The Lancia Flavia was a medium-sized luxury car first launched at the Turin Motor Show in 1960 with a 1500 cc engine. The car was manufactured by Lancia and by 1961 would be introduced into all major European markets. The Cabriolet and Coupe versions, developed by Pininfarina, were also soon introduced along with a few specials like the Zagato Coupe, which was quite eye catching.
The performance of the Lancia Flavia improved consistently for the next decade as the manufacturing company kept increasing the size of the engine until it reached its final mark of 2000 cc. The Lancia Flavia continued to be produced until 1970, when was updated and the name changed a year later. The car is quite famous in Italy and in several other parts of Europe and was one of the best sellers since its launch date. Today the car is considered a classic with many collectors clamouring to own a Flavia.
Developed towards the end of the 1950s by Professor Fessina the car was first introduced in the U.K. in 1961. Initially the car was only available as a four-door saloon with an aluminum boxer 1.5 L engine, front suspension with unequal length wishbones, front wheel drive, Dunlop disc brakes on all the wheels and other great features.
This original version of the Lancia Flavia was quite popular and soon a two-door Coupe version was introduced. This version was designed by Pininfarina on a short platform. A two-door convertible was also built by Vignale and Zagato. The sports version of the car had twin carburetors for more power and delivered around 100 hp, however, this version of the car was known to have an engine that was quite difficult to maintain and tune.
Over the years several more developments and changes were made and many new models would be introduced into the marketplace. The engine was enlarged to 1.8 L, and a manual gearbox with five speed was added along with a mechanical injection version that used the Kugelfischer system. At the end of the 1960s when Fiat had taken over Lancia, several changes were made to the Flavia line beginning with the discontinuation of the Zagato and Vignale versions.
The saloon and coupe versions of the Lancia Flavia also received new bodywork and the new version was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1969. The capacity of the engine was increased to 2.0 L and it was made available with injection or carburetor along with a four or five speed gearbox. The 2.0 L models were only made with the bodies of the revised Lancia Sedan and Pininfarina Coupe.
The New Lancia 2000
In 1971 a new version of the Flavia was introduced, dubbed the Lancia 2000. The main features of this new model were the Girling disc brakes in place of the Dunlop, which had been used in the earlier versions of the car. Other changes included stainless steel bumpers and, for the models that used fuel injection, a D-jetronic Analog Electrovalve system for fuel injection. These models were produced in 1973 and they remained in stock until about 1975. The Lancia 2000 was only made with the bodies of the Lancia Sedan and the Pininfarina Coupe.
The quality of the ride and the build of these versions were superb and the car was known to be very durable considering the fact that the performance specifications of the car had not been excellent. The engineering of the car was so meticulous that it made the maintenance quite simple and easy. The only drawback was that spare parts were quite scarce and therefore pretty expensive.
When Motor magazine tested the 1500 cc car in 1961 it found its top speed to be 92.6 mph, with the car reaching 0 to 60 mph in just 18.6 seconds. The fuel consumption of the car was 30 miles per gallon. In Britain at the time the car cost 1,499 pounds plus 688 in taxes.
Changes were being made to the car continuously and, in 1967, the engine was expanded to 1800 cc. Autocar tested the four-door version of the Flavia and recorded the top speed to be 103 mph, with the car reaching 0 to 60 mph in 15 seconds. The fuel consumption was recorded to be 30 miles per gallon. According to these statistics, the car had been placed behind BMW 1800 TI, its main rival at the time, as far as performance was concerned, however, in terms of fuel consumption the Flavia came out ahead. While the smoothness of the engine was quite good the car did not have much punch at low speeds. According to the magazine the overall performance was both pleasing and deceptive as the smoothness of the ride often meant one didn’t realize how fast they were really going. Eventually the Lancia Flavia was priced out of the UK market, losing ground to BMW and other lower priced models.