Ahh, rumors in the automotive world spread just about as fast as the rumor that the captain of the football team was kissing the head of the girls’ chess team under the bleachers at the homecoming dance… And we love ‘em. The latest rumor is an interesting one that actually has a fair amount of validity.
Lancia is one of the many companies under the protective umbrella of Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. and it loves to borrow its models from Chrysler, add a few small touches, and call it their own. One of the latest models to make the Lancia conversion was the Chrysler 300, which prances around Europe bearing the name “Lancia Thema” (image above). That’s not the rumor though, as we already know all about that.
The rumors being whispered are that Lancia really wants a full-size coupe for its European market and the only car available to possibly satisfy this itch is the Chrysler 300. Ask any custom coach builder and he will tell you that turning a four-door body into a two-door car is not as tough as you may think, but going the other direction is nearly impossible.
So, if Lancia decides to hack up the B-pillar on the 300, shorten the opening a little and slap two fewer doors on the 300, would this model make it to the U.S.? The two-door full size car essentially died with the downsizing of vehicles in the late-1970s, but a small niche market may be in order.
This also spawns the possibility of Chrysler finally satisfying its nostalgia buffs by taking the two-door blueprints that Lancia would create and turn that into a two-door Charger. The pair of extra doors have always been a thorn in the side of Charger buffs, so Chrysler could breathe a little extra life into both models – not like the 300 needs more life, but extra sales can’t hurt – by offering two-door models of each.
This is certainly an interesting rumor to ponder and we are more likely to see pigs fly before we see a two-door 300 and Charger, but we’re telling you there’s a chance.
We often talk about how mergers and shared productions have really made the automotive world do a complete 180 in recent years. A great example of this is back in the late-1980s when Ferrari and Maserati were direct competitors and no one could have ever imagined that in 1999, Ferrari would have complete ownership of Maserati. Then, Maserati ended up being split between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in 2005.
What would be good for a barrel of laughs would be to travel to the mid-1980s and tell Enzo Ferrari that in 2012 his company would be manufacturing a pair of engines for Maserati. Well, all irony aside, that is exactly what’s happening, but also included in this €50 million ($62 million) production deal are Alfa Romeo and Lancia. All four of these models are under the only ownership umbrella that rivals Volkswagen AG, Fiat S.p.A., which is what allows them to share information without fear of losing sales to one another.
The first engine to hit the market will likely be a twin-turbo V-6 powerhouse that will crank out up to 450 ponies. The second engine to come from this development sharing will be a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) V-8 model that will likely crest the 500-horsepower mark. Alfa Romeo has had plans for a replacement for its sports sedan, the 159, but a proper engine hasn’t been developed for it yet. These engines would certainly fit the need and give it a whopping 200- to 300-horsepower increase over the 2011 159’s 3.2-liter V-6.
For Lancia, we really can’t see a model that these engines are suited for, as Lancia currently only has a rebadged Chrysler 200 in its lineup. Maserati can slap either of these engines in any of its cars and it would look right at home, as long as all “Ferrari” badges are stripped. Then again, the automotive world could pay back Maserati by forcing it to slap a “by Ferrari” tag on it like the 1989 through 1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati that we all know and “love.”
We’ll keep you updated on this as more information becomes available.
Now we can officially put all the talk to rest. The New Lancia Stratos, a one-off supercar that was built and designed by Pininfarina as a tribute vehicle to the legendary car of the 70’s, will remain a one-off. And we have Ferrari to thank - or blame - for that.
After the immense popularity generated by the New Stratos when it was unveiled a year ago, there was talk that Pininfarina was looking into building a limited run of the supercar for interested customers. But since the project hinged on Ferrari allowing the company to use the 430 Scuderia as the car’s platform, they had to receive the green light from the Italian automaker to proceed with the program.
Unfortunately, those folks from Ferrari have refused to allow a limited production run of the New Stratos with Ferrari CEO Dr. Amadeo Felisa seemingly content with the one-off project that was built for Michael Stoschek.
We’re pretty disappointed to see the Stratos’ renaissance end even before it actually began, but if there’s a silver lining in all of this, it’s that instead of the New Stratos, Koscheck and his people have set their sights on building a modern version of another old-time classic: the Renault Alpine A110 Berlinette. Talks with the French automaker are already in progress so we’re crossing our fingers that the Alpine will come back to our lives the way the New Stratos should have.
Could it be that the almighty Ferrari is getting a case of envy over the success and popularity of one of its sub-brands? Of course, the Prancing Horse won’t admit it, but how else do you explain their decision to prevent the Lancia’s New Stratos from becoming a limited production supercar after the one-off version of Michael Stoscheck proved to be a box-office success?
As you know by now, the New Stratos comes with plenty of Ferrari mechanicals and building one would need the green light of Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo. But according to numerous reports, Ferrari is not allowing its suppliers to get involved in the production of a limited number of New Stratos supercars despite the growing number of interest surrounding it.
With supplier’s hands tied behind their backs, specifically that of Pininfarina, the people behind the entire New Stratos project are trying to come up with a Plan B to get the entire project up and running again while looking at other potential partners.
Granted, we’re not sure exactly how they’re going to be able to do it without ruffling some feathers in Maranello, but given that the New Stratos already has over 40 prospective customers signed up, we really don’t see why Ferrari is suddenly a little hesitant in backing the project.
Perhaps they’re afraid that they might gain a competitor for their cars? It’s certainly looking that way.
Until now, we have only seen a few photos here and there of the one-off Lancia Stratos, but those haven’t showed many details on the car. That being said, we have been hoping that the car would be made into a production machine, and there have even been rumors that it would happen, but for now, we are unsure.
This Lancia is a one-off build for a rich German businessman by Pininfarina. There haven’t been any new details released on the car, but this is the first time we have seen large photos. Under the hood is a 483-horsepower motor that came from the Ferrari 430. The body is carbon fiber and the chassis is shorter than the 430’s. The only questions that we still have revolve around the interior and the performance figures.
After seeing the photos of this car, we can only hope that the company decides to put a few into production. We would be happy with 25 examples.
Lanicas have always been an interesting car brand. The rally-dominating Fulvia, Stratos HF, and Delta HF, made Lancia a brand to envy. But its car’s ability to rust while still in the showroom made Lancias a nightmare to own.
Lancia retreated back to its home market in Italy, and paid its penance by staying out of most other major markets for more than a decade (they haven’t been sold officially in the U.S. since 1982.) Now it looks like Lancia got it’s act together, and it is back to building cars with seriously sexy looks and even decent quality. In fact, its parent company Fiat was ready to send Lancia back out into the world with a reintroduction to the U.K. market in 2009. But the current economic climate has changed all that.
“Given the current global economic crisis, Fiat Auto has taken the decision to delay the reintroduction of the Lancia brand in right-hand-drive markets beyond 2009,” said Fiat in a statement. “Right now it would be ill-advised to commit to a date on any relaunch of Lancia in Britain.”
If Lancia was a success in the U.K., maybe Fiat would have even expanded the line to piggyback the cars on some ships with U.S.-bound Alfa Romeos. But that’s all a pipe dream considering that economic conditions have even stopped rumors of Alfa’s plans in the U.S. But we can still dream…
Automotive manufactorer has unvieled something new at the Geneva Auto Show- and it is not a car. Pictured above is the new Lancia logo as it appeared on the new Lancia Ypsilon supermini at the show. Lancia are cars that Europeans love to drive and with them being very fashion conscious people , I can see why Lancia would update their logo to something more fresh and modern. Lets hope they dont get out of hand and redesign it too much. Bellismo (...)