In the late 1970s Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo & Saab conspired to create a joint platform for executive class sedans. The end product was called the Type Four and featured transverse front-engine front-drive setup to be shared between the Lancia Thema, Saab 9000, Fiat Croma, and Alfa Romeo 164. Each version offered their own spin on things, the Alfa was pretty, Saab was funky, Fiat was crappy, and the Lancia was insanely expensive to fix. Find this 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32 offered for $4,500 with a Swiss title (every gear is neutral?!) located in Renton, WA via hemmings.com. Tip from BarbaraPaddles.
Before you accuse me of simply echoing stereotypes about unreliable and expensive to maintain Italian cars, you need to take a look at the details on this on this crimson beauty -- its got a wing that pops out of the trunk at speed. The Rube Goldberg contraption that allows the wing to extend into attack position is the least of your concerns once you understand what lurks under the hood.
The Thema 8.32 (8 for number of cylinders and 32 for valves) is one of
the stranger ways to get the engine from a Ferrari 308/Mondial in your garage. The 2.9 liter V8 under the hood was built specifically for the Lancia by
Ferrari, but uses a cross-plane crankshaft instead of the typical
Ferrari flat-plane crankshaft. In Lancia specification it pushes out 215 horsepower and 210
ft-lbs of torque, all the time sounding great despite the cross-plane crank.
The interior features all the classic 80s Italian flair you'd expect, with leather seats, wood (style?) dash and a few big round gauges that feature Ferrari-esque fonts and colors. This 8.32 (what a strange thing to call a car) features a 5-speed manual gearbox and will get you to 60mph in about 7 seconds quick for a late 80s sedan, but nothing special today.
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