Vincenzo Lancia worked at Fiat before setting up his own factory in Turin in 1906. Lancia quickly built up a reputation for advanced engineering, producing vee-engines and independent suspension long before other carmakers emulated it. Lancia also had the first production five-speed gearbox, in 1948, and was a widespread early adopter of front-wheel drive.
This approach was laudable, but it proved less than cost effective and, with deepening financial trouble, Fiat stepped in during 1969. The legacy of a reputation damaged by rusty Betas saw it leave the UK market in 1994, but the badge continues elsewhere on luxury cars with Fiat underpinnings. But for how much longer?