by Jacques Limpens,
July '99.
Flavia experiences I by Jacques
Technical stuff by Brian
Recollections by Brian
Flavia mainpage by Huib

As I saw my former contribution to the Viva-Lancia site about the Fulvia is more than a year old, I want to update you all about my experiences with this extraordinary Lancia type.

At this moment I have two Flavia's: a 1963 Pininfarina coupe and a 1967 Milleotto berlina. Both cars have an 1800 cc engine and both had the single Solex carburettor. I converted the coupe to two double Solex carburettors, as on the Zagato Sport. If I had to take the decision again, I would not start again such a conversion. It has cost me much money and has not given any advantages, except from being very rare.

Although both cars have the same origin, there is in many aspects a difference between the two cars as day and night.

The coupe is an eye catcher of the first degree. Everywhere I come with this car I get compliments, although the car is not at all in a perfect state. People recognise this car as a real classic one, because of its perfect shapes. I feel the later Flavia 2000 coupe is more masculine, sturdier. The first series is more female, softer. Pininfarina is my favourite car designer, and I regard this car as one of his masterpieces.

The car is nice to drive. Good view, excellent road holding, but also rather comfortable for a coupe. The turning circle is rather large, but just acceptable. The steering is not too heavy. The engine has enough power and torque, even for the present everyday traffic. You don't have to drive her with high revs. The conversion to two carburettors gives her some more power, but not much. To get everything out of this conversion, I should have to replace the camshaft with one with a different timing, but I don't want to start on this. The car invites you to drive her pretty sporting and faster than allowed. My favourite drive is on a quiet dike with lots of bends. Even better: Alpine passes, but these are not nearby for me. The car is a very good compromise between comfort and sport.

I did use the coupe for small rallies (Tulpenrally style, but much smaller), but in fact the car is less apt for this. Because of the construction of the boxer engine, the exhaust pipes are very low and very near the road surface, which is a problem on not so good roads. And rallies are often on not so good roads…

Unfortunately my coupe was until now very unreliable. I have had a run of bad luck with this car. I think this has nothing to do with the design of this car, but everything with the history of his car, the bad maintenance by former owners and the way I tried to solve problems in the beginning. As a novice Lancisti I made some beginner errors. Let me give you therefore some advice, if you are not able to do repairs by yourself because of lack of experience / skills / knowledge / space to work / tools / any combination of above:

  • Inform on beforehand very thoroughly which service locations can maintain and repair your classic Lancia. Try to get experiences from other Lancisti, visit the locations to get an impression. Make a profound decision.
  • If made a decision for a service location: keep to it! Cases of emergency leaving aside, but everyone has its own way of working. You will get mad if one expert tells you something and you go to another for a second opinion. At the end you really don't know who you can believe.
  • Keep anyhow to a Lancia expert. Don't go ever to a general classic car "expert", however good he is on other classic cars. Lancia's are most of the time very special with other solutions than other classic cars.

Now about the Milleotto! What a difference this car is with the coupe. First of all, the car is very, very spacious. This is a 100% comfort car. Very smooth riding. Quiet. She is a real Granturismo: able to drive long hauls on a high average speed without fatiguing you. Excellent if you have to drive long hauls for your work. It is a splendid car for holidays with your family.

You are sitting quite high and she gives you a bit feeling of superiority above all those others, that are getting excited of the busy traffic and not be able to pass. You don't have the feeling you have to drive hard: just sit and relax. No problem others are driving faster and passing you. Mine has a front couch and a gear lever on the steering column, even more contributing to the feeling of space and comfort.

No disadvantages? Yes. The design of the car is not very extraordinary. She does not attract direct attention. Outsiders sometimes think at their first glance that she is a Lada. (Ouch!) She has no really exciting details. The steering is very heavy. (Power steering was an option. (Always try to buy a Milleotto with this option, or try to find a device from a gone car. You can install this option afterwards, but you have to convert the steering house too.) The turning cycle is large and the acceleration is poor, making the car less fit for city traffic.

This is a car you have to learn to appreciate for her technical refinement, not for her exciting appearance. I have used this car for more than a year as my "daily driver" and she gave me much satisfaction.

To be honest: my Milleotto is for sale now. Why? Well, besides my two Flavia's I also have two Fulvia's (a 1968 Berlina GT and a 1972 2nd series coupe) and my wife has a modern Lancia Dedra. I cannot put them all up in a good garage and it is a shame to leave these cars all in open air, especially not in the Dutch wet climate. So I had to choose. But every time I make a short ride in the Milleotto, I doubt whether I have made the right choice.

Jacques Limpens,
email: j.j.limpens@cepheus.nl
homepage https://www.cepheus.nl

Technical stuff by Brian
Recollections by Brian
Flavia experiences I by Jacques
Flavia mainpage by Huib
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