Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1981 Lancia Zagato
Lancia is renowned in the automotive world for introducing cars with numerous innovations. These include the Theta of 1913, which was the first European production car to feature a complete electrical system as standard equipment. Lancia's first car adopting a monocoque chassis the Lambda produced from 1922 to 1931 - featured 'Sliding Pillar' independent front suspension that incorporated the spring and hydraulic damper into a single unit (a feature that would be employed in subsequent Lancias, up to the Appia that was replaced in 1963). In 1948, the first 5-speed gearbox was fitted to a production car (Series 3 Ardea). Lancia premiered the first full-production V6 engine, in the 1950 Aurelia, after earlier industry-leading experiments with V8 and V12 engine configurations. It was also the first manufacturer to produce a V4 engine. Other innovations involved the use of independent suspension in production cars (in an era where live axles were common practice for both the front and rear axles of a car), and rear transaxles, which were first fitted to the Aurelia and Flaminia range.
The innovation continues with this silver sportster wrapped also in plenty of pizazz, drips Italian design, owned by Fiat, and the one of a kind two top targa, with a liftoff roof, and a convertible back, both with a common B pillar. If you are looking for a seldom seen Italian coach builder designed (Zagato Corp.) sports car that handles like OJ Simpson at an airport, then this may be your moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie...amore?
The Zagato a cabriolet, but it is really a two-top targa, with the lift out roof and convertible back leaving the car open except for a wide roll-bar across the top. As a package, it is one of a kind, and that is the quality that symbolizes Fiat's new American direction as a sports-car-only corporation. This beauty bathed in silver shows a few patches in the bodywork, particularly near the wheel wells, that have some peeling paint. Minor areas where rust has started are seen mainly where trim meet body, however these are slight. Paint is in good condition overall, retaining its shine. Blackening around door handles is slightly chipped off. Gaps are good, glass is clean, and bumpers are black and not faded. The removable roof of this car has a few crazing areas, but is solid, as is the rear convertible canvas top, showing with a clear rear window. True magnesium wheels are all around and are wrapped in Pirelli rubber.
Smooth black vinyl covers the door panels and presents nicely. Inside wide low back buckets with tuck and roll inserts and smooth bolsters show slight wear but are very soft and supple. A rear 2 plus 2 bench is in back and can take full advantage of airflow when the rear portion of the top is retracted. Square and rectangle design for the dash, and instruments which make use of plenty of toggles and pushbuttons. A/C is seen, and an AM/FM Cassette radio is now installed. A long stemmed 5-speed transmission shifter is sitting proudly in the center between the buckets. Black carpet in good condition floods the floors.
With 39,882 original miles on this engine, an inline 4-cylinder 108hp flat twin cam, naturally aspirated with Bosch L-Jetronic system feeding it, and DOHC. This mini mill is attached to a 5-speed manual transmission which throws power to the front wheels.
Amidst plenty of undercoating, there are some cracks within the undercarriage, possibly due to rust, or the heavy undercoating cracking, but with the undercoating one cannot tell. A hole in the drivers floorpan is seen, and some surface rust on the usual suspects. Also, a muffler on the rear driver's side has rust through. Suspension is all independent, and disc brakes are all around.
This car fired right up, and it was off to the test track both tops down. Plenty of airflow here, and she accelerated with ease, handled well, and shifted smoothly. Braking was quick and the car remained straight under heavy braking. Keeping in mind this car produces 108hp, acceleration was still snappy. The A/C as well as the radio are inoperable, a charging gauge and the gas gauge consigner states are not accurate. Heater and fan do work, as well as all lights and signals.
Italian cars were always known for their sexy designs, and this one with its dual opening top, and 5 speed, along with the small buckets, and snappy engine, I can say abbondanza!
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