Ferrari V8 Sleeper: 1988 Lancia Thema 8.32

You have to love when manufacturers decide to throw caution to the wind and build a sleeper. Sure, the hotrod Hellcats are cool, but you sort of expect them to be absolutely bonkers. You gaze upon this very sedentary Lancia Thema and wouldn’t suspect a Ferrari-built V8 is hanging out under the hood. But it is, and this example – never sold stateside, mind you – has emerged on our shores and posted for sale here on craigslist with an unlisted asking price but a clue to expect something well north of $45K.

The kicker? These Themas were front-wheel drive! So yes, you had a V8 lifted from the likes of the Ferrari 308 and Mondial thrumming away under hood, all the while routing that power through the Thema’s very obvious economy-car drivetrain. Still, you’re talking about one of the most sensuous creations ever built (if you believe that old saw that Lancias and Ferraris are somehow more passion-filled than their European counterparts) that could rip down a 0-60 time of under seven seconds and still carry some friends, the Thema was a safe bet.

That’s assuming reliability wasn’t a primary concern. Now, I hate to say that Italian exotica doesn’t live according to the principles of turnkey reliability, but they do tend to require some extra hand-holding and maintenance nonetheless. Thankfully, the seller of this recently imported Thema 8.32 has detailed the extensive rebuild that took place to ensure the next owner can enjoy all the FWD burnouts they can stand: “The Ferrari V8 received a full valve job, new rings, new flywheel, new clutch and fully refreshed ignition and fuel injection systems.”

The list of mechanical upgrades continues: “Driveshafts and drive system serviced and refreshed. Engine compartment cleaned and detailed prior to engine reinstallation. New full exhaust system installed. ” The body panels were treated to a repaint, the plush Alcantara interior cleaned, and the wheels repainted and shod with “period-correct” new rubber. The seller is asking all the money for one of these, but as he points out, his team has already done the hard work; now, you just need to enjoy it.

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  1. Max

    I am Not Ferrari or any sports car fan but these special and rare Lancia’s do have their loyal customers who would pay any amount for clean original example !

  2. chad

    no price listed, haven’t seen that on CL B4. Have seen cars of this class there B4 tho…interesting.
    Had Lancias in the late 70s/early 80s. Very nice. We thought of them as fiat upgrades but the history shows an expansive difference. I wish they never ‘died’.
    Thnx, Jeff

  3. That AMC Guy

    This is one of the “Type 4” cars with platform shared between Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Saab. I’ve seen the Alfa (164) on the road and of course the Saabs (9000) were fairly common. Have never seen the Fiat or Lancia versions though, I don’t think they were ever sold in the U.S. I’m sure the engine distinguishes this Lancia quite a bit from its stablemates!

  4. SebastianX1/9

    Just buy a Ferrari.

  5. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    This is on my very long bucket list.
    Will probably never get to it but I am a fan.

  6. Mike Hawke

    I bought a Thema with a 2.0 DOHC back in the mid-90s and enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as my Peugeot 405Mi16. I tried to buy an 8.32 as they were available and cheap…but always needed work.


    Fiat version was called CROMA (1985-1996, total about 438000), Lancia version was called THEMA (1984-1994, total about 336000), both were offered with wide range of gasoline and diesel engines, version with diesel turbocharged engine were real bestsellers in the 80s.
    Lancia 8.32 (1986-1992 total production 4670, 215/205HP) were quite rare and problems at the V8 engine (F105L) were known.

  8. Wolfgang Gullich

    This car looked much better and was more reliable as the SAAB 9000 (which incidentally had the purest version of the Giugiaro design) and ALFA 164… And that 308/Mondial engine was kind of a dog

  9. CanuckCarGuy

    In a money is no object scenario, this would be a very cool car to own… very nicely styled car, with a Ferrari under the hood. Could it get any better?

  10. wuzjeepnowsaab

    That is a ridiculous price. Period. The Thema is an awesome car and the Ferrari engine gives it chops but 45K is a no starter. Same platform as the Saab 9000 (I have 3) and the Alfa 164. More rare than those…but never 45K

  11. wuzjeepnowsaab

    And fwiw, the Saab 9000 Aero had 10 more hp than the 8-32 (225hp vs 215hp), was .1 second slower 0-60, had the same top mph, cost about the same and delivered both better fuel economy as well as safety. Not to mention looked a heckuva lot better inside and out.

    The seller of this Thema has his head in the clouds to put it nicely

  12. Punit M

    If someone turned this in to a truck (mk4 Jetta truck) it would be a Ferrari truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!……………

  13. Booya

    So you get to be “that guy” at the party who explains you don’t really have a Ferrari (like they heard you did) — just the engine stuffed in something that looks like an old-school Sentra? “At least it requires a lot of expensive maintenance, and it’s kinda slow by today’s standards! Hey! It was never sold here!” you’ll protest. They’ll nod politely, then go looking for the bowl with the Pringles.

    They’ve just met “that guy.”

  14. T-Bone Bob


  15. Martin Horrocks

    10-15000€ in Europe. Engine was built by Ducatti, not identical to 328 Ferrari.

    Like too many Lancias, this answered a question they must have misheard.

  16. Wrong Way

    Love this car! If I ever was offered a chance to check one out, I don’t know if I could get myself to bring it back! I would bring it back, and pull the check book out or go to the nearest bank and run back with the cash! :-)

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