The UK has its fair share of classic cars that are seen on the road, but some are rarer than others. One of the rarest classic cars in the UK is the Lancia Beta and its derivatives. According to an article from the Telegraph, there are only around 15 Lancia Beta Berlinas left in the world. We’re looking into the history of the Beta to see how it was designed.
The idea for the Beta came after Fiat took over Lancia in 1969. Sergio Camuffo was tasked with developing a new model, so he assembled a team of engineers. The team had a target of creating the car by the end of 1972. The short time frame meant the engineers needed to minimise production costs.
After sourcing a reliable Fiat engine, the team built the body around it. The basic design ended up being a DOHC engine, five-speed gearbox, rack and pinion steering and fully independent suspension. MacPherson struts were used for the rear suspension. This proved to be a unique design, but Lancia never patented it. The suspension system inspired other car manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s.
The company picked Beta as the name because it represented a new beginning. It was also a homage to founder Vincenzo Lancia, who utilised letters of the Greek alphabet for his early cars. Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta had been used.
It didn’t take long for the Beta to be adapted into different versions. The most well known was the four-door berlina that came with fastback styling. Optional engine choices were 1400, 1600 and 1800. The 1974 version featured alloy wheels, electric windows and a sunroof.
The next version to come out was the Trevi, a Beta that had been reworked by Pininfarina. It featured a new dashboard layout designed by Mario Bellini. Other versions included the Coupe, Zagota and HPE.
The Lancia Beta might be a rare sight on UK roads, but it will be remembered as a practical and stylish classic car.