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Lancia Gamma Berlina (1975 - 1984)

Last updated 4 October 2013

 
3
Roomy, quick, charismatic, warbling flat-four is surprisingly potent, handling and ride are excellent
Tragic and well-documented unreliability and corrosion issues, unless you give it special treatment every time you use it, the engine is a ticking timebomb

Introduction

The Lancia Gamma is a microcosm for all that's good and bad about Italian cars of the 1970s. On one hand, it's a great-looking car, blessed with excellent handling and ride, and a nicely trimmed interior - but on the other, all that good work was undone by terrible unreliability (back in period), and less than stellar protection against corrosion (like so many other cars of the 1960s and '70s). As a classic car, the Gamma stacks up rather better, as most are now in the hands of caring, loving owners, and there are known fixes for its major mechanical maladies.

The Gamma was an interesting car with a fascinating and disjoined development programme that probably shaped the final outcome into the compromised product that it was. Originally conceived as part of a joint venture with Citroën that never bore fruit, the Gamma ended up being developed by Lancia alone. The Gamma drove well, but its undoing was its new flat-four – it leaked oil, overheated and snapped its cambelt for the daftests of reasons for good measure. And then, it rusted away. If you can see past the faults, there’s a great car trying to escape, but there are so few survivors now that few people will ever find out.

 

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