Herbie’s Girlfriend: 1976 Lancia Scorpion

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Editor Note: This Lancia sold almost immediately after Jamie wrote about it. It’s a really neat little car, so we thought we would go ahead and feature it anyway!

If you’re a fan of the “Love Bug” movie series like I am, you’ll remember that Herbie falls in love with Giselle, a Lancia, in Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo. While this isn’t the car from the move, it’s been painted to look just like it by a Love Bug fan, but was for sale here on eBay. The buy-it-now price was $4,995, which clearly was a great deal. The Lancia is located in La Jolla, California.

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The seller purchased the car from the owner of one of the original “Herbies” from the movie, and it appears that the mimicking of the movie car was done quite well. I’m not sure whether this picture from the ad is the real car or this one, although based on the side mirror and covered headlights I think it’s the real car. These Scorpions were only called by that name in the American market; in the rest of the world they were known, ironically, as “Montecarlos,” but couldn’t be called that in the US due to the similarly named Chevrolets. We in the US only got 2/3 of the horsepower from the rest of the world version as well, leaving the car somewhat underpowered for it’s dramatic looks.

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Unlike many of the cars I’ve looked at recently, the seller has included some excellent photos showing off the mid-engined style of the little coupe. The large US 5 mph bumpers are unfortunate, but I have seen these replaced by Euro-spec lighter and smaller bumpers for a great improvement. The seller says something about the “usual” rust in the hood, but it must be pretty small.

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A pleasant interior with a more vertical steering wheel than the typical Italian “bus driver” position awaits you. The “frunk” appears largely corrosion-free, although I think I’d want to figure out some way to protect those lines against the rear panel before loading it with too much. Jumper cables in the truck are always a warning sign to me that the car may not have been used much or has charging system issues.

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The seller tells us that the car runs well, but that the thermostatic cooling fan is erratic and they would recommend straight-wiring it before driving too far. I can’t say I’m a fan of the aftermarket air filter attached with a ty-wrap, but that should be easy enough to remedy. The owner states that the inline 4 engine has been rebuilt with performance parts, so perhaps some of that 40 horsepower lost to the US tuning has been regained. Would you like to drive the car to find out? I know I would! And would you keep its appearance as-is or return it to original?

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Comments

  1. Mike H. Mike H. Member

    Is it just me, or does anyone else see the badge on the grille and think: “There’s an interesting Mazda. . .” or “Rotary?”

    • Kevin Harper

      I guess I could see that happening, but the Lancia badge has been like that for a long time. The aurelia did it with the front grill.
      Also alfa’s are also framed in a triangle which I suppose could be misconstrued as a rotary.

  2. Daytona

    So cool

  3. Albert

    To be clear, I know the gentleman that built the car. He doesn’t own an original screen used Herbie. He has a very good replica. And the 2nd picture with Herbie isn’t of the car in the auction. That’s the only confirmed remaining Giselle from the movies which is in Texas.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks for the clarification, Albert!

  4. Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

    Love it. I always wanted to get a horn from a Lancia – as the note it strikes when she leaves with Herbie from the corner of the bistro is one of the best-sounding horns I have ever heard! Never been able to track one down, though…

  5. MonsieurLeBaton

    Hey Jeff – the horns you’re after are made by Fiamm (Serie 2000) – the scorpion / Beta / montecarlo came with twin horns & comp, interestingly a similar unit was fitted to the Ferrari 250 (Serie 3000). Just like ANSA exhausts all those years ago, seems like Italian parts makers were rarely maker specific.

    There a set for sale on ebay from a much later fiat tipo – http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Trombe-bitonali-depoca-FIAMM-tipo-M-O-12V-serie-2000-complete-e-funzionanti-/151958172618?hash=item236169b3ca:g:eM8AAOSwqYBWoPHh

    am sure you could dig around and find others or at least keep an eye out now :)

  6. Jonathan

    I had a silver 1976 turbocharged scorpion and ran it for over 100k miles. If I remember correctly I sold that car around 1990.

    It was a fun and pretty car…not exactly reliable but I drove the wheel off it.

    Finding rare parts was like a treasure hunt around the country before the interweb and eventually it motivated me into selling the car.

    Don’t miss the car but am glad I owned it.

  7. Kyle

    Hi.
    I’m the builder of this car. Well, my friend Dann, and I actually.
    I sold it to someone who lives in LaJolla in November, 2015. It looks like he used my eBay pictures (a sort of skeezy move) and a mish-mash of embellished information to flip the car almost immediately after buying it. It now resides in Dubai. Yup, made its way half way around the world.
    The photos were taken near my home in San Francisco.
    Any owner of a Fiat or Lancia from this era can tell you of the electrical demons that plague these cars. After I had the starter rebuilt, I never needed the jumper cables again, but before that, it didn’t like to start when the engine was hot. One of the oil temperature sensors was also bad and would kill off the battery in a week or so if you didn’t drive it.
    …and just so you know I’m not joshin’ y’all, photo attached. Taken on the same day.

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