pair

Even better, you could buy all 4 for the grand total of $1750, or less with a bit of creative bargaining, and use the rustier Zagato (you know one will be) to provide that powertrain for the HPE. Now, since both Idaho Lancia enthusiasts are selling their cars, who will buy them?

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One Response to “Boise Betas – HPE, Coupe, and Zagatos”

  1. Frank Says:

    I was wondering if you would just sell the black beta if so how much

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