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Thread: Tales from the workshop: Lancia Beta - without rust (!)

  1. #1
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Tales from the workshop: Lancia Beta - without rust (!)

    A few years ago I showed a big lump of American iron here on the forum: a two-tone blue Packard with a Saoutchik body. The owner of that car has a couple of other classics as well, including this blue Lancia Beta.

    First: this car 1979 car is absolutely rust free! A wise previous owner had all the cavities doused in ML Tectyl and it had a sheltered life as well!

    The guys in the shop had to take the engine out because the engine leaked oil. It dripped between the bell housing and the engine block. The rear crank seal was the culprit. Lowering the whole front suspension and then lowering the engine proved to be the easiest way. A great moment to check the front suspension rubbers and brake hoses as well. They weren't to bad, but now easily changed. So why wait?

    The engine is an interesting one. First look: an off-the-shelf FIAT product as found in the Ritmo (remember that car?). It came in 1300, 1600 and I think also in 2000cc form. This one is the 1600cc version. It looks like a Ritmo engine, but everything says 'Lancia' on the block and cylinder head!

    The pics are from last Saturday. Today the engine was spic and span again, complete with the inside of the bell housing cleaned and a new clutch assembly.










    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 13th March 2020 at 23:07.

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    Lovely....always fancied one of these- despite the obvious issues. I was an Alfa man in the 70s...I suppose they were (marginally) less likely to dissolve in a shower of rain.
    I canít help feeling that while cars have improved dramatically in the last couple of decades in terms of reliability, efficiency etc it has been at the expense of individuality and character.

  3. #3
    Master
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    I also fancied these and to a greater extent the Fulvia and, naturally, the Monte Carlo. However, the need for reliability and a total aversion to rust prevented me from owning one. Against my better judgement I had a brief period of ownership of both Fiat and Alfa. The Alfa was a real love/hate relationship that resulted in a rebound into my first brand new car, an '83 Mk1 GTI and I've stuck mainly with German engineering ever since, currently a C207 E Class Merc and a Boxster. However, if this Beta was on SC I would be figuring out which watches to sell to fund buying it. Out of curiosity, what would it be worth?

  4. #4
    Master RustyBin5's Avatar
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    Ah the Lancia... sigh. One of my younger joys was ripping around the country B roads in Dumfries and Galloway in my Delta Integrale. Iím getting misty eyed just thinking about it.

  5. #5
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBin5 View Post
    Ah the Lancia... sigh. One of my younger joys was ripping around the country B roads in Dumfries and Galloway in my Delta Integrale. Iím getting misty eyed just thinking about it.
    Ah, so your forum ID is actually the nickname of that car 😀

  6. #6
    Master RustyBin5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomGW View Post
    Ah, so your forum ID is actually the nickname of that car ūüėÄ
    I owned it for a couple of yrs and the arches were starting to rust when I sold it. Best fun car to drive ever - and Iíve driven a few. So few survived mint cos of the rust issue - Shame

  7. #7
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Ex-Lancia Beta Coupe owner here as well.

    1979 Car, in Dark Red (with gold pin strips) with a brown (vampire) velour interior. Purchased in 1982 from The Checkered Flag, perhaps one of the happiest days of my life.

    It also was fitted with an Ansa exhaust and a Mota-Lita steering wheel (which I still have), along with a rear tail light.

    Alas the car came to an unfortunate end in 1987 (and 50,000 miles) later following an altercation with a coach which destroyed the front end, the off side panels and the near side rear suspension (as the car was forced in to the curb). I was heart broken even when the coach company accept responsibility. Especially as it had just been fitted with a Lester grill, which converted the round headlights to square lights - the only conversion in the UK.

    Still makes me sad, especially as itís replacement was a Fiat UNO 70S. Great car, but not a ďLANch-ChiaĒ.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  8. #8
    Master
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    Lovely! Always fancied a Beta but they were too rusty - the ones I could afford anyway. Had a Delta Turbo for a couple of years in the 90ís - now that was a fast car!
    Also had a Fulvia for a while - but spent most of the time doing it up!
    Now that my son is getting a bit older I quite fancy a go at an older classic...

  9. #9
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Saturdaymorning update: the engine and front suspension are back in/on the car






    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  10. #10
    Nice!
    Next door neighbour had one of these when I was younger- it was his wifeís car and he had the little coupe one- a beta Monte Carlo I think. Both in light blue metallic.
    Looked and sounded great compared to my fathers Triumph 2000!

  11. #11
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Ritmo AKA Strada, Fiat acquired Lancia around the mid 70's and many components from Fiat were transplantated from that point,
    At one point I came within a hairs breath of buying a 1978 concours Beta 1600 coupe unfortunately the seller pulled out so for a while I ran a HPE 2000 ie,
    3 car's I always wanted to try
    Lancia Beta coupe-pre Fiat
    Lancia Fulvia HE 1600 pre Fiat
    Datsun 240z
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  12. #12
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    That's lovely. A rust free Lancia - seems like a fairy tale.

    I used to get a few in my tuning firm back in the day and they were rust buckets back then, I heard a tale of somebodies engine falling out due to rust.

    Beautiful cars and a terrible shame about the corrosion.

    There were stories about Lancia buying cheap Russian steel at the time - apocryphal?
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  13. #13
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    That's lovely. A rust free Lancia - seems like a fairy tale.

    I used to get a few in my tuning firm back in the day and they were rust buckets back then, I heard a tale of somebodies engine falling out due to rust.

    Beautiful cars and a terrible shame about the corrosion.

    There were stories about Lancia buying cheap Russian steel at the time - apocryphal?
    I was told it was cheap Polish Steel with a high content of scrap. The problem was made worse because shells were not galvanised nor treated and UK cars often spent months at the docks awaiting shipping and sales.

    The same was true of Fiats and Alfaís.

    That and the fact that the build quality was shocking and that the last thing into the car was the electrics. The 2.0 Litre Twin Cam engine, was however a complete joy.

    It I had the money and could fine one, I would have a Fiat 131 coupe in a heat beat.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  14. #14
    Fond memories! My father had a Fulvia, Beta Coupe and an HPE over the years of my childhood, he was a Lancia nutcase 😎

  15. #15
    Master
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    My father had a Beta Spyder back in the day, it was a lovely thing. I had a bit of thing about dials back then for some reason, this had an extra two over the norm (oil temp and level IIRC) which made me very happy!

    It was the Sedan that had the engine mount issues but it tarred them all with the same brush so when the time came to sell it he could hardly give it away.

  16. #16
    Dad had a Lancia Gamma, in navy blue with cream leather interior. The most beautiful and financially ruinous car he ever owned.
    I can still recall the horror etched across his ashen face after one of his many visits to his mechanic.

    When he finally managed to move it on he retreated to the relative safety of Mercedes ownership.

    That Lancia was a thing of beauty though.....

  17. #17
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5avvy View Post
    Dad had a Lancia Gamma, in navy blue with cream leather interior. The most beautiful and financially ruinous car he ever owned.
    I can still recall the horror etched across his ashen face after one of his many visits to his mechanic.

    When he finally managed to move it on he retreated to the relative safety of Mercedes ownership.

    That Lancia was a thing of beauty though.....

    The Gamma was a thing of beauty. Pininfarina styling and 2.5 litre engine. Same rust problems (but more expensive to fix), however the biggest problem was the power steering. If the car was started on full lock, then it had a history of throwing the cam belt - which was really really bad.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  18. #18
    Master
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    I had a Beta Spyder in the late 90s.

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