20 Interesting facts about Lancia
Lancia is an Italian car brand, which you can clearly tell from the distinguishable design of its models. The Italians have made some of the best-looking cars ever. There are only few automobile brands that can compete with Lancia in terms of style and beauty. Here are some interesting facts about this outstanding company.
1. The Lancia is yet another famous vehicle manufacturer, that started as family business. Company’s founder, Vincenzo Lancia was the youngest of four children (one sister and two brothers), of a small businessman, who had made a fortune in Argentina to return home and start a soup canning business in his hometown – Turin, Italy. From an early age, Vincenzo had shown a great interest in machinery and engineering, and was fascinated with the new motor car. On top of that, he had a natural talent for math and finance. Eventually, the future industrialist had left school to become an apprentice in the company of Ceirano brothers. Officially, he took a position of an accountant, but in reality he spent most of his time in a workshop, tweaking and tinkering with engines. Gradually, he developed skills at engineering, design and construction. While being only 19, Vincenzo Lancia become a chef inspector and test driver at Fiat. In 1906, together with his friend Claudio Fogolin, he founded Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili (Lancia & Co. Automobile Factory) and started building his own cars. Since then and until 1956, the Lancia family operated the company that bears its name.
2. Company’s very first car – Lancia Alfa went into production on September 23, 1907. The model entered the market in 1908. The vehicle has incorporated all the best achievements of the automotive industry of the time.
3. Lancia Dialfa was the second model built by Lancia. Produced in 1908, it was based on the Lancia Alfa. Its distinctive feature was a 3815 cm3, 90 x100 mm V6 engine. According to different sources of automobile history, Dialfa was either the first, or one of the first vehicles to be equipped with V6 engine.
4. The Lancia factory had earned a renown and continued to increase production volume the following years. Notably, unlike other automakers, Lancia used letters of the Greek alphabet for its model names. The new models included 1909 Beta, 1910 Gamma, 1911 Eta, Delta, Ypsilon. In 1911, famous Italian artist, industrial designer, journalist and automobile enthusiast count Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia, Vincenzo’s good friend, come with the company’s official logo. The new emblem was composed by a blue lance and flag bearing a Lancia script in gold, over a four-spoke steering wheel. With some small changes, this emblem is used by Lancia to this day.
5. Lancia Theta was produced between 1913 and 1918. It is supposed to be the first European car with full electric system, having working lights, a starter motor and even a lighting dashboard. The model used spoke-wire wheels and was equipped with 4940 cm3 engine with effective power of 70-hp at a 2200 rpm. The car become extremely popular – over 1900 Thetas ware sold during the first two years of production. The main selling point was its amazing speed. With this model, Lancia had earned a reputation of company that makes some of the finest high-speed cars. In addition, Lancia Theta had a reputation of extremely reliable vehicle. One of the automotive historians wrote the following: “…its clear, that it would defiantly take a professional destroyer of cars to completely break the Theta.”
6. After the outbreak of the First World War, Lancia took on military equipment production. During the years of the Great War, Italian company produced the Lancia 1Z and the Lancia 1ZM armoured cars, Lancia Jota and Lancia Djota trucks, as well as emergency vehicles, buses and vehicle parts. The Jota was Lancia’s first truck, designed for military use. Around 2100 Jotas ware built for Italian Royal Army and Allies. The Ansaldo AB Armoured Car was built on the chassis of Lancia Jota. During the war time, Lancia factory had planes to produce a narrow V 8-cylinder engine. This revolutionary engine was designed for the Italian Air Force. While never made its way into the mass-production, this engine design, nevertheless, had a great impact on the development of future vehicles.
7. In 1919, the Lancia production facilities had grown to 60 000 m2. Lancia Kappa – a 1919 model, was an improved version of Theta. The car had astonishing top speed of 125 km/h. The same year, a brand-new Lancia prototype, powered by a V12 engine, was presented to the public. Unfortunately, consistent unfavourable economic and market conditions never allowed the V12 engines to be mass-produced, At the same time, this design was used as a a basis for some famous engines that made name for the company; such as 4594 см3 V8 of Lancia Trikappa model.
8. In 1921 Lancia had produced the world’s first vehicle with integral body frame – the Lancia Lambda. Apart from unibody, vehicle had another notable feature – an independent suspension. The car remained in production between 1921 and 1931.
9. In 1931, the company had launched a new vehicle line – the A series. Powered by a V4, 1924 cm3 engine, Lancia Artena was the first vehicle to interrupt Lancia’s decade-old tradition of naming its cars with Greek letters. It was first introduced to the public at the Paris Motor Show, together with Lancia Astura (V8, 2604 cm3). In 1934 those two models had won the 1-st and the 2-ond place at the prestigious Giro d’Italia rally. The Lancia Augusta had arrived in 1933. The model featured V4, 1192 cm3 engine, an integrated body frame, and Lockheed hydraulic suspension. This car was known as the Lancia Belna in France and was extremely popular among French car enthusiasts.
10. Vincenzo Lancia had died in February 15, 1937. At the day of his death he was only 56. His very last model was the 1937 Lancia Aprilia. This car, built in collaboration with designer Batista Farina and Politecnico di Torino (Polytechnic University of Turin) was a prime example of fine Italian engineering, combining cutting-edge technology with avant-garde design. While the car body, reminding that of May-beetle may have risen some brows here and there, this outstanding model is no doubt, a masterpiece of Lancia fine engineering.
11. After the end of the Second World War, Lancia had shifted its gears towards the more budget models, such as Amelia, Flavia and especially Fulvia. Gradually, Italian company become more appealing to the general public. In the early ’50s, Lancia entered the world of motorsport with ambitious plans to win the most prestigious trophy – Formula One Word Championship. A model, made to compete in the most famous automobile championship, was the Lancia D50. The car was quite ambitious in design and in many ways far ahead of its time. The four-camshaft V8 was used as a stressed member in conjunction with a tubular space-frame chassis. The engine was offset with the propeller shaft running to the left of the driver. The most visually striking aspect of the car were the twin pannier-type fuel tanks located on faired outriggers between the wheels. The objective was to improve an airflow between the wheels and to have a constant weight distribution as the fuel was consumed during the race. Output for the V8 was a reputed 260 bhp.
12. In 1969 the Lancia family had accepted an offer from the Italian automobile giant Fiat to sell controlling interest in the company. As a division of Fiat, Lancia kept on developing new models, which included Stratos, Delta, Gamma and Beta.
13. Lancia factory team has a history of success in circuit car racing. Lancia LC1 sport car took part in competition under the rules of Group 6 of the World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1982 to 1983. The Lancia LC2 notably used a Ferrari engine.
More powerful than its primary competitor, the Porsche 956, the LC2s were able to secure multiple pole positions during their three and a half seasons with the factory racing squad. LC2s earned three race victories and thirteen pole positions over their lifespan. However, deficiencies in reliability and fuel consumption hampered the LC2’s efforts for race wins against Porsche. In 1986, Lancia made a decision to discontinue its official factory-backed effort in the World Sportscar Championship, although its vehicles continued to be used by privateer teams until 1991.
14. In 1972, Lancia Beta was released, featuring a cross-mounted engine with double overhead camshaft. Lancia Stratos, a sports car with mid-engine layout and powered by
190 h/p V6 Ferrari Dino engine, had arrived the same year. The Stratos was a very successful rally car, winning the World Rally Championship (WRC) three times in a row – in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
15. In a period between ’60s and ’80s, Lancia produces some of the most competitive sports cars in a history of the World Rally Championship. Fulvia, Stratos and Delta ware on top during the World Rally Championship all along the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Lancia Delta totally dominated the World Rally Championship, scoring 46 WRC victories overall and winning the constructors’ championship for a record six times in a row from 1987 to 1992, in addition to four drivers’ championship titles, making Lancia the most successful marque in the history of the WRC and Delta the most successful car.
16. In 1980s, thanks to its parent company, the Italian automaker established a long-term partnership with the Swedish automaker Saab. Lancia Delta was being sold in Sweden as Saab 600 and the Lancia Thema was developed on the same chassis with Saab 9000, Fiat Croma and Alfa Romeo 164.
17. In 1980, the Lancia Delta was awarded a title European Car of the Year of 1980.
18. Lancia Automobiles S. p. A. office is located in Turin, on the Vincenzo Lancia street.
19. Lancia have some intriguing stories about its vehicles names. Traditionally, Lancia had uses the letters of Greek alphabet as nameplates for its models. This naming convention had arisen in 1908. It is believed that Vincenzo Lancia was given an advice by his older brother to distinguish the company by using Greek letters as names for its car models. But since the Greek alphabet has only 24 letters, some names were reused after a while. In some cases, Lancia also used Greek numerical suffixes, like in Dialpha or Trikappa models.
The HF designation is yet another curious naming convention. Traditionally, it was a mark of Lancia competition cars. The HF symbol – the contraction of High Fidelity, owes its origin to the Lancia High Fidelity Club, which draws its members from loyal Lancia clients according to strict rules of eligibility which govern membership. The Club was founded in 1960 and the HF was taken as its logo. The consecration came with the launch of the legendary Fulvia coupe, and it became the official logo of the Company’s sports cars, starting with the 1966 Fulvia HF coupe which remained almost unbeatable on the world rallies. In the meantime, the HF Racing Team had been founded in 1963, initially as a simple association of amateur drivers unofficially backed by Lancia, but becoming the official sporting branch of the Company in 1965. The acronym HF was last used on the mythical Stratos that used to dominate rallying from 1974 to 1978.
20. For decades, the company had kept the style and vision, brought by its founder.
Extraordinary, high-speed cars had always founded their fans. Throughout its history, the factory produced all kinds of vehicles; it seems like the only type of automobiles Lancia never built was the bad ones. Although, right now the future does not look bright for Lancia, there is no doubt that company with such a striking model line-up and glorious past, will always find its fans around the world.