You say Zegato, I say Zogata – 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato 2000

Maybe some of you have followed my experiences with my Lancia Beta sedan… as with many older cars, it’s sat for some time and, as a consequence, had (and has) various needs. So you might ask (and I wouldn’t be offended!), why on earth would you be looking at Lancia Betas? Did you not learn your lesson? Well, yes and no. I learned that the carburetted cars are more trouble-prone if not maintained, and that the fuel-injected cars suffered less from application of smog equipment. I also learned that EFI as installed on these cars makes for smoother running and easier cold-starting, and that the last of the Betas imported to the US came with a better-looking, tidier grill (which might show this car to actually be a 1982 model).

All that said, my sedan is actually fun, in an oddball kind of way. It also has a comfortable ride and a nice interior… it’s kind of like an Italian interpretation of a Mercedes or a Volvo. And for a car of its size, weight, and ride, it corners, brakes, and handles really well. So that brings us to today’s car…. a 1981 Beta Zagato with a 2-liter fuel-injected engine. Same ride, same handling, same brakes, more power. And the top goes down. What’s not to like? For the low, low price of $1000 (probably less if you show up with a neat stack of $100s), you can find this Beta in Roseville, CA, near Sacramento.

1981 Lancia Beta Zagato front

If you check out the address given on your favorite mapping site, you’ll see it’s for sale at Roseville Towing (open till midnight – just the thing for those late-night car cravings!). So odds are this car was removed from an unwitting owner who couldn’t be bothered to retrieve it. And therein lies the question…. what secrets did the owner know? That said, it apparently only has some damage to the convertible top, but runs and drives well. Trust but verify is an expression I remember from the 80s, and it applies well to old cars.

1981 Lancia Beta Zagato left

Doesn’t it look nice in white? Something about the black roof and trim on a white car gives it an understated elegance quite opposite of the black-on-gold Zagatos. The seller offers no additional pictures, so make sure to ask about the tail lights when you call – they’re apparently as rare as hen’s teeth and only shared with some model of Bristol. If this car checks out, and the seats are as intact as the shiny paint would lead you to think, then this car would be well-bought at this price.

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2 Responses to “You say Zegato, I say Zogata – 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato 2000”

  1. Jeff B Says:

    For as rare as these cars are supposed to be – they sure are everywhere!

    I like the white color, but still would rather have a well sorted beta coupe over the Zagato model any-day. I love the rear seats in them. đŸ™‚

  2. SubGothius Says:

    Look what just showed up again:
    http://modesto.craigslist.org/cto/2230623373.html

    I’m guessing this is the actual owner who landed his car at that towing yard and prolly paid their tow/storage bill to rescue it before they could sell it out from under him. However, though it appears complete and cosmetically presentable from the pics shown this and last time, sounds like it will need some tinkering and TLC to become fully roadworthy, still a pretty good deal IMO if that’s all it really needs…

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