Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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Lancia could have ended as early as 1907 when founders Claudio Fogolin and Vincenzo Lancia, formerly of Fiat, experienced an accidental fire that resulted in the loss of their factory. Started November 1906, Lancia found its first success with the Alpha (1907–10), and subsequent models used Greek letters as their model names. The 1914 Theta is claimed to be the first European car with standardized electric lighting and starting. Vincenzo’s last car developed before his death was the Aprilia of 1937, which was the company’s mainstay until 1950. The Aurelia replaced that model that year, but financial difficulties forced Gianni Lancia, son of Vincenzo, to sell the company to Fiat in the 1950s.

The Flavia and Fulvia were 1960s models that helped establish Lancia in the postwar era as a manufacturer of sporting saloons. The first Lancia regarded as fully developed by Fiat, the Beta, appeared in 1972, but earned a reputation for rust; though Lancia still managed to carve a niche for itself in motorsport with vehicles such as the Stratos and Delta Integrale.

The company withdrew from right-hand-drive markets in 1994, citing poor sales, and its range of Fiat-based models has not been the most inspiring. It no longer fields a full range of cars in the early 21st century. With Fiat’s takeover of Chrysler, 2010s Lancias were twinned with Chrysler models, with Chryslers sold as Lancias in markets where the Italian brand is stronger, and vice versa. However, by 2014, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne announced that the brand would be trimmed to a single model, the Ypsilon, and be sold exclusively in Italy.

q.v. Autobianchi


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024