16 January 2012


A new section on Definitely Motoring where manufacturers could have made a success. By making these well received concepts that they unveiled at motor shows, but wasted the chance by not putting them into production.

On the first feature of Missed Opportunities, it's the Lancia Fulvia.

SINCE Fiat's acquisition of Alfa Romeo in 1986, Lancia has pretty much been re-positioned into being the luxury arm of the Fiat family. Over time, Lancia stopped making cars with any sporting pretensions. What they produce now are strongly emphasised on comfort and refinement.

The well known and much loved HF and Integrale performance models were soon dropped from the Italian maker's line up. Fiat, Lancia's parent company, believe that should those type of cars should be available from Alfa Romeo, Abarth and (of course) Ferrari. They've very much put that behind them.

At the turn of the millennium into the 21st century, Fiat had decided that it was time to re-invent the Lancia brand. If there was one car that Lancia should have made to put them back on the map. The Fulvia concept car that was displayed at the Frankfurt motorshow in 2003.

For most, the Fulvia will be up there with the Delta HF Integrale and the Stratos, regarded as one of the best cars Lancia ever made. It was - and still is - a drop dead gorgeous 2-door coupe, with bags of style, brio and charisma is what the Italians do best. Let's not forget it being the first of Lancia's many triumphs in rallying with the extremely successful HF model.

See the resemblence? The Nuova Fulvia has strong visual links to the original Fulvia.

Designed in-house by Centro Stile Lancia. The Fulvia concept has strong echoes of the original classic, whilst being a throughly modern car at the same time. When you consider the cars that they were making in their line up. The ageing Ypsilon was due to be replaced; the Lybra was an oddball and the Thesis appealed to those with an acquired taste.

Lancia should have put the Fulvia into production. This car could very well have redeemed Lancia.  People would have happily get into an orderly queue and place a cheque to buy this stunning two-door coupe. This is one car that would have had a waiting list. One that would have sold well - but I'm also meaning outside of Italy. Which is where Lancia make up around 80% of their sales in its homeland.

Had the Lancia Fulvia entered production, it would have been a goose that laid the golden egg. As it was based on a Fiat Barchetta (not a bad thing) therefore making it more affordable. Very much unlike the Sixties Fulvia as that was a very expensive car when new. When I say expensive, it had a higher price tag than a Jaguar E-Type.

Bespoke and delightful interior.

The likelihood of it having a lower price tag from its Fiat origins. It wouldn't just be the Fulvia's selling point. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but its drop dead gorgeous looks would be why people would buy one. The new Fulvia was one car that in Lancia's line up would have had a broad appeal. The reason why we would go out and buy one because it has style and charisma of which we love from Italian cars.

Fiat at one point, was intending to bring Lancia back into the UK as well. Not with the Delta as what was originally intended prior to re-inventing Lancia. But Lancia is back in Blighty - except that they're not, because the Ypsilon and the Delta are wearing Chrysler badges of all horrors.

If Fiat did bring back Lancia, it should have been with the Nuavo Fulvia. This would have been the car to revive the Lancia name and put it back on the map. Shame this hasn't happened. A golden opportunity wasted.

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