• South African import now in UK with all paperwork done
• New MOT on sale
• Rot-free and completely original car
• Runs and drives really well
Back in the 1970s, almost every car manufacturer offered a large luxury saloon, and Lancia was no exception - the Ford Granada-sized Gamma was its big sedan offering.
Lancia, though, was a company with a bit more about it than just a plain old saloon, so in order to draw attention to itself the Gamma was also offered in slab-sided coupe form, complete with 2.5-litre fuel-injected Boxer engine and wacky interior.
The Gamma Coupé was both styled and assembled by Pinifarina, who also built it under contract on the same line as the equally bonkers Ferrari 400i.
From 1982 onwards, Bosch fuel injection was fitted and the revised engine internals included larger diameter valve stems, revised pistons and camshaft profiles, though its 140bhp output remained the same.
The car we have here is a Series 2 version, recently imported to the UK from South Africa where it has lived in or around Johannesburg for most of its life – a dry and barren climate that has been astonishingly kind to its notoriously fragile metal.
Sadly for Lancia, a combination of dreadful rust problems and poor reliability from the 2.5-litre Boxer engine meant that the Gamma’s honeymoon was short-lived, and today survivors are extremely rare, especially in unrestored condition.
Indeed, it’s rarity is why TV star James May tipped it to be one of the top 10 cars to invest in for future potential. This one, in particular, is an absolute gem.
This is a 1985 car that was owned by two previous owners (both the same family) in South Africa and is believed to be one of the last 10 Gamma Coupes made.
It has covered 38,508 kilometres (about 23,900 miles), and still wears its original paintwork. It’s an astonishing timewarp of a car.
The Lancia comes with a copy of the South African registration document and a few minor documents.
The vendor specialises in importing vehicles from the country having lived there for many years, and knows the process inside-out. The cars he brings in are sourced via classic car contacts he has in ZA and are imported with all of the duties paid and NOVA paperwork (port notifications) complete.
The car will also come with a brand new UK MOT, meaning that all that’s left is to complete an application for first registration – something the owner is happy to help with and which is a very straightforward process.
You can thank the engine designer, Francesco De Virgilio, for the wonderful rakish appearance of the Lancia Gamma coupe 2500ie, which was one of the most striking designs of the 1970s.
It was De Virgilio who argued against Lancia’s case for making its flagship model a V6, insisting instead that he could give the car just as much character and performance by developing a large capacity four-cylinder flat-four Boxer engine for the car, allowing Pininfarina’s chief stylist, Aldo Brovarone, to translate the car from sketch to metal with little in the way of compromise.
The result was a modern-looking square design with a low bonnet and steeply raked windscreen, which was inarguably handsome.
And it still is today – at least on the handful of cars that have survived the rampant corrosion for which Lancia became known in the 1970s and 1980s.
This one is incredible – an astonishing, original survivor with its factory cream paint. If we were being picky, there are a couple of small dings on the bonnet, and the alloy wheel centres have faded, but a Lancia tat’s well into its fourth decade this is an incredible, unrestored car.
Underneath, it’s brilliant. Solid, clean and wit no signs of any welding. That’s not something you’ll see written very often about a 36-year old Lancia.
The interior of a Gamma Coupe is a very special place indeed, stylish in a way that only the Italians could muster. From the oddball dash and steering wheel to the delicate oval pedals, everything has an element of design to it.
But it’s the seats that really steal the show. Finished in blue velour, the fabric features an ‘L’ for Lancia logo embossed into the fabric, with matching velour door trim.
The cabin is in very good overall condition, with no major problems. The air conditioning appears to work, the radio doesn’t. But apart from a deep clean to bring the velour seat inlays back to their best, it really doesn’t need anything.
The car has been mechanically recommissioned very recently and has just had a full service, with fresh fluids and filters throughout.
It sounds fabulous and starts on the button, maintaining a steady idle and temperature and emitting a wonderful noise thanks to its horizontally-opposed layout.
We were able to drive the car a short distance and can confirm that it starts and runs well, while the automatic gearbox engages all of the gears smoothly and the steering feels keen and responsive. The ride is firm and the brakes seem to work fine.
This is an absolutely fabulous example of an astonishingly rare car – one that is guaranteed to be a safe investment for the future and even has celebrity endorsement behind it.
Coming from a bone dry climate, it is as solid as an old Lancia can possibly get and is beautifully presented ready for its next owner – a very, very special car indeed and one that will be unrepeatable on the market.
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