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Lancia at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. Image by Lancia.

Lancia at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show
Lancia will preview the exciting new Fulvia at Frankfurt, amongst other things.
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Lancia have just released details of their stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and for a change it really is one to look forward to. Modern and cutting edge, whilst harking back to the 60s and 70s, the 1500m2 stand will feature all current Lancia models. The Ypsilon area is styled as a chic Italian town with a fountain and first floor terrace area looking out over the stand. Two glass cases containing luxury items intermingled with parts of the car, and a third case contains a complete car. There is a 'Lancia boutique' selling the latest accessories, and also in this area is a Lybra Emblema Station Wagon, the top of the range Lybra estate.

The other area of the stand will be of most interest however. Standing on a travertine marble floor are two cars: a special edition Phedra 'Promenade' and a Thesis 'Promenade'. But these are not what Lancia enthusiasts the world over have been holding their breath for. The star of the show is suspended over a lake in the middle of the stand - the 21st century interpretation of the Lancia Fulvia Coupé.

Taking the original car as its inspiration, the new Fulvia prototype has been created 'as though it had been left free to evolve without interruption'. Unlike the slightly less sympathetic modern interpretations of the Beetle and Mini, this car is remarkably similar to the original, with almost identical dimensions, although it does have a slightly wider track. The body is finished in a striking ivory colour obtained by superimposing three layers of paint. This contrasts well with the 'Testa di moro' leather lining the passenger compartment. The interior has a seventies feel with parts reminiscent of the iridescent controls on hi-fi systems of the period. The Tanganika Frisé wood that covers the central facia insert and tunnel bridge is silky in appearance with a metallic sheen.

The interior features two bucket seats, again designed as an evolution of the originals with a wrap-around horseshoe shaped back. The dashboard and instrumentation is nautically themed, with pearlescent instruments and a three-spoke steering wheel containing an air bag. There is a luggage compartment under the parcel shelf. The car also comes complete with a set of bags produced specially for the show car by Trussardi.

All body panels are aluminium to achieve a low weight of only 990 kg. Combined with a low drag factor, the car manages to reach a top speed of 132mph. 0 to 62mph is achieved in 8.6 seconds. The powerplant is a 4-cylinder 1.8 16v engine with variable valve timing. Suspension consists of a McPherson strut layout at the front with coaxial coil springs and lower wishbones. The rear has longitudinal arms and an anti-roll bar. The brakes have ABS, but this is the only area where technical gadgetry has impinged on the original simplistic Fulvia brief. The car is shod with Pirelli P-Zero Nero tyres.

At first glance the car looks gorgeous - a successful modern interpretation of a past classic. If Lancia listen to any criticisms and comments they're bound to receive at Frankfurt from the true Lancisti, they have every opportunity to produce a true modern sports car which will appeal to Lancia fans old and new alike. The car appears to be in a near-final state, and I'd be surprised if there wasn't enough interest at the show for the Fulvia to make it to production.

The Car Enthusiast will be travelling to the 2003 Frankfurt Show in September so look out for our review linked from the main Motor Shows page.

Adam Jefferson - 30 Aug 2003

2003 Lancia Fulvia Coupe show car. Image by Lancia.2003 Lancia Fulvia Coupe show car. Image by Lancia.   

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2003 Lancia Ypsilon. Image by ItaliaSpeed.

2003 Lancia Fulvia Coupe show car. Image by Lancia.

2003 Lancia Fulvia Coupe show car. Image by Lancia.

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