Lancia Fulvia Coupe Unique Cars and Parts

11 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Lancia Fulvia Coupe Unique Cars and Parts отключены
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Lancia Fulvia Coupe

Lancia Fulvia Coupe

Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts

Our Rating: 3

Introduction

The Fulvia saloon had similar chunky lines to the Flavia, but in true Lancia tradition its engine was a narrow-angle vee-4, canted over at 45 degrees to the left and having an overhead camshaft for each set of valves. The engine was mounted ahead of the front wheels, which were driven through the same robust gearbox as was used on the 1,800 c.c. Flavia.

The coupe version of the Fulvia was 6in. shorter than the saloon and was built on a 5in. shorter wheelbase. It weighed 1 cwt less, but at 18·6cwt unladen it was no stripling; the cylinder bore of the coupe engine was 4mm larger, giving a capacity of 1,216 c.c, instead of 1091 c,c. Power output was 80 b.h.p. net at 6,000 r.p.m, (9 bhp more than the saloon) and peak torque came high in the rev range at 4,000 r.p.m.

Despite this high specific output and sporting engine characteristics, the coupe was as docile as you could wish for; yet when the driver wanted to hurry it sang up to peak revs with remarkable smoothness and a surprising turn of speed for such a small machine.

Two twin-choke Solex carburettors were fitted, and the best technique when starting from cold was to use full rich mixture and leave the accelerator alone. Owners have told us the engine will usually start on the first attempt (provided it is in top tune), however to the un-initiated the loud hiss from the strangled induction can cause unwaranted concern.

The engine would warm quickly so that almost immediately the choke lever could be pushed fully back, and it was not normally needed again throughout the day’s use of the car. According to owners the oil pressure gauge would exceed 70 p.s.i. (top calibration) at all normal running speeds. Suddenly opening the throttles from really low engine speeds would cause a gulp and splutter, but at all other times pick-up was smooth and free from hesitation.

Owners have also told us that, to about 4,000 r.p.m. there is not a great deal of punch, but by 4,5OO r.p.m. the engine will begin to give of its best and from then on, to the red warning marked between 6,000 and 6,200 r.p.m. the slight exhaust and camshaft noise will rise in a smooth hum.

Reviewing acceleration tests performed by various motoring journals of the time, the consensus was that the Fulvia Coupe would go slightly beyond its limit to 6,5OO r.p.m. A typically soft Lancia clutch restricted full-throttle standing starts, most motoring scribes claiming times could have been easily improved with more positive bite. During sprint getaways the clutch was known to slip up to 20 m.p.h. and full-throttle gear changes also caused some delay.

Thankfully on the road this behaviour was barely noticed, and the smooth take-up was a characteristic to be preferred on a touring car. Despite the difficulties of balancing a vee-4 engine, the power unit of the Fulvia was completely free from vibration periods and drivers were encouraged to use all the rev range regularly for maximum performance. Although there was a rather wide gap between 2nd and 3rd gears, the long, rigid gear lever sprouting out of the bulkhead directly behind the gearbox made changing very positive. Movements up and down between the gears were long, but the gate was narrow, with spring loading towards top and third. Some road testers reported that they occasionally had difficulty in selecting first at rest, but a second dab on the clutch would always settle any difficulty.

Even though the gearbox and final drive were near the floorboards, and all gears were indirect, there was no noticeable transmission noise.

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Fuel consumption figures recorded at steady speeds were excellent, with a surprising 58 m.p.g. at 30 m.p.h. Even at 70 m.p.h. 36·1 m.p.g. was measured, giving an estimated (DIN) overall consumption of nearly 33 m.p.g. The whole of the Lancia range had been developed around radial-ply tyres, and the Fulvia was shod with Michelin X. All aspects of the road behaviour reached a very high standard, and it is extremely difficult to fault the Fulvia in this respect.

Most testers could not detect any front wheel drive effects at all, and there was no change in attitude between power-on and power-off in the middle of a corner.

Perhaps the really outstanding feature of the Fulvia Coupe was its ultra-light and positive steering. From lock to lock, 4·2 turns were needed on a 35ft turning circle, but there was no impression of low gearing and the little car always followed the chosen line perfectly and with fine, quick response. Somehow Lancia had practically eliminated the characteristic front wheel drive under steer (decades before others could make such a claim) and the cornering of the Fulvia was as near neutral as made no difference.


At high cornering speeds there was some roll, but the tyres would stay firmly stuck to the road, regardless.

Like other Lancias, the Fulvia had an excellent main road ride, gliding smoothly and quietly over minor bumps; ridges and waves. Road testers all noted the car felt impressively solid. Corrugations were completely smoothed out at about 60 m.p.h. but long-pitch waves on a test circuit caused the front suspension to bottom at only 40 m.p.h.

The shorter-wheelbase of the coupe lost something to the saloon in this respect. Really the Fulvia coupe was little more than a 2+2, the back seat was small with restricted headroom. When tall people moved their front seats back, the rear legroom practically disappeared, so for family motoring it was a matter of compromising on the space available.

At the price at which the Fulvia was sold, we think many buyers of the time probably expected leather seats and a carpeted floor, but instead the coupe had pvc seats and moulded rubber mats — at least the tools were neatly stowed inside the spare wheel. And there was no compromise in a French-polished wooden panel containing a large circular speedometer and rev counter with fuel level, oil pressure and temperature gauges between them. A red warning lamp was built into the fuel gauge to warn when the level was getting low.

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