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1-Of-1800: 1976 Lancia Scorpion Barn Find

Who remembers the Lancia Scorpion? It was an Italian-built, mid-engine sports car imported to the U.S. for just two years in the mid-1970s. And only 1,800 came to the States. This example from 1976 has been sitting in a garage for nearly 40 years and is said to be in great condition, though the photos tend to disagree. It can be found in Los Angeles, California, and is available here on Craigslist for $5,200. Hats off to T.J. for this interesting tip!

The Scorpion was a larger version of the Fiat X1/9 and was produced between 1975 and 1981 as the Montecarlo on its home turf. However, since Chevrolet already had a car by that name, they decided to call it Scorpion for those copies that got off the boat in the United States. The car was styled for Lancia by Pininfarina and used a Fiat-supplied twin-camshaft, 4-cylinder engine, which was detuned to meet U.S. emissions standards, choking horsepower to about 80. While 7,800 were built overall, only 1,800 made it here.

These were not cheap cars, with a base of nearly $10,000. The Lancia Scorpion Registry (yes, there is one) estimates that maybe half of the cars imported are still alive, which means the seller’s edition might be one of 900. We don’t know why this automobile has been in captivity for four decades or what would cause that to happen, if anything. The indicated mileage is 90,000, so it wasn’t on a pedestal in its first few years.

The seller inherited this Scorpion, which has no title or keys—both of which were likely lost after all of these years. The body may be fair with no apparent rust, and the seller says the interior is in great condition, though it’s hard to tell in the dirty and dark environment where it resides. Since this is a rare vehicle, would you attempt to restore it or just get it going again?


  1. Avatar photo Nevada1/2rack Member

    IIRC, in its original trim it was a good looking quick little car-until it got to the US.
    Sad that most of the ones I have seen on this side of the Pond are rotting in a storage shed or worse-the one left to rot outside in the storage area of storage yard/somebody’s back 40 under a tarp.
    The ad tells us the seller wants it gone with as little work on their part as possible for the most they can get from it-the front end is MIA, lousy photos, nasty looking trunk/interior.
    These are neat sports cars in European trim and this one would be a good candidate for that with a boatload of time and money, of which the return would never be realized in financial terms-but would be fun to drive.

    Like 9
  2. Avatar photo stillrunners Member

    You always hope that last picture is the car out of it’s tomb…..

    Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Robert Carroll

    These may be underpowered, but they are reasonably comfortable and handle much like a Lotus Esprit. Swap in a 2.0L Fiat as it was equipped in Europe and performance comes closer to living up to its looks. I currently own 3 examples – a restored driver, a project that will be restored to European specifications, and a parts car (good to have) that just may become a 24 Hours of Lemons ride. Given the mileage and extended period it’s sat idle, this one may be priced a bit steep. Key parts are available, but check carefully for trim and incidentals. They have a surprisingly large trunk up font that could easily be loaded for a weekend getaway for two. Check the title & registration to verify the model year. The glass sail panels flanking the engine bay were introduced in 1977. They were solid for 1976, but I believe kits were available to modify them with glass inserts to improve visibility

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo jwaltb

      Have you driven an Esprit?

      Like 2
  4. Avatar photo Otterdog Member

    Anyone else seeing design inspiration for cybertruck?

    Like 8
  5. Avatar photo rustylink

    it’s a delicate Italian car sitting in a damp barn for 40 years..WCGW?

    Like 13
  6. Avatar photo Big C

    No title, no keys, no idea if it will ever run, no idea of why it’s sat for 40 years. And, he wants it gone, now! Maybe ask $520?

    Like 15
  7. Avatar photo justpaul

    I’m going to assume that the barn has sentimental value for the seller. Otherwise the correct course of action would be to burn it down with the Lancia still inside of it.

    Like 7
  8. Avatar photo Troy

    $5200 for $200 in scrap metal not sure if this inheritance was a blessing or a curse

    Like 5
  9. Avatar photo luckless pedestrian

    Tired, this one is…

    $5200?… Nope.

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Lawrence Smith

    way to much, I have a 82 zagato,& if they want $5000 for this piece of garbage mine has to be worth 10k

    Like 4
  11. Avatar photo Frank Barrett Member

    Cheapest way into an interesting Italian sports car. Offer $2,500 in cash.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo Wayne

    Mileage and time says this one will need a timing belt. (If it does not already, maybe reason for parking and tossing the keys) These are interference engines. So don’t even try to start it! They look like the Fiat engine but the cam timing is different. A buddy bought 2 or 3 Beta Coupes where the new timing belt was installed per Fiat specs. These cars he bought cheap as the valves and pistons had “gotten friendly” One of them had less than 1,000 miles on the odo. Fun, good handling cars once lowered to Euro Specs! I would have one if the deal was right.

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo JGD

    Wow, another seller too lazy to clean up the car and its surroundings before taking photos! If he’s really trying to unload the car, he should rent a pair of jack stands and take well lighted pix of the underside. Take the junk (and grill) out of the trunk and search the garage/barn for the missing front sheet metal. Or instead of listing a BIN price, simply ask for a best offer. Alternately, offer it to a Vo-Tech school as an auto shop project.

    FWIW, back in the day, some Vo-Tech Automotive Shop Instructors would provide a late ’30’s or ’40’s “Special Interest” car as a class project. The instructor paid for all the needed parts while the school covered the cost of consumables and the students provided the labor while learning a useful skill. The instructor could then keep the finished product for personal use or sell it for a tax free supplement to their salary.

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo JBD

    Check again:

    Mileage is only 9,065

    The last digit is a tenth/mile.

    True survivor if only 9k miles!

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo Robert Carroll

    Yes. Shortly after buying my first Scorpion, I did some work on a client’s turbo Esprit. It was an awesome car that handled very nicely and had a different feel altogether. In fact, as I drove it through some curves on my first test drive, I thought to myself that it handled very much like a Scorpion on steroids, where it really was more like the Scorpion handled like an underpowered Esprit.

    Like 1

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