It’s factory hot rodding 101: find a plain Jane 4 door
berlina sedan and stuff a big motor in it and turn it loose. If you are FIAT you take a so-so front drive exec sled and stuff a Ferrari V-8 in it and away you go. Find this 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32 for sale in Seattle, WA for $12,800 via craigslist.
The Lancia Thema was one of the Type 4 quadruplets that shared a platform with the SAAB 9000, FIAT Chroma and Alfa Romeo 164. Lancia’s baby was an upright executive sedan that came with a variety of 4 cylinder petrol and diesel motivators. However, there was one model that came with a Ferrari V-8, the 8.32. The 8 stood for the number of cylinders and the 32 for the number of valves. The 2.9 liter engine was a close relative of the V-8 in the 308 and Mondial, but differed in having a cross-plane vs. a flat plane crank unlike the Fazzas. The engine was assembled by Lancia in Torino, with the castings coming from Maranello. The ad mentions “engine rebuild” but no more details on if it was a full rebuild or a can of STP.
Inside there is plenty of wood and leather befitting an executive express along with a bit of 26 year old car wear. Notable is the third pedal and gear lever that moves both fore and aft and side to side. Of course, it wouldn’t be a 26 year old Italian car without a few electrical gremlins to exorcise: the seller notes the power windows don’t work sometimes, but everything else is said to work.
One more claim to fame of the 8.32 beyond the Ferrari V-8 is that it is the first production car to feature an electrically deployed rear spoiler. Since the ad mentions it, I assume that it works most of the time.
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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent and former Type 4 (164) owner.