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Black And Gold: 1979 Lancia Zagato Spyder

1979 Lancia Zagato

If you are looking for a unique ride to take to your local automotive, morning beverage event, look no further than this 1979 Lancia Zagato Spyder Special. This convertible can be yours for a price of $6,900 and is located in Corona, California. No VIN is listed, but the miles are at 67,000 and the car is said to be in excellent condition with a clean title. Thank you, Taylor W., for the tip. You can take a closer look here on Craigslist.

1979 Lancia Zagato

This little cruiser is powered by an inline 4 cylinder connected to a 5-speed manual transmission. The seller notes in the listing that they have performed some work on it recently. Listed are a new top, head gaskets, a Bosch fuel pump and fuel tank, as well as a rebuilt carburetor, and fuel hoses. They also say that the car has been tuned by a Lancia specialist in their immediate area.

1979 Lancia Zagato

From the photos, you can see that this targa top/convertible has a great interior for its age. The black leather still looks great with little signs of fading or cracks. There is a photo of the hardtop and soft top in the listing that you can see propped against the car, to get an idea of just how it all works. Part of the top seems to fold as well.

1979 Lancia Zagato

The car has never ventured far from the southwest United States, so there is no rust. It certainly is a unique car, and the current owner says they and their son take it, along with a Scorpion, to local meets. That is true story inducing pair right there. They don’t indicate why they are selling, but as they state in the listing, it would be perfect for the summer time and all sorts of shows you could take it to.


  1. Ike Onick

    Interesting car and you probably would not see another at Cars and Coffee.

    Like 2
    • George Member

      Unless I show up! I’m always the only one locally!

      Like 1

    Looks like a Subaru Brat with a trunk. Kinda cool but I don’t know anything about these cars.

    Like 1
    • George Member

      They don’t look at all alike side by side. Check them out, they are beautiful cars that have amazing driving dynamics.

      Like 1
  3. TimM

    It is cool!! Can you easily get parts for it or upgrade it with some high performance goodies?????

    • George Member

      I have a Beta Coupé.

      It is surprisingly easy to get parts, as many mechanical parts interchange with Fiat parts…..even though the block is a unique casting, it’s part of the Lampredi four family.

      Like 1
  4. Eli

    This is pretty much a Beta Coupe. The Scorpion is the one to have!

    Like 1
    • George Member

      The Scorpion/Monte Carlo is a lovely Pininfarina design, but but the Lancia designed Coupe is my personal favorite, and the HPE wagon a classic.

      Like 1
      • t-bone Bob

        Agreed. The Beta HPE is my favorite Lancia

      • Ed

        Ran across one today on a car donation car lot here in ohio-hopefully someone will make use of it!

  5. DRV

    This is awesome and in John Player clothes. Not being rusty is huge for these, and their future in collectibility is zero risk.

    Like 3
  6. Sandy

    We had one – really fun car! We loved to flip the rear window down and keep the targa on–lots of fresh air and you don;t get baked by the sun!

  7. Mark

    Nice car – 1.8 or 2L engine????
    I still have parts for those cars
    Nice Italian ride

  8. SubGothius

    The engine is a 2.0L, basically the same Lampredi-designed Fiat twincam found in a Fiat Spider, just turned sideways driving the front wheels. For DIYers, all the advice you could need is available from fellow enthusiasts on the Lancisti forum and Lancia Beta Appreciation Society group on Facebook.

    The Beta platform in general is one of the most “modern” 30-40 year old classic cars you can still find and maintain affordably, the first mass-production model built to the complete engineering formula that ultimately “won” the auto industry worldwide — FWD with a transverse DOHC engine mated to a 5-speed transaxle, 4-wheel disc brakes, strut-based fully independent suspension with a multilink rear, rack and pinion power steering. All of those features can be found in nearly any econobox nowadays, but few cars had any of that, let alone all of that, when the first Beta debuted in 1972, nor many more by the time it finally retired a dozen years later.

    Not that a Beta drives like any sort of econobox, mind you. The ride is supple, somehow managing to be refined yet taut at the same time, and handling is fingertip-light, communicative, and responsive, with neutral understeer past the limit arriving as an even, progressive and controllable 4-wheel-dift wide of the line (rather than nose-heavy plowing). “As if on rails” never meant so much until I got mine — fling it into any corner fast as you dare, steer in a bit tighter than you want and ride the drift out to your desired line, lift throttle and/or trail brake to scrub speed and lock it in, then stomp on the gas and blaze onward with nary a chirp from the tires.

    This leather upholstery responds very well to an oil treatment like Leather Honey or mink oil (liquid, not the boot paste), which can get it looking and feeling nearly new by the time it drinks up all the oil you can feed it. It’s got a lovely glove-like hand when properly cared for but can get dry, shrunken and coarse when neglected, though that’s largely reversible with care.

    You can still get a Dash Cap™ and/or DashMat™ from AccuForm and Covercraft, respectively. Replacement ragtops are still readily available, at various price points and levels of quality. The good kind are made by Robbins, run about $350 from TopsOnline for vinyl or $300 more for Stayfast fabric, or you can get a cheap Stayfast top for about $350 on eBay.

    Like 2
  9. Wayne

    SubGothius, I agree with all the points. Items to watch out for. Cracked header, stuck EGR valve. (Usually seen with a cracked header) And don’t set the new timing belt to Fiat specs. USE THE LANCIA specs for cam(s) timing. My buddy bought several Beta Coupes where the cams were set ala Fiat and instant disaster happened. One each Beta Coupe for sale cheap! I am kind of a front wheel drive freak with auto crossing, ice racing and pro rally all with front wheel drive. And I love driving these cars! With a little tire pressure adjusting you can actually get these cars to have mild oversteer. Nothing more fun than a front wheel drive car with mild oversteer! Just minor wheel and throttle adjustments and a boat load of fun!

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