New Lancia joined the family. Been looking for a "usable classic", something a bit more contemporary than the 1950s models. Looked at a Flavia 2000 in Wisconsin about 6 years ago and was tempted, but paused a couple of days and it was snatched up by another fan. Found this one in Los Angeles, and jumped quickly. It turned out to be quite a nice car.
There are essentially three versions of the Flavia - 1) the original coupe which is quite charming, from 1963. Looks like a mini-250GTE. 2) the Flavia 2000 from 1969-1970, updated styling, more refinement, better ventilation, but still "Lancia like" in its quality. 3) 2000 coupe from 1971-72, similar but with some changes - some good, some not. Bosch injection instead of Kugelfischer, 5 spd, power steering. Dash now in wood, air scoop gone, and chrome strip around front nose.
Of these three, the best in looks is the first one, but for me the second one is the most interesting. I like the extra refinement and additional (good) ventilation, better mechanicals, 2 liter. The one I got has 4spd, no power steering and the Kugelfischer injection (a mechanical system similar to Spica on the Alfa Romeo of the period). While I thought the power steering was desirable, actually the simplicity of the direct steering is good, and once moving a bit, its just fine. And the Kugelfischer system is getting better and better with more use. Its actually pretty neat, and works well.
The car itself is a bit of a conundrum: it appears to have been in something like family hands up until about 2017, when it was refurbished, with new fluids, etc. It probably got its repaint then; additional mech'l refurbishing was done over the next few years, mostly in 2020, and mostly botched. I was told it sat on a dealers lot (but don't know where) for some time, but have no info, and the previous owner isn't helping. So its a bit of a dead end.
What is clear is that the car is largely unmolested, and quite original. There is no sign that a screwdriver has ever been in the interior - its that untouched. Just lovely.... Found the original PF badging (where the period radio is located) stuck in a map pocket, with its brackets, untouched for 50 years.
The engine bay has some loose wiring that needs to be cleaned up, a newish brake booster, but is largely untouched. Things we cleaned up (Giovanni and Charlie at Autosprint) included correct fuel pump (high pressure), all the filters and gas lines, flushing the brake lines and getting them working, alignment (got new tie rods in LA before getting here), and all the fluids replaced....new tubes and XAS tires to be fitted, DeCarbon shocks on order, etc.
All in all, its a lovely cruiser. Its not the most pure Lancia, and not necessarily the quality of the older ones, but it is a modern (!) take on the theme. At 40-80 mph, its delightful. Did a 1000 mile road trip in the back woods, no problem, and kept up with some faster cars. Drove 150 miles in 90deg temps, and was rested enough to go for a hike upon arrival. For current lifestyle and location, that's a pretty good fit.
UPDATE 11.2022: Over the past year there have been several significant improvements to the car. First, most all the suspension bushings (except the upper ones, which were good) have been replaced. The car is much taught, without the leaning or swaying in fast L/R changes that it had before. Much flatter, like a Fulvia.
More importantly, the injection system has been rebuilt, and refitted, along with electronic ignition.At first, the injection was rough starting from cold, very lumpy, wishing it were a carburetor. Wondering what the heck.. then after about 15 minutes, it was smooth as silk and no problems. And less (almost none?) fumes, so that’s nice too. The reworking of the Kugelfischer injection is not straightforward, requiring input, advice, parts, and information from around the world, and much work on getting settings right once the pump was rebuilt. The work will be shared on a separate page...
The car now has the full sense of 1970s pep and feels like a proper touring/GT car of that era. Its not a barn burner, but holds its own in modern traffic just fine. It cruises delightfully at 60mph with practically no noise, even with windows down, and will readily do 70-80 with pleasure. For curvy roads, a Fulvia is a much better choice. For long US roads, one can see how the Flavia (like the Flaminia) is happier, giving more room (mostly! but not everywhere….your knees are still a bit cramped), and bigger greenhouse, huge trunk (and I mean huge. You can put two or three cartons in it, and have a normal sized trunk left over - a bicycle would fit, you could almost sleep in it).
Its another take on the long Lancia heritage of great touring cars, which are also highly sophisticated mechanical devices. Its just a different slice of that same apple. Very different one might say, but its still a unique, kind of its own approach. Its not dull, rather very subtle. Its how a grand touring 2 liter, mid-sized torquey Italian car would be. Its perhaps an odd set of compromises, but its worked out in its own way. More perhaps of a period piece, a historical noting, than a marvel or great car, but its interesting….
All in all, the Flavia is back to its role as the "usable Lancia", able to be driven with less worry than the older examples. Its not that they were needy, but the Flavia, with its LHD, disc brakes, everything working just as it was, is just simpler. Maybe a bit less charming, but still has its virtues!
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