The design house Zagato is best known for its iconic double bubble roofs. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Lancia Zagato has a different kind of roof, but are you willing to burst the seller’s bubble regarding its worth?
NASCAR is a sport that has been built on spectacle and tradition. With its radical aero body and subtle trim details, the 2000 Ford F-150 NASCAR edition we looked at yesterday failed to impress on either of those counts. Its $5,000 asking price did impress, however, and earned the pickup a solid 72 percent Nice Price win.
Of course, cutting these cars up for the transformation was never all that hard as they were made of some of the thinest metal this side of a beer can. Lancias also tended to rust straight out of the factory, so it was probably more of a tear-at-perforation type of process. Complicating matters, though, was that the cars had to make four trips between Lancia and Zagato factories before being completed.
The non-Zagato-specific parts—interior pieces, mechanical systems, the will to live—all suffered from similar durability issues. In fact, these cars have the rep of being more tenuous than a politician’s policy position.
That’s why this 1981 Lancia Zagato is so interesting, as it looks to be about as clean and intact as when it left the factory for the last time. Well, maybe not quite that good, but darn close. Although called all original in the ad, the two-tone paint looks like a respray. Or, at least, the black lower section does. The black-painted alloys are the original, although those would more commonly be painted silver.
The engine for the U.S. Zagato was a 2.0-liter edition of Fiat’s Lampredi-designed DOHC four with fuel injection, and Lancia script on the cam covers. That 108-bhp all-alloy engine sits sideways under the Zagato’s hood and sends its horses through a five-speed manual operated via a stick so tall it might be necessary to shoo golden goose seekers off of it.
As noted, the quality of materials used in the construction of the Beta usually means that over time, the interior becomes a riot of splitting seams, warping plastic, and questionable odors. This one still looks extremely nice, although the blurry photos indicate that the seller should lay off the coffee before picking up the camera again. The undercarriage is also remarkably solid and shows no sign of road rot or accident damage. Both top sections seem to be still doing their respective jobs, too.
Owning a Lancia in the U.S. takes a special dedication. Parts are not all that easy to source anymore, especially the unique bits. The last Lancias in the U.S. also lack much of the panache and history of their predecessors, as Fiat ownership diluted the brand. And honestly, there’s not much that’s special about the underpinnings of the Beta; it’s just your typical FWD sidewinder four-cylinder.
The Zagato is different, though. And this one seems to be one of the best of those few left. It also has a clean title, a new set of tires, and, per the seller, oodles of extra parts available at additional cost on top of the car’s $9,500 asking.
What do you think about that price tag for this cool and clean Lancia? Does that seem like a good deal for a car with such history and roof-style flexibility? Or does that price quell any designs a buyer might have on this design house special?
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