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Innovation like only few car manufacturers can possibly dream up, stunning Pininfarina design, boxer engine, Italian flair, deep velour interior, true GT capabilities, funky colour choices. What more could one possibly require?

Yet the Lancia Gamma seems to have always been hated by many classic car enthusiasts. Of course this is probably largely due to the poor reputation the Gamma series quickly gained due to poor build quality and hopeless reliability. However, I for one can’t deny that I’ve always been strangely attracted to the beautiful Lancia Gamma Coupé. Clearly my good friend and colleague Søren is too, as can be seen from his reaction to meeting an early example at the iconic Arne Jacobsen petrol station in Denmark last summer: Lancia Gamma Coupé: The First Under Fiat’s Rule. Read his story for some history on the model, and I won’t bore you by repeating it here.

But regardless of how Søren and I may feel, fact is that the Gamma has remained a budget classic car for what seems to be forever. However, is it just me, or have prices suddenly shot up over the last couple of years? – If not so much for the quirky saloon, then certainly for the elegant coupé. Has the Gamma Coupé finally come of age? I think it might very well have – and it’s about time too! Mind you, to me at least, it still seems like you’re getting an awful lot of stylish seventies wedge for your buck. Perhaps best then, to buy now before prices continue further north…

The LHD Gamma we’ve found here is from 1978 and thus a fairly late Series 1 car. It’s also the bigger 2.5-litre version (still carbureted as it’s a Series 1) pushing out 140hp and heaps of low-down torque. But what makes this one really interesting is that it’s claimed by the selling dealer to be a 1 owner car with a mere 43.000 km on the clock (equating to only 27.000 miles). They go on to say that it’s totally rust free with the exception of one minor bubble in the driver’s door, and that all panels have good and straight gaps. It certainly presents very original with the exception of a set of later Gamma Series 2 alloy wheels, and the dark red paint is both quite rare for the Gamma, but also in my opinion a very flattering colour for the sharp Pininfarina lines. The very seventies velour interior looks flawless and goes a long way to back up the low mileage. But most important of all with a Gamma, the dealer insists that it’s also in mechanical perfect condition and that it drives great. Reassuringly they tell us that the vulnerable timing belt has been changed regularly. Here’s a few pictures from the advert:

 

The Gamma is for sale with a German dealer just a bit west of Stuttgart in the south of Germany. Interestingly, they’re asking Euro 9.871 which at the current exchange rate equates to £ 8.650. Admitted, just 5 years ago, it would have been utterly unthinkable to ask that much for a Gamma, but with their recent price hike and considering the condition, low mileage and not least single ownership, the price almost seems on the cheap side in todays market. I certainly struggle to see how you will find a more stylish and stand-out youngtimer for that money – if of course the condition of the Gamma really checks out to be as good as claimed, once either you or a specialist has properly inspected the car. For more information, visit the full advert here: 1978 Lancia Gamma 2500 Coupé

 

With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek@viaretro.co.uk

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13 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk
    That’s a lot of style and elegance for the money, when you look at alternatives in today’s market. Like most saloon-derived coupes, much better looking than it’s saloon counterpart. Not sure that it suits red so much; the silver/grey sets the car’s lines off much better, imo. An interesting alternative to that other under-rated big Italian coupe, the Fiat 130, though these are no longer available at quite such bargain prices (though still by no means expensive).
    Other, non-Italian, alternatives in my mind would include the Jaguar XJC (again, more expensive, or at least the ones on carandclassic are, and just as unreliable), and a bunch of Germans – the BMW 6 series, the MB 230/250/280CE (one of the few classic MBs still at reasonable prices) or even the Opel Commodore B GS/E and Peugeot 504 Coupe…I’d have any of these (except the Jag) in my mahoosive dream garage…
    No doubt there are others (any Japanese alternatives, Anders, Dave?), but I have to say though that none of the non-Italian cars I’ve mentioned match the Gamma (or the 130) for elegance (the 504 runs them close) – I like them all, but the Gamma and 130 have a delicacy of line the others don’t. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a Gamma Coupe, so rarity definitely on it’s side. If I had to pick one, I think it’d be the 130, as long as the vivid orange velour seats have been changed…
    Reply
  2. Claus Ebberfeld
    The admiration for the Gamma Coupé runs right across the editorial office here at ViaRETRO: Let me confess too! However I always found the lines rather colour sensitive and like Tony don’t think the red does it any justice. However the beige one in Soren’s article, the brown shown here, or indeed hues of blues – then we’re talking!

    On the other hand I – as many others – have always shied away from the few opportunities when one was for sale. I don’t think it’s more than two years ago one was up for grabs at around 3.000 or 4.000 Euro here in Denmark. I can only be the terrible reputation keeping prices down as the design (to my eyes) is right up there with the Fiat 130 Coupé.

    But they never fail to excite me whenever I encounter one. I think the last time was at a hillclimb – and yes, the owner actually was a competitor in his road car! It survived and he drove home afterwards. Surely the reputation for fragility can’t be all justified, then?

    I’d say it would be well deserved if the Gamma Coupé has finally come of age.

    Reply
  3. Jesper Jensen
    Wasn’t it the generator being driven off the cambelt that was the issue? I think there has been made a fix to that? Another pulley to drive the generator and a shorter cambelt – or something like that?
    Reply
  4. Anders Bilidt
    Tony, I couldn’t possibly agree more. In terms of style, elegance and not least rarity, you will struggle to beat the Gamma Coupé within this budget. It’s funny though that you mention both the Fiat 130 Coupé and the Peugeot 504 Coupé… Starting in mid September last year and running throughout all of October, we ran a series of six Prime find of the Week looking at budget Grand Touring offerings from various countries. Not surprisingly I suppose, the 130 was the Italian contender while the 504 represented France. There also looked at Germany, UK, Sweden and of course Japan. You should try to seek those articles out in the achieves…
    There’s only one point where I disagree with you: MY Fiat 130 Coupé simply MUST have that fabulous orange velour interior! It just about defines the whole car and not least the era it was built for.

    Claus, I have to agree that oh-so-seventies brown colour does suit the Gamma better than the red. But at least the red here isn’t your typical “resale-red”, trying to ape that of a Ferrari! Furthermore this dark red is a rare colour for the Gamma, and as such I find it quite interesting.
    I’m impressed by your tale of a Gamma Coupé on a Historic Hillclimb event! That takes some proper cahoonas…

    Jesper, I do believe you’re right about a mod having been engineered for the weak generator drive. Needless to say, if this Gamma doesn’t already have this, it would probably be wise for the next owner to put it at the very top of his to-do list.
    I remember the silver Gamma 2500 Coupé Series 2 which I looked at in Hong Kong about five or six years ago did not have the mod. It was also only running on two to three cylinders, and as such I didn’t dare buy it. That was probably a wise decision, but sometimes I can’t help but wish I had simply taken the plunge…

    Reply
  5. Claus Ebberfeld
    Unfortunately the Gamma sort of worries me in general! Besides the design fault in the engine department it simply does not seem to be built the the standard you’d expect of such an expensive car – expensive then, that is, not now.

    In that aspect the Fiat130 Coupé seems much better, and I guess that is why it would almost always end higher up on my loooong list than the Gamma. However nowadays the Gamma does have an advantage in the price. Difficult one, that.

    Reply
  6. Claus Ebberfeld
    By the way: I absolutely agree with Anders regarding the interior colours of the 130 Coupé. It MUST be garish velours galore!

    In fact I saw one for sale with original purple velour. It was screaming. In a good way.

    Reply
  7. Tony Wawryk
    Anders, I had a look at the archive as prompted, and enjoyed the piece on the 130, as well as the 504 and particularly the Montecarlo – always liked those but mine would have to be a later car with the glass buttresses. I note that the white 130 you found (mine would have to be metallic blue, which I think enhances the car’s lines better than any other shade) had the velour orange upholstery – I’m sorry Anders, Claus, but it actually hurts my eyes, period or not. Ditto the garish green velour in the 504 featured…just no. Externally though, both are properly lovely cars.
    Reply
  8. Claus Ebberfeld
    Well, Jesper – I am sort of glad that we don’t agree as “my” Gamma Coupé absolutely MUST have velour. If everybody else goes for leather I can have my Gamma all for myself :-)
    Reply
  9. Anders Bilidt
    Claus, you’ll still be fighting me for that velour-equipped Gamma!
    After all, leather is too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer, and also doesn’t sum up the 70s-feel near as good as velour does…
    Reply

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