No Reserve Starter Classic: 1976 Lancia Scorpion

This 1976 Lancia Scorpion is listed at no reserve, and it appears to be in the sort of condition you’d be proud of, but also not afraid to actually use. The seller notes it is non-running at the moment due to ongoing electrical issues that were never properly fixed by a mechanic that could not find the source of the issues. The good news is the body is in great shape, and the seller confirms that the engine and transmission will run once you sort of the electrical gremlins. The Lancia also sports some period-correct aftermarket wheels that are a little big for my tastes, but definitely freshen up its appearance. You can find the Lancia here on eBay with bids to $5,900 and located in Euclid, Ohio.

The Scorpion is one of those cars I’ve always been curious to own, but not enough to actually buy one. I suspect the driving experience isn’t far off from a Miata in the sense that you’re never too far from anything mechanical, with the engine mounted midship behind your head and the road never all that far away from your hand as it hangs out the window. Of course, fans of the Disney Herbie franchise will recognize the Scorpion as the object of the star-car’s affections in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, though I’ve never been convinced it was the all-dominating track car that Disney made it out to be. This Scorpion is clearly a U.S.-market car with those gigantic safety bumpers and generous overhangs. It appears to have had an aftermarket exhaust fitted at some point.

The interior is tired, but what a great color combination. Black on red in an Italian sports car is pretty much the perfect combo, aside from maybe white over red. The seller notes the driver’s seat is in rough condition, and it looks like the passenger seat isn’t far behind. The carpets are soiled but would likely bounce back with a steam cleaning; the door panels look to be in excellent condition. Really, it just strikes me as a car in need of a good detailing and an upholstery kit. The factory radio has gone missing, and the seller notes it will need a battery, too – likely because the same mechanic who couldn’t sort out the electrical issues decided to keep it for themselves.

Mileage is believed to be genuine at 74,000, but the seller notes a mileage discrepancy on the title paperwork which lists it as 78K. The seller seems confident that despite the issues preventing this Lancia from running, the next owner will find a healthy engine and transmission waking up once the bad ground or short in the wiring is addressed. Certainly, the body on this example is the most appealing and surprising feature, considering it came to Ohio by way of Canada. I’ve noticed interest in these mid-engined Lancias ticking upwards on the last few auctions we’ve reported, selling for better money than I might expect an otherwise obscure Italian two-door to command. If you’re going to deal with mechanical faults, it makes sense to buy one with excellent cosmetics.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    That looks like my fellow mechanics car when I worked at the Alfa dealer in East PA. Loved the looks but he would sell it to me because he knew I would be happy with it. Great looks but really underwhelming in the drivetrain department.

    Like 1
    • CJinSD

      I had a 1976 FIAT 124 Sport Spider that started out with the same engine that this FIAT X1/20 left the production line powered by. With racing cams that moved the meaningful power band to between about six and nine thousand RPM, it was a very pleasant car to drive at maximum intensity. I have been drinking already today, but I could swear that this car currently has a fuel-injected 2 liter engine based on the photos. It might already be about 20% stronger than a stock Scorpion.

      Like 1
      • Araknid78

        It definitely has fuel injection. Don’t know about the 2 litre. All US models came with the 1.8 litre engine with a carburetor. Same set up as in the Fiat 124 of the same vintage.

        The fuel injection alone would add significantly to its performance.

  2. grant

    The seller “confirms that the engine will run?” How can he confirm it if it DOESN’T RUN? The seller CLAIMS it will run…

    Like 1
  3. Poppapork

    These will go up in value
    1. Only a couple thousand of these were made total
    2. Quite successful sport career (twice world endurance gold)
    3. One of the most famous 4cyl engines in history- the Lampredi
    4. Mid engined italian car status

    Like 2
  4. GlennMoraga

    Had one Scorpion (and later two Betas and a 124). The Scorpion was my least favorite of the Fiat quartet, with looks the engine could not match (by a long shot). Some parts were hard to find. The roll-back sunroof was vinyl – with all the downsides of a convertible (ripped or slashed tops) with none of the real drop top pleasure. Rear engine (not mid) had great turn in, but more scary than fun. There has never been another car that I was so happy to get rid of. But, others may appreciate and hope that it may appreciate.

    Like 2
    • SubGothius

      The Scorpion is rear mid-engined, as the engine sits forward of the rear axle.

      Like 3
      • GlennMoraga

        You are correct, I was wrong.

        From Motorsport – “The cylinder block is cast iron and the crankshaft runs in five main bearings. A 20-degree tilt to the rear puts the rearmost camshaft of this transverse engine just behind the wheel centre line, so that it is only just mid-engined.”

        I recall that most of the of of the engine was behind the two rear strut towers, didn’t recall the tilt. But you are correct.

        Like 2
  5. SubGothius

    This one’s been upgraded from the original carburetor to the Bosch L-jet FI system Fiat used from ’80-up, gotta wonder anything else about the engine has been upgraded as well — maybe a 2-liter block and/or hi-comp pistons?

  6. Vintage

    I believe there was a dealer for Lancia in the Cleveland / Medina, Ohio area back in the 1960s and 1970s called International Imports Sales and Service. I believe it was first on Madison Ave in Cleveland then State Road in Medina, Ohio. Anyone remember this dealership?

  7. ArchitectureOnWheels

    It all comes back to me now noting the comment of electrical gremlins… Working at the Alfa Romeo dealer in San Francisco, The San Francisco Autocenter, the Italian cars, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia would frequently come in for service with yes… The proverbial electrical “Gremlins” . Poor wiring routing resulting in chafing, and unfortunately finding sabotage at the manufacturing point, given the Italian unions were demonstrating more often than not. Always a “where’s Waldo” moment in the search.

  8. John

    There’s nothing “classic” about a Lancia built by Fiat. There’s a world of difference about the cars built by Lancia.

    • SubGothius

      FWIW, these were actually built by Pininfarina, using the Lancia Beta powertrain (tho’ the block is RWD Fiat type rather than the FWD Beta variant) and X1/9 suspension and brakes.

      Like 1
  9. John

    I should exclude the rally cars.

    Like 1
  10. yes300ed

    I saw one of these at NJ Motorsports Park a few years ago in Lemons racing!
    Driver passed on yellow twice. His penalty was having a can of sardines dumped on his engine!

  11. chrlsful

    the blk paint is horrible. With different these can B nice lookers. I had same era 124 (sedans & spyders) and one Beta Coupe. They were all fine cars. The lancia was a lill up grade (fiat bottom lancia nxt, alpha, etc).

    Went for closer look at condition. I think they’re ‘collectable’ as few were built.
    This one raised $2,5K and…”sold”.

    Like 1
    • Araknid78

      ALFA

      Like 1
  12. Araknid78

    Ended: Apr 11, 2020 , 6:00PM
    Winning bid:US $8,660.00
    [ 61 bids ]

  13. r s

    This may be the bottom, bottom, bottom car on my list of wanted cars.
    Or at the top of the ‘unwanted’ list.

    Like 2

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