Do you dream of driving the Monte Carlo rally whilst sitting on the 405 Freeway. Do you want the thrill of 1980s Italian reliability mixed with open air motoring but find the Alfa Spyder too common? If you’ve answered yes to some or all of the above questions -please seek immediate psychiatric care or buy this 1984 Lancia Beta Zagato – available via craigslist for $6500 in Sherman Oaks, CA (big thanks to dt reader Jenny for the tip)
First off – this is not a car for an introvert. It is covered head-to-toe in Rally Monte Carlo stickers and has a removable roof (actually two of them – the Zagato has a canvas rear section and an “I-top” in the front.) The Lancia Beta was produced in various forms from 1972-1984 – this is the Zagato or Spyder edition – designed by the legendary Torinese design house Pininfarina and built by Milanese coach-builder Zagato. Lancia has a long history of building killer rally machines – culminating in the Lancia Delta S4 ‘group B’, but this Lancia started out life as a simple daily driver.
The engine is an emissions choked 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder fuel-injected dual-overhead-cam Fiat engine making a piccilo 120 horsepower. Like the 80s Fiats that share common components with the Beta – it is front wheel drive, which we can forgive on this car because of its rally pretensions. Lots of front wheel drive cars have been successful in rally racing due to the forgiving nature of driving the front wheels in low traction environments. Mostly we are willing to forgive this car because its Italian.
The Zagato has a typical 80s Italian interior – and this one is in remarkably good shape. The elephant in the cabin however is the particularly prominent shifter that reminds us of an excerpt from Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full involving a midget and a horse. No further comments needed.
The convertible top section in the rear is a remarkable element to the design and we are sure that it’d be down whenever driving around. Deleted bumpers and a supertrapp muffler finish the ‘racer’ look and we’d keep it this way. Would you spend your dough on this Italiano or spend it on pizza? You could buy this car and deliver pizzas with it…but can you maintain an Italian car on tips from pizza delivery?
See another vehicle covered in stickers that isn’t a gourmet food truck? send us a tip here: firstname.lastname@example.org