“The italian Mercedes”, that’s what Lancia was referred to, when their cars were still known for their superior build quality and state-of-the-art technology.
Here’s one of the last representatives of this bygone era, a Lancia 2000, and it becomes clear at first sight why pundits speak respectfully of these cars even after 45 years. It is such a well-proportioned vehicle, spacious and elegant, it certainly doesn’t need to fear the comparison with contamporaneous German executive sedans.
According to its current owner, who bought the Lancia in 2013, the car runs surprisingly smooth and quiet, giving the impression of a much more modern vehicle. Of course, this is due to the well-maintained 2 litre flat-four engine with 92 kW (125 hp) of power and its 5-speed manual gearbox.
Other features which were nowhere near standard in the early 1970s include power steering and power windows front and rear, or a radio with speakers in all doors and power antenna. With its beautiful wooden steering wheel, veneer dashboard, pinstripe velour seats, tinted windows and rear window curtains, this Lancia indeed has most of what was on the options’ list at the time.
The car is said to have been owned by a lawyer in Milano. It is technically sound and even wears most of its original paint. The Lancia has already been registered in Germany as a historic vehicle.
Just like the Flavia on which it was based, the Lancia 2000 targeted buyers who obviously had a bit of money to spend, and were happy to spend it on a car that was both traditional and innovative at the same time. It has come to be known as “the last real Lancia”, as it was developed just before the brand was taken over by Fiat in 1969, even though it only entered the market in 1971.
The 2000 was available in two body styles, a 4-door sedan as well as a Pininfarina-styled 2-door coupé. The 2.0 litre engine was offered in a carburetted version with a power output of 85 kW (115 hp) as well as a fuel-injected one which delivered 92 kW (125 hp). The failure-prone Kugelfischer mechanical injection of the predecessor was replaced by a more reliable, electronic system by Bosch.
Generally, the Lancia 2000 cars were of a far better build quality than the later models developed under Fiat, and didn’t suffer from the type of corrosion problem the Lancia Beta and Gamma were notorious for. A total of 14.379 examples were built before the production run was halted in 1974, with unsold stocks lasting into 1975.