Lancia Gamma Coupe
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
When the Gamma arrived in 1977
it seemed something of a departure for the Italian company. Part of the answer to this lay in the fact that Lancia
was part of the Fiat group, and had been since 1969; the Lancia name had always had connotations of quality and prestige, it seemed a good idea for the new Fiat 'flagship' which replaced the old Fiat 130 to have the Lancia
The Gamma was typically Lancia
in design, using a light-alloy four-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels through a five-speed gearbox. In this case, however, a new flat-four, rather than the more customary V4, was used. The engine had a then large displacement for a four-cylinder of 2.5-litres, but the overhead-cam unit produced its maximum output of 140 bhp at 5400 rpm very smoothly.
This was sufficient to haul what was considered in Europe as a large car along at a top speed just short of 120 mph, helped no doubt by Pininfarina's aerodynamically
efficient design. The acceleration was also excellent, with 0-60 mph coming up in under 10 seconds, and the front-wheel drive layout and all round MacPherson strut suspension
enabled this performance to be used quite easily.
This was despite the system being set up to favour comfort rather than sheer performance - not surprising in a car in this category. With such a physically small engine, and front-wheel drive, the Gamma utilised space very well and was particularly roomy with good accommodation for four large adults. This was just one merit of the very attractive design from Pininfarina
as it also offered great protection to the occupants thanks to the strongly reinforced passenger compartment with an integral roll-over bar.
Stylistically, one of the strange points was the separate boot, while the coupe's sister sedan model was a fastback design. To our eyes, the rear quarter panel was excessively long, and we think the car would have looked much better had the doors been made a little longer - but then, who are we to critique a Pininfarina
design? Overall it was difficult to fault the coupe's specification or performance, both of which were as good as, or better than, the opposition. The fuel consumption, however, was one small fly in the ointment. Averaging out at an around 18 mpg, it was not one of the car's strong points.
Lancia Gamma Coupe Quick Specifications
Front mounted, four-cylinder, horizontally opposed. 102mm (4.01 in) bore x 76mm (2.992in) stroke 2484 cc (151.5cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 140bhp at 5400 rpm; maximum torque 153.31b ft at 3000rpm. Light-alloy cylinder block and heads. Compression ratio 9:1. 3 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder, operated by one overhead camshaft per bank of cylinders. 1 Weber 36 ADLD 150 carburettor.
Single dry plate clutch and five speed manual gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.462, 2nd 2.105, 3rd 1.458, 4th 1.129, 5th 0.921, reverse 3.214. Hypoid bevel final drive, ratio 3.7:1.
Front-independent by MacPherson struts, lower wishbones and anti-roll bar
, rear-independent by MacPherson struts, twin lower transverse links and anti-roll bar
Rack and pinion. Turns from lock to lock 3.
Discs front and rear. Dual hydraulic circuit. Servo assisted.
6.5in x 14 in. Tyres 185/70HR x 14in.
2 door, 4 seat. Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 100.59in; track-front 57. 09 in; rear - 56. 69 in; length 176.38in; width 68.11 in; height 52.36 in; weight 3012lb; turning circle 34. 7ft; fuel tank capacity 13.0 gals.
Maximum speed 118 mph; acceleration 0-60mph 9.8secs; fuel consumption approx. 18 mpg.