Beta Brothers: 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato and 1977 Lancia Beta HPE

Ah the Lancia Beta. Fodder for the petrolhead who will point out that everything which has four wheels and Italian is crankier than a two year old who missed a meal. This was the car that brought Lancia to their knees and would turn out to be a big factor in their pullout from both the US and UK markets. However, should this car be maligned as much as it is? Maybe it's about time for a second look. Let's check out two rather different Beta models, starting off with this red Zagato for sale in Massachusetts.

Year: 1981
Model: Beta Zagato
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 84,000 mi
Price: Reserve auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS:1981 Lancia Beta Zagato

1981 Lancia Zagato Targa Convertible. Unsually excellent condition exterior, interior and mechanically. I purchased the car from the original owner about 5 years ago and have put on less than 2000 miles. Always garaged either by me or previous owner. Have all receipts, owners manual, repair manual, window sticker.

Exterior: Sporty, original Rosso exterior. No accidents, no dents. Rubber bumpers are clean and don't sag over front turn signals. Paint is original, shiny and presents extremely well. Hairline cracks around gas cap- but not chipped. Chrome is clean and not pitted. Glass is clean and not scratched. Targa top fits tightly and is not cracked or chipped. Vinyl convertible top is original, in excellent condition and fits tight - plastic window is cloudy and I haven't tried to polish it. All latches for both the targa top and rear convertible top work perfectly. The original Lancia sticker is on the plastic rear window. I have the original convertible top boot, too. Wheels are in great condition with virtually no curb rash and original "L" center caps are not cracked. Tires all match and have plenty of tread. Rear taillights are clear and not cracked. Rear emblems are original. No missing parts or trim. No rust other than very small, area on the rocker panel right behind the rear wheels (see photos) otherwise absolutely rust free. Overall, the exterior presents beautifully.

Interior: Black leather. Very, very clean with the only issue being the seams coming apart and some color wear on the driver's seat which is easily repaired. Other than that, the upholstery is clean and not ripped, the door panels are clean and, again, not ripped or torn. Everything works - intermittent wipers, A/C blows cold and ventilation system ie: fan, defrost, heat - works perfectly. AM/FM stereo cassette is original and works great as well as the electric antenna. All gauges work, though fuel gage bounces around when 1/2 full. Power windows work, but occasionally blow fuses (hand crank is visible in photos). Carpet is perfect original and has drivers side carpeted mat. Digital clock works. All interior lights and dash lights work. Rubber gaskets around doors are pliant and no leaks at all. Door jambs are clean and no rust. No missing parts or trim.

Mechanical: Drives great. Timing belt was replaced by previous owner. I had a center muffler custom made when I bought the car. Rear muffler is fine. New battery. Brakes, suspension, work fine. Transmission shifts cleanly (as clean as a FWD car can) and doesn't grind in any gear. Steering has great feedback and no issues there. Engine is well maintained and fuel injection system works fine. Check out the photos to see the clean engine compartment. Clear plastic fuse box cover is cracked, but still there. New radiator fan switch installed within the last two years and that works fine. Trunk is perfect with original spare wheel, jack, tool kit and spotless carpeting. I have a made to order California Car cover as well.

This Lancia Zagato is a unique and extremely fun car to drive especially with the targa roof off and the rear top down. You've got room for kids in the backseat and the trunk has decent space. There were 2400 Zagatos imported to the US between 1979 and 1982. The 81's and 82's had fuel injection and slightly increased horsepower. If you are familiar with this model and Betas in general, most survivors are in poor condition cosmetically and mechanically. I'm selling because I have several cars and my storage situation is in limbo. Please give me a call with any questions or if you would like additional photos. Josh - 617-510-0338.

Listing locally as well. Buyer arranges pickup and shipping. Payment by Cashier's Check.

On Aug-05-13 at 09:44:29 PDT, seller added the following information: Took the Lancia out for a few test drives this weekend and the engine is stumbling at low revs. Since the car had been in storage for awhile could be due to stale gas and/or the fuel injection system. Please call with any questions about the drivability. 617-510-0338.

For spending at least the last five years of its live in New England, it’s amazing the tin worm hasn’t set in more on the bodywork. This is also an original car, which makes it stand out from the crowd of refurbished Betas that still exist. It’s rare that you see a Lancia on US roads, let alone a Beta. Less than 3,000 of these Zagatos were ever brought to these shores and fewer still are on the road. This red targa offers the chance to amaze and astound at your next Italian car meet up or car show. If the mechanical issues are not too involved, $5,000 to $7,000 would be a realistic range for this example.

Next up, we have the Zagato’s long-roofed sibling, the HPE, or High Performance Estate. Few automakers have had a crack at the shooting brake model over the years, but Lancia, ever daring, decided to have a go in the 1970s. Offering a bit more practicality to the Beta formula, there were fewer than 1,000 of these two-door estates brought to the US. This HPE for sale in North Carolina is a little more rough around the edges than the Zagato above, but is complete and a prime candidate for a bit of a refresh if one desires.

Year: 1977
Model: Beta HPE
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 33,800 mi
Price: No reserve auction, starting bid $4,500


Buyer to pay all shipping costs. Can be picked up at my location.

1977 Lancia Beta HPE in very good original condition. One of only a few survivors to be found. I have owned it for over 2 years and have really enjoyed driving it. I have owned a Coupe and a Berlinas and can say the HPE is the more desirable and fun to drive. Even today it appears stylish in design. A real eye catcher. I had the timing belt and bearing replaced as well as a new fuel pump. The engine runs very strong and does not smoke or use oil. AC is cold and transmission and clutch work flawlessly. It has less than 34000 miles and retains the original paint which needs a good buffing but is presentable as is. There are several small dings and some scratches which have been painted over poorly. Also, surface rust was removed from pillar on drivers side and repainted along with left front fender. The car has never been wrecked just some small dings. I have found no rust to speak of other than some surface spots.

Interior is original leather and looks very good. Only one small wear spot on drivers seat. The car was in storage for over 16 years thus the low miles and condition. With new paint and head liner the car would show well. It does leak around the windshield if driven in rain. I purchased it to drive and have enjoyed it. Due to medical problems I can no longer drive it without pain. If you are reading this I do not need to tell you how rare the HPE is. There were only just over 400 imported to the US. Has clean North Carolina title. Email me with any questions. Car is for sale locally and I reserve the right to end auction early.

I looked for an HPE for five years before I found this one. When was the last time you saw an HPE in this quality, original condition for sale? Includes original shop manual. Buyer to pay all shipping costs. I will assist in loading. No international buyers. Will ship to US buyers only. $500.00 deposit required in 24 hours of end of sale. Balance to be paid in three days or less.

While they are rare, at $4,500, we may be close to the maximum value of an HPE in this condition. It seems this one is mechanically sound and while it wears the original paint, a respray wouldn’t hurt the appearance, along with some refreshed trim, if you could source such parts. For someone seeking Italian flair with practicality, there are few choices out there if you are stateside. With a little bit of time, effort and money, this could certainly be made into one sweet looking HPE.


3 thoughts on “Beta Brothers: 1981 Lancia Beta Zagato and 1977 Lancia Beta HPE”

  1. I owned a standard Lancia Beta Coupe, it was, at first a very nice car. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the worst car I have ever owned, costing me more headaches than it was worth. I finally sold it for a major loss but, to me, it was a gain. I replaced it with a Saab 99 and it was a wonderful car. I had two more before the sports car urge came upon me again. This time it was British. I now own a Mazda MX5 Touring model with a retractable hardtop and I am happy as can be. It’s all that it’s supposed to be.

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