This car has a fairly colourful history. It was bought new by Isaac Agnew Cars (a dealership) in Ireland in 1968 a couple of weeks before the Circuit of Ireland Rally. They competed - the sales manager and a professional driver - and came fourth overall. Not a bad effort for a little car.
It then went through a few hands, purportedly owned by Pat Moss for a year or so - there is a P Moss on the books. Then it got used a lot in the Motoring News Rally Championship in England. It fell into disrepair in the seventies and was brought out here in the eighties
Mike Simcoe owned it for a few years and did a bit of work restoring it, including the subframes, some of the mechanicals and the trim. I bought it as a project with the shell on a trolley, about five years ago. I did all the bodywork and put it all together.
There was a fair bit of work involved - all the floors, the sills, under the seats. After I braced it all, there was pretty much just the A-pillar and a strip of metal down the centre of the car that was holding it all together.
“IT WAS JUST THE A-PILLAR AND A STRIP OF METAL DOWN THE CENTRE HOLDING IT TOGETHER”
I unpicked the front clip and repaired the engine bay, put patches in the quarter panels, all sorts of stuff. There was a lot of rust in it.
I’m a coachbuilder by trade and it took about four-years part-time – after work and on the weekends – to get the body done. Then I took the last six months off to assemble it full time. It was a bit of an effort to do it, but we got there in the end.
It was a relatively standard car when it was first rallied. They just added bonnet clips and a sump guard. It even had the standard steel wheels on it for the first event.
In 1970 it went back into the ownership of Lancia England and they fitted a roll cage and added Campagnolo wheels. When Mike had it, he added more bits that made it special, such as an upgraded roll cage, a Group 4 manifold and exhaust. He put HF 1.6 valves in it, and a set of competition camshafts.
The chassis is running 1.6 HF lower control arms, which gives it a bit of negative camber. All up Mike added gear that makes it a bit nicer, and potentially a good track car.
This model is a fair bit different to a standard Fulvia. The steel sheet metal of the body shell is a bit thinner, all the hang-on panels are aluminium, while the side and rear windows are plastic. Even the interior trim is a bit lighter – there’s not much of a back seat. The vinyl on the kick panels is just glued on, there’s no cardboard behind it. They lightened the wiring, for example by removing the interior door switch for the passenger side – you don’t need that! And the seats are different, with more bolstering.
Cutting and shaping new panel patches was part of the task.
As any experienced restorer will tell you, it’s all about the prep.
It’s Italian – of course it has to be painted red..
Chris mentioned there was more than the odd bit of rust.
That willing narrow-angle V4 looks way too good to hide away.
There’s one Campagnolo wheel that’s seen better days..
Having the skills means you get to have all the fun, right?
It’s about now you start to think this might actually get finished one day.
Just a few little things, like the drivetrain and front end, to go.
The engine is a 1300, running an electric fuel pump, twin Weber carburettors and a four-speed transmission. The front suspension is independent, while the rear is a pretty rudimentary live axle on leaf springs,
It’s an interesting car to drive – pretty peaky and it likes to rev. Not much happens below 3500rpm. The Lancia is good in the hills, very light and nimble. It makes my old Volvo Amazon feel like a Cadillac! It sits on the road well, there’s no body roll and it goes around corners like it’s on rails. It revs well and it’s a lot of fun.
Was it worth taking the time off for? Probably. At least I was able to work on it day to day and keep a train of thought, which made the process quicker. I’m not sure what the long-term future holds for it, but I can see a couple of track days coming up…
ENGINE 1.3lt narrow-angle V-four
POWER & TORQUE 65kW @ 6000rpm 116Nm @5000rpm
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual
SUSPENSION Front: Ind. transverse leaf-spring, lower wishbone. Rear: Live-axle, leaf springs, tube shocks
BRAKES discs front and rear