A while ago, our own Jim of Yu ran an article called “The Current, Sad State of Lancia”. Here’s where I take the opposing stand.
You see, I find the current Delta a magnificent exercise in over-doing the most with the least. With only a hatchback Fiat platform to work with, Lancia managed to bring out something that resembles a chocolate truffle on four wheels. Never mind the fact that the Delta name had a glorious, boxy, aggressively un-aerodynamic shape to stand for; Lancia had positioned itself as a luxury maker above Alfa Romeo, let alone Fiat, and had to Cadillacizise itself. Or is there a dash of Lincoln there somewhere? Well, unless you take offense at me name-dropping here with only the faintest idea of actual American luxury, do continue.
It’s a bold look. Bold. The car is all about being bold. If the original Delta was a 16-bit bulldog, the current Delta is a scowling animal with things to prove. It’s not content with being second-rate; it’s a triple-album of spectacularly overwrought Italian progressive rock destined for the bargain bin. The Focus looks astonishingly common next to it.
The Delta isn’t for sale new over here anymore. You can find examples with little more than test-driving mileage, but due to the Fiat/Alfa Romeo importer being shuffled around a year or so ago, Lancia effectively got shelved and you can’t buy a brand new Delta. There was a long period of inactiveness on the Lancia front earlier here; I think Themas, Dedras and later Kappas were available until the late ’90s, then withered away. Fiat has been present here always, and so has Alfa Romeo, but there’s always been something about Lancia that’s made it a fickle presence. La donna e mobile and all that jazz.
And still, I admire the Delta’s bravery. Every now and then, I used to leaf through the Auto&Design magazine in our university library; it always seemed to be full of Italian design house sketches slowly being edged closer to reality. The Delta comes straight from those pages, with a few leafs of L’Uomo Vogue thrown in the mix. It’s a tasteful graphite brown, and those Maserati-referencing taillights are bold scrapes of blood on those equine flanks.
The 18″ Toora alloy wheels are a smidgen too common for the Lancia, but it wears them well. Yeah, those are that big, as the bulbous Lancia dwarfs everything at its feet.
And for that exclusive European flair, the Delta is a 1.6-litre turbodiesel one with a manual gearbox. The manufacturer claims 4,9 litres per 100km, which is a reading I would believe.
For 20k, it’s an expensive car still at this point. Give it a few years, and while the 60 000 km odo reading in the ad (it’s the same car) might increase as the residual value soars down, I’m sure a Lancia will have a constant amount of things wrong with it at every point in its lifetime.
[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]