Junkyard Find: 1978 Lancia Beta

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 lancia beta

The turnover of inventory at self-service junkyards near major West Coast ports is extremely quick, what with the hunger of Chinese industry for scrap steel; some yards keep vehicles for just a month or two before crushing them. This steel-company-owned yard in Oakland, California, gets some interesting machinery, but a Lancia Beta? I can’t recall the last time I saw a Beta in any condition, but Volvo parts hunter David ran across this ’78 while seeking parts for his 240.

What would have led an American car buyer in 1978 to pay $8,803, about a grand more than a new Datsun 280Z and 500 bucks less than a new BMW 320i, for a notoriously rust-prone Italian orphan with just 86 horsepower and front-wheel-drive?

Speaking of rust, you don’t often see this sort of thing on California cars (unless they live within salt-spray range of the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco). According to David, who shot these photos for us, “The A pillars are shot through so badly that the windshield popped.”

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  • Rust-MyEnemy Rust-MyEnemy on Sep 13, 2011

    In the '80s, if you had a Beta HPE, you were my absolute hero. I'm better now.

  • And003 And003 on Apr 06, 2012

    I wonder if those A-pillars can be fixed. If the body shell, window glass and related accessories were salvageable, could this be turned into a tuner car?

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Ford is near #1 in recalls in North America. Another numb-nut in the C-Suite is an attempt to avoid responsibility.Instead of spending money on another layer of mis-management, how about spending the money on the vehicles!!"STOP THE HURT""STOP THE PAIN""I DON"T WANT MY CAR SPENDING MORE TIME AT THE DEALERSHIP AGAIN"
  • Another So the United States invaded and killed Kaddaffi just so Fiat could buy Chrysler. And now Peugeot is buying out Fiat. Soon will China buy out Peugeot? Did the US not care about their critical industry that they willingly give it away even if a nice neat little war is needed to do so?
  • Dale Houston At home on a Level 2 charger. Charging at home is EVs secret weapon, for those who can charge at home. I still have to visit a gas staton roughly monthly for one or the other of our Mazdas and that process sucks.I have not used a Supercharger in over a year, but will this summer when I am taking a road trip. It's been fine, but slower than pumping gas. Best to time it with meals.I have not used an off-brand commercial charger yet.
  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)