distinguished by its elegance but reliability

The Lancia Gamma has historical significance in the history of the brand, as it is the first flagship produced by the car manufacturer Lancia under the leadership of Fiat.

Shortly before the start of the project, in 1969, Lancia went under the banner of Fiat. At the same time, the manufacturer signed a cooperation agreement with Citroën. The Italian giant announced on October 25, 1968 that it would own 15% of Citroen.

Contract with Citroen

The ambitious plan resulting from this agreement should have led Lancia and Citroen to increase cooperation. At the start of the project, the Lancia Gamma and Citroen CX were to share a number of elements, including the French hydropneumatic suspension.

But from the first months of cooperation, the cultural differences between the Italians and the French are brutally felt.

Citroën finally released the CX in 1974, and Lancia had to consider the Gamma’s bottom line, ditching the sophisticated Citroën suspension for more classic solutions.

The coupe was not lacking in elegance.

Adapted engines

At the beginning of development, Lancia dreamed of buying V6s from the group. In the end, Gamma had to settle for a four-cylinder boxer made entirely of light alloy, characterized by a displacement of two liters, equipped with a two-barrel carburetor, capable of delivering about 140 CV and distinguished. a maximum torque of over 21 Kgm at just 3000 rpm.

Later, a version with a displacement reduced to 2000cc was developed, in order to circumvent the tax regulations of the time in Italy, which heavily penalized engines with a displacement of more than two litres, but still had around 120bhp.

Controversial style

On the design side, Lancia entrusts the sedan design to Pininfarina. It was later inspired by the aerodynamic work done on his BMC 1800 sedan, a study in styling.

The Italian coachbuilder is studying two different solutions, namely a two-volume sedan and a three-volume coupe. After its release, the sedan was heavily criticized by the brand’s traditional customers.

At the same time, the French with CX or the English with Rover 3500 manage to look original and elegant. The coupe was not initially planned. But in the face of the reactions of Pininfarina paintings, the brand decides to sell it next to the sedan.

The coupe deserved a V6, it settles for a four-cylinder.jpg

The coupe deserved a V6, it settles for a four-cylinder.jpg

Late arrival

Gamma’s pregnancy will take a long time, accumulating delays. A refusal to cooperate with Citroën, and then various problems, would delay the presentation until the 1976 Geneva Motor Show.. Initial disappointment is normal. The revolutionary sedan is no longer modern. The competition has not stopped yet.

While shields are more common, massive bumpers are still metal. As for the rear, it looks unnecessarily painful.

A promising coupe

Unlike the sedan, the coupe had a more assertive front end and folding rubber bumpers. The taillights are thin and linear, and the overall design may be reminiscent of the Ferrari 412, developed by the same wagon manufacturer.

We find filiation in the cutting of windows. Inside, Lancia is quick to criticize for its use of low-end materials and dated presentation. Unfortunately, the tableau is very complete.

Gamma will be a bitter failure.

Gamma will be a bitter failure.

A real failure

Lancia produced just over 15,000 sedans and less than 7,000 coupes. Therefore, it was a bitter commercial failure for several reasons. First, the delay in design due to the sudden interruption of the rapprochement with Citroën, which forced Lancia to start from scratch.

The V6 that customers have come to expect is reduced to just four cylinders, but above all, the car suffers from incredible reliability. To say Gamma has credibility issues would be an understatement.

The engine suffered a sudden breakdown related to the distribution. Even worse, turning the flywheel while stationary can cause the belt to jump, as well as drive the pump and therefore break the engine clean and simple. Soon, Gamma’s reputation is made.

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