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Cars from your past! - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    map, I agree with your comment on the BRAT's handling. Much better than I would've expected. On pavement, dirt roads, or snow, it was always eager. On snow in particular it was quite a revelation. However, the torque-steer was awful in normal driving; really bad. And it always seemed to want a 5th gear that wasn't there.

    Mine was pretty well decked out, since I was able to specify what I wanted. It had a sunroof, sliding rear window, armrests, Pioneer speakers with a 8 track (oh boy!), and gold accented mags to compliment the golden brown paint. Also had a body colored aluminum canopy that was the same height as the roof, so it had a sleeker look. I felt pretty cool in that thing.

    In fact I was so cool that I once commuted 30 miles into Seattle, in a very lousy snow storm, only to find that the Coast Guard base I was stationed at was closed due to the weather... Then I got to drive 30 miles back home again. And enjoyed all of it!

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  3. #32
    Senior Member map's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was 170 miles from home at a mountain resort where we held a conference in Sunriver. Woke up Sunday and it'd snowed so hard the Brat's box was filled. It was over 100 miles of deep packed snow and ice on the roads. Even the snow plows were called off after midnight. I didn't mind the 5th gear as much as a barely adequate defroster... busted ice off the windshield wipers every 5 or 10 miles. But the little Brat got me out of the mountains... passed 3 or 4 vehicles coming the other way on a busy 4 lane highway in the first few miles, none for over 50.

    The little car drove like it was on rails in 4WD. I disassembled/packed all 8 CV joints and didn't really notice torque-steer after that... except in 2WD on gravel roads.

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  5. #33
    Member HalfPint's Avatar
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    A couple of relevant cars (sorry for the crappy old photos):

    IMG_5157cr.jpg
    Fiat1Crop2000.jpg

    I wish I still had the Lancia, it was a wonderful car. In the mid '90's I had a new wife and young kids, and we were restoring an old farm house. The Lancia needed work and was sitting outside. A young guy who knew what it was and really wanted it approached me - I gave it to him and he put some work into it. Last I knew he was taking it to local shows and treating it well, so I'm glad I did - but I'd still like to have it.

    Other interesting cars:
    1966 Mustang 289 4V
    1961 Austin Healey Sprite
    1886 Escort GT
    1990 Mustang GT
    1994 Nissan Altima SE (Torsen up front!)
    1999 Hyundai Accent GT
    2006 KIA Spectra5
    2016 Fiesta ST
    Completely stock 2016 500 Abarth, Rhino & Nero

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  7. #34
    Amministratore Fiat500USA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HalfPint View Post
    A couple of relevant cars (sorry for the crappy old photos):

    IMG_5157cr.jpg
    Fiat1Crop2000.jpg

    I wish I still had the Lancia, it was a wonderful car. In the mid '90's I had a new wife and young kids, and we were restoring an old farm house. The Lancia needed work and was sitting outside. A young guy who knew what it was and really wanted it approached me - I gave it to him and he put some work into it. Last I knew he was taking it to local shows and treating it well, so I'm glad I did - but I'd still like to have it.

    Other interesting cars:
    1966 Mustang 289 4V
    1961 Austin Healey Sprite
    1886 Escort GT
    1990 Mustang GT
    1994 Nissan Altima SE (Torsen up front!)
    1999 Hyundai Accent GT
    2006 KIA Spectra5
    2016 Fiesta ST
    Lanicas are such neat cars. Super interesting and a company that contributed so much to the automotive world.

    At the shop we worked at one of the customers had a Zagato I always remember how good the leather smelled in that car. We did a lot of Lancias at that shop. I remember all the relays on the older cars. I still have a relay chart in my repair manual collection and was amazed how thick the factory repair manual was on that car.

    Back then in the 1980s I was called Chris Lancia because I had a Scorpion that was well known in the local car enthusiast circle (the shop owner was called Tony Fiat, LOL). The Scorpion was really like a bigger, more luxurious X1/9 and after all day working on a Beta, I was was relieved the Scorpion was a lot simpler to work on than a full blown Lancia like a Beta. I know the old time Lancia owners looked down on the Betas (and all the newer Lancias for that matter. Really a downer when you were in the Lancia club with those types.), but they were beefier than the Fiats of the era. GM copied the Lancia Beta and made their X-cars/ Citation chassis cars. Even in the 90s, I got a kick how GM still used the Lancia type suspension in their cars.

    My friend Tony just recommended me to a Delta owner who needs their timing belt changed and a full service. I reluctantly said no. Love the cars, but I don't want to relive the days of working on them for a living. But... maybe as a hobby car it wouldn't be too bad...??
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  8. #35
    Member HalfPint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post
    Lanicas are such neat cars. Super interesting and a company that contributed so much to the automotive world.

    At the shop we worked at one of the customers had a Zagato I always remember how good the leather smelled in that car. We did a lot of Lancias at that shop. I remember all the relays on the older cars. I still have a relay chart in my repair manual collection and was amazed how thick the factory repair manual was on that car.

    Back then in the 1980s I was called Chris Lancia because I had a Scorpion that was well known in the local car enthusiast circle (the shop owner was called Tony Fiat, LOL). The Scorpion was really like a bigger, more luxurious X1/9 and after all day working on a Beta, I was was relieved the Scorpion was a lot simpler to work on than a full blown Lancia like a Beta. I know the old time Lancia owners looked down on the Betas (and all the newer Lancias for that matter. Really a downer when you were in the Lancia club with those types.), but they were beefier than the Fiats of the era. GM copied the Lancia Beta and made their X-cars/ Citation chassis cars. Even in the 90s, I got a kick how GM still used the Lancia type suspension in their cars.

    My friend Tony just recommended me to a Delta owner who needs their timing belt changed and a full service. I reluctantly said no. Love the cars, but I don't want to relive the days of working on them for a living. But... maybe as a hobby car it wouldn't be too bad...??
    Real Lancia or not the Beta was a heck of a car, and just as innovative in design as previous Lancias. The subframe mounted engine/transaxle & and suspension became the standard design of larger fwd cars (just as the 128 drivetrain became the standard of small cars). The twin lateral arm IRS was also the standard for fwd rear suspensions. The last version of the Beta Zagato had the EFI Fiat 2000cc with a close ratio 5spd and was a great balance of ride and handling - I ran 195 Pirelli P6's. Unfortunately the stitching was failing on the leather seats, and the aux shaft seal leaked badly. I never had the time to drop the whole subframe to access that seal. I car I'm just retiring (and forgot to put on my list) is a 1999 Mercury Cougar, which has the same subframe design up front and rear suspension design - it also handles very well.

    When I tell people that Lancia was the most technologically innovative car company (and that VW ripped off the VR6 from them) I get looked at like I have 3 heads!

    I would have killed for a Scorpion. The only one I ever saw was quite rough and not derivable at the time. It belonged to a friend at the time - I snatched up a girl he liked and married her, and we kinda lost touch so I don't know what happened to it.

    I think there is a hint of Lancia in the 500 Abarth - It's innovative (MultiAir Turbo) and very much a package that is more than the sum of the parts. BTW, my name is also Chris....
    Completely stock 2016 500 Abarth, Rhino & Nero

  9. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkL View Post
    After my 1969 FIAT 850 Sport Coupe, I bought a new 1979 Subaru BRAT. Loved that thing. It was the only car we ever leased, and at the end of the lease we had to let it go. Our first child was on her way and the BRAT wasn't a 3 person car! (Unless one of us could be persuaded to ride in the seats in the rear truck bed...) Same color as this one. However, I asked the dealer not to apply the body stripes on ours. I thought it looked much better without:

    Attachment 35442
    My best friend had a 74 Capri (V6), and later a '79 Brat exactly the same brown color and white painted wheels. IIRC the '79 had dual headlights, not quads? I really liked that thing at the time.
    Completely stock 2016 500 Abarth, Rhino & Nero

  10. #37
    Enthusiastically Slow Lifetime Member Ando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HalfPint View Post
    ... VW ripped off the VR6 from them...
    Cool! Learn something new every day 'round here. I'd love to own an Italian car with a VR6 exhaust note.

  11. #38
    Member HalfPint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ando View Post
    Cool! Learn something new every day 'round here. I'd love to own an Italian car with a VR6 exhaust note.
    The Lancia design was a V4 of course. What VW ripped off was the 15deg narrow-angle V, OHC layout - extending it 2 more cylinders was not exactly difficult.
    Completely stock 2016 500 Abarth, Rhino & Nero

  12. #39
    Enthusiastically Slow Lifetime Member Ando's Avatar
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    Oh duh! It was your avatar for a bit. I even thought to myself "I didn't know VW made a VR4". Hah!

  13. #40
    Member HalfPint's Avatar
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    Found my old service manual:

    IMG_5161cwb.jpg
    Last edited by HalfPint; 12-03-2019 at 08:33 PM.
    Completely stock 2016 500 Abarth, Rhino & Nero

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