Been There, Done That – 1975 Lancia Beta Sedan

Well here’s something you don’t see everyday. Unless you were me a couple of years ago – I owned a 1978 sedan from from 2008 to 2011. And while it was a nice car on one level – sort of an old Italian man’s car, or an Italian version of a Volvo or Mercedes – it was painful to repair and woefully underpowered for a sedan of its size and displacement. Certainly, one of those issues could have been eliminated if it weren’t for the fact the car needed to be smog legal – a popular conversion is to mount twin carbs, which is supposed to give over 100hp. With the 5-speed, that would surely give more competitive performance. Find this conversion-ready example for $2500 in Bellevue, near Seattle, WA.

1975 Lancia Beta sedan right front

This really is a pretty straight-looking car. Most of these have suffered in some way, but this one doesn’t appear to suffer from much, if any fraying around the edges. There are some minor detail differences from a 1978, but largely it’s the same car. The paint might be oxidized on the upper surfaces, but it’s hard to tell from these late-afternoon photos.

1975 Lancia Beta sedan interior

The interior looks in pretty decent shape – with any luck, the Pacific Northwest climate has not baked the leather, and the minor splits in the seams can be restitched. Blue on black is a fairly conservative color scheme compared to the maroon on butterscotch I had, and there are minor detail differences in the dash and upholstery pattern.

1975 Lancia Beta sedan engine

It’s hard to tell, but it seems this one is unburdened by the air conditioning system my car had, nor does it appear to have power steering. That should already simplify repairs significantly. Aside from the twin carburetor conversion mentioned above, you could also install a 2-liter fuel injected or Volumex supercharged engine from a later coupe or HPE for more power. Rumor has it even later drivetrains from other Lancias can be installed.

1975 Lancia Beta sedan rear left

The dark blue is really a pretty handsome color on this car, and makes it look a little less ungainly. It seems that this, much like many other European cars of its period, would significantly benefit from a European bumper conversion. If you are a wild & crazy guy who wants to do the conversion on this car, or you just have a Volumex or 2000 FI car, let me know what they’re like to drive.

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