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Rare Italian Oddball: 1979 Lancia Gamma Coupe

If you look at this car and wonder what it is, you probably won’t be alone. The Lancia Gamma was not a common sight outside of Europe, and this one has found its way to the US via Spain. It is in good condition and represents something different and unusual in the classic car line. It is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Lancia has reached $6,456, and the reserve has now been met.

Designed by Pininfarina, the Gamma was available in two separate body styles. The most common of these was the 4-door fastback, while the Coupe version was built in significantly lower numbers. This is one of the Series 1 cars, which means that it is 1-of-2,337 Series 1 Coupes built with the larger of the two available engines. The car underwent a repaint in its original Ghiaccio White about a year ago. It presents well, and the owner claims that it has no rust issues. It is fitted with its original alloy wheels, and these appear to be clean and free of curb strike. The exterior trim and glass also look to be in good condition, so the news has been good up to this point.

The color combination for the interior trim would probably be classed as an acquired taste, and it is nothing if not striking. The beige and blue certainly stands out, and this is exactly how the car left the factory. Lancia has built some great cars throughout its history, but among other issues, they have long been renowned for having fairly fragile interiors. This one has survived really well, and there are no real issues or complaints here. As far as luxury equipment is concerned, you get a radio/cassette player, air conditioning, and power windows.

The original intention with the Gamma was for it to house a V6 engine, but this never came to fruition. What eventually found its way under the hood was a sophisticated flat-four engine, which was available in two different capacities. This Gamma is fitted with the larger 2,484cc engine, which produces 140hp. This finds its way to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. The owner believes that the engine is original, and it has recently been given a tune-up and been fitted with a new exhaust and new tires. For a 1970s, front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder car, the Gamma was capable of pretty reasonable performance figures. It could accelerate from 0-60mph in around 9.9 seconds, could cover the ¼ mile in 16.7 seconds, and could head on to a top speed of 120mph. Today these figures don’t sound terribly impressive, but they were mighty impressive 40-years-ago. The owner says that this Gamma drives very nicely and that the odometer shows 83,000 kilometers, which is around 51,000 miles.

When it comes to Italian classics, this Lancia Gamma is something totally different from the normal offerings that we see in the market. A total of $15,000 has recently been spent on the car to bring it to the highest of standards. While the performance from the car might not be startling, it is still quite good, and unlike so many other Lancias, this one is a true 4-seater. It is a car that would give you that wonderful “involved” feeling that you experience with most Italian cars, and due to its relative rarity, it is a classic that would attract plenty of attention at a Coffee & Cars.


  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    Just last week, I came across a picture of this car in an online article, and after googling it, I found that there had been some really sharp variations on this body style. I wondered then, had it ever been imported into the USA, and now one turns up!! :-)

    Like 2
  2. e55

    Looks like a 2-door version of a previous generation Maserati Quattroporte.

    Like 0
  3. Sam61

    I thought it was a Subaru at first based on the rear view…nice find.

    Like 2
  4. LarryinMA

    This was on Bring A Trailer last week. Bid to $7400, but didn’t meet reserve.

    Like 2
    • LarryinMA

      That’s a tremendous drop from the $29,500 asking price when it was originally offered on ebay when it was in Rhode Island in early in 2018.

      Like 1
  5. scottymac

    Always loved this PininFarina styled car, as well as the Ferrari 400i and the Fiat 130 Coupe. The Lancia has engine problems, so make sure the timing belt is fresh, and cooling system is serviced.

    Like 0
  6. Martin Horrocks

    There are very few of these in USA, but parts are not easy even in EU. Nice-looking car. which drives very well, but whether I´d want to run one in the USA is debatable.

    The reputation for unreliability on these is based on the fact that they have a long history of going wrong. Cambelts break and head gaskets blow before we talk about electrical gremlins.

    Another Lancia where you wonder if the point was to lose as much money as humanly possible.

    Like 1
    • Blyndgesser

      If you want to lose even more money, I’d suggest a Maserati.

      Like 0
    • scottymac

      Have seen aircooled VW and 914 owners, even some Corvair owners switching to Subie power. Wonder if one would squeeze in this chassis?

      Like 0
    • Pier Paolo

      I am not aware of any reliability issues with these cars and I have came across many during the years in Italy. Most people talking about cars unfortunately never owned one of the kind they make comments about or they base their opinions on undocumented claims of others..

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      • Concinnity

        As an owner I can confirm that they are fairly reliable other than cooling system maladies leading quite quickly to blown headgaskets. And there is the well known cambelt problem.

        Like 0
  7. Concinnity

    I own one of these cars and the thing that is rarely mentioned is how well they drive, with a great combination of ride and handling that is vastly superior to the rival Alfa Romeo GTV, despite the Lancia being FWD. The steering in particular is equal to the best of anything else and the handling adjustability under throttle is like a Peugeot 405 or Honda Integra.
    The engines are turbine smooth without the offbeat exhaust note of an otherwise similar Subaru flat four but a very similar torque delivery with good torque off idle and a lovely revability. Without the Subaru -like exhaust note they seem smoother revving but that is probably an acoustic effect only.
    There is a good owner’s register for these cars and I’ve found most parts are still available, thanks to the internet and ebay. Series Ones are rare, but their carbed engines are easier to mantain than the S2 fuel injection versions.
    Many people have updated to S2 15 inch wheels with 60 series tires, but there is quite a wide variety of 17 inch wheels with the 5 x 108 stud pattern shared with Volvo, Ferrari and Taurus and JLR, to give a wider choice of performance tires, I have S80 Volvo wheels and 40 series Michelin Pilot Sport 4s on them.
    These cars are an odd mix of Lada/Yugo and Mercedes Benz build quality, when working on them, you can see the competing corporate philosophies rubbing up against each other with cost versus quality fighting it out as Fiat took over. As far as rust is concerned, I’ve found mine to rust less than any pre E30 BMW, far less than E3s, or E9s, or E21s
    I note that one of these turned up on Amazon’s ‘The Grand Tour’ with Capt Slow driving if you want to see what they look like in motion.
    Once driven, you’ll never forget what they are like. It is one of my cars that I will never sell.

    Like 3
  8. t-bone Bob


    Like 0

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