EXCLUSIVE: Pair Of 1982 Lancia Betas

I always love a good buy one get one deal, especially when it comes to classic cars! Well, reader Stuart B has a pair of Lancia Betas that need to go. One of the Betas is a Zagato Convertible and the other a Coupe. They both need work, but they can be yours for just $2,200. The Zagato has been parked in Stuart’s garage in Dayton, Ohio for a number of years, while the Coupe is currently outside. If you’d love to give these Lancias a new home, be sure to message Stuart via the form below!

From Stuart – There are 2 Lancia Betas for sale. One is a red coupe and has been outside and suffers from cosmetic damage and rust but was running when it was parked. The black Zagato has been sitting inside for many years but the car is rust free and the rear plastic and targa top are in excellent shape, but was in need of mechanical repair when it was parked (specifically transmission if memory serves me). Sold together.

While you could probably get both of these cars back on the road, I would use the coupe as a parts donor for the Zagato. Seeing as these Lancias are equipped with the same engine as the Fiat 124, finding parts won’t be all that difficult, but replacement transmissions might be a little challenge given the front wheel drive configuration. I was able to find rebuild parts for the gearbox, so that might be one option that would allow you to save both cars.

Having a Fiat 124, I can attest to what a great little engine the Twin Cam that powers these cars are. It has a killer exhaust note, produces plenty of power and is actually quite simple to work on (especially for an Italian). I haven’t ever had the joy of experiencing one of these Lancias, but I’ve heard they are a blast to drive! While Stuart didn’t give us a lot of photos, the Zagato actually looks to be in good overall condition and would definitely be worth reviving.

Special thanks to Stuart for listing this pair of Betas with us! If you happen to have a project or two sitting in your garage that need to go, please consider listing them with us!

Asking Price: $2,200
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Title Status: Clean

Contact The Seller

Fast Finds


  1. Bill

    I’ve always liked the looks of these. A twofer all but guarantees one roadworthy car. Not a bad price all in all.

  2. Car Guy

    Anyone here willing to take on some “Beta testing” ? ;-)

  3. Joe Howell

    Jeremy Clarkson drove a Beta across Botswana I think. It was a funny episode as he stripped it down to lighten it up to cross an ancient lake bed’s crust. If you broke thru it was a sticky ancient fish goo mud that clogged the wheels to the point of locking up the wheels. These Betas could be interesting make one out of two project for a fan of the marque.

  4. SubGothius

    Both of these appear to be ’81 models, absolutely THE year to get; FI coupes were available in the US for this year only (FI Zags also came in ’82), and that combined with the 2L block makes for the most power available in any US-market Beta — 108 HP @ 5500 RPM and a torquey 114 Ft-Lbs @ 2500 RPM, pushing just 2600 lbs of mass — plus the improved reliability and more versatile drivability of Bosch L-jetronic vs. earlier carb’d models.

    They also started galvanizing bodyshells in late ’81, so the extent of rust on the coupe (surface vs. structural) may indicate if it’s one of those lucky ones. Coupes are more desirable, especially this particular model year, as fewer of them survived daily-driver duty vs. the Zags that tended to be babied, garaged, only taken out on weekends in nice weather, etc.

    Transmissions in these were pretty bulletproof (aside from the terrible ’79-only automatics), so unless it somehow got run out of gear oil, I’d suspect any “transmission” issue is more likely just a bad clutch needing replacement (along with the pressure plate and release bearing, gotta do all three). That’s a tough job the way everything’s Tetrised together underhood, can be done without removing the entire powertrain if you cut down the handle of the alignment tool, but some may prefer to just drop the subframe onto a dolly with drivetrain intact and lift the front of the car away to do the job (and any other while-you’re-at-it’s) with unencumbered access all-around that way.

    I’ve daily-driven and self-maintained a Beta Zagato spider for the past decade-plus and 35k miles (just passed 150k on the clock weeks ago), so here’s my usual spiel in praise of the Lancia Beta:

    A Lancia Beta is one of the most “modern” 35+ year old classic cars you can still buy and maintain at reasonable cost. It was truly ahead of its time, boasting a DOHC transverse engine driving the front wheels through a 5-speed transaxle, fully independent MacPherson strut-based suspension with a multilink rear, rack’n’pinion power steering, and 4-wheel disc brakes — few cars had any of that, let alone all of that, when the Beta debuted in 1974, nor many more by the time it retired a decade later, yet that’s all commonplace on nearly any econobox nowadays.

    Not to say that the Beta is any sort of econobox; it’s a delightfully spirited, agile driver with a taut yet supple ride, light and communicative steering, and otherwise impeccable handling — “as if on rails” never meant so much until I got mine. Past the limit in cornering, it transitions to neutral understeer in the form of a progressive, controllable 4-wheel drift wide of the line (rather than nose-heavy plowing), an exemplar of the maxim that “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow” (though in the US they didn’t come any faster than these ’81s).

    • George Member

      Thanks. Love my ’79 Coupé!

      The Beta is a wonderful car, offering mechanical sophistication that was way ahead of the game in the seventies. The styling is simple and elegant…..I wonder if its basic form isn’t the basis for the Cadillac Alanté?

      They drive like an Italian sports car, too.

      A very under-rated car.

  5. wayne

    A buddy and I drove one of his Lancias (coupe) from the Illinois/Wisconsin border to watch the Daytona 24 hour race. A 1,200 mile jaunt. We made it in 15 hours total! (including fuel and food stops) Dual Radar detectors, field glasses and CB radio. (1981 I think) I twas a blast! We were making even better time coming home when we hit an ice storm in Indianapolis. It took almost 6 hours to get through the frozen slush tracks that tried to make you friendly with the guard rails. Plus the hamming and vibration of driving on the chunky ice. Caused the float adjustment to go away in the Weber. Sitting in the car at 10 degrees below zero with a carb in your lap. trying to make an adjustment while your hands are shaking so bad with the cold. Is no fun!

  6. angliagt

    I saw one of these just North of Carson City,Nevada,
    when I took a wrong turn (I was headed to Elko,on I 80).It was
    in a fenced lot,on the East side of the highway,heading towards
    Fernley.Wonder if it’s still there?
    I HATE driving through Reno!

  7. Wayne

    It is actually east of Dayton on US 50. It is white with a yellow stripe. It has been sitting there for years open to the elements with no top or rear glass/top/cover.

  8. David Miraglia

    always wanted a Beta, but two for one that’s a steal.

  9. SubGothius

    Hm, it also occurred to me the transmission issue could just be a matter of perished bushings in the linkage, a common malady. Fortunately, John Montgomery of the Fiat-Lancia club developed a rebush kit that most of the marque parts vendors resell, or you can get it directly from him via FiatLancia.us

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