Rare Rides: A Lancia Scorpion From 1976, Regulation's Puppet
A pleasantly desinged Pininfarina body carves its way up the Amalfi coast in Italy. The sun shines down through the targa roof, highlighting your gold-rimmed aviators. Dropping a gear, you put all 120 mid-engine horsepower to use. The back of your car says MONTECARLO, and you’re winning.
But things in reality are a bit different, because this is America and we have regulations. I give you the Scorpion, by Lancia.
North America received Lancia’s Montecarlo model badged as the Scorpion, for 1976 and 1977. The Scorpion name was only for North America, as Lancia could not tread upon Chevrolet’s existing use for their
small and sporty gigantic coupe.
American emission regulations required replacement of the standard Montecarlo’s 2.0-liter engine with a 1.8-liter unit, which featured additional power-choking smog equipment. This combination resulted in an 80-horsepower power figure, down from the 120 in other-market models.
Exterior alterations were required for the US market, including big rubber impact bumpers.
There were also some sort of pop-up lamps.
All examples for North America featured a retractable targa roof, which surely remains water tight in all examples.
The interior of the Scorpion is in the style of “modern” late ’70s car design, with blocky shapes and angles that don’t make a lot of sense.
A rather unsuccessful run saw just 1,801 total examples of the Scorpion on the streets.
Though it remained a blip on the radar in the North American market, the Montecarlo would go on to a second generation elsewhere in the world. This second generation would form the basis for one of Lancia’s most important vehicles: the 037, which won the 1983 World Rally Championship.
This particular Scorpion was on eBay recently, listed as a fixer-upper. Though the original owner put 124,000 miles on the odometer between 1976 and 1983, there were 18 years of neglect afterward. The present owner had been slowly restoring the Scorpion since 2001 before life changes forced a sale.
A lucky buyer spent $5,100 on our regulatory Rare Ride.
[Images via eBay]
H/t to commenter TMA1, who pointed out a Scorpion listing a while back.
Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.
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- Theflyersfan This is before my era of really getting into cars, but I have to say that restored, this would be one absolutely stunning car. Post-fin era, sleek styling. I just have the dumbest of dumb questions. Obviously this doesn't have a/c. Looking at the climate controls, what do you do if you just want some cool fresh air, but keep the windows up, like in the rain? There's just heat and defrost. No vent. I guess you can turn the heat on and set the temp to low, but that seems kind of crazy. Just looks like one of those quirks and features of older cars that we don't have today!
- Rna65689660 Pfft…My ‘72 Spitfire door would open everytime I took a hard right! Was never a problem when the window was down and my arm was out.
- Kwik_Shift Love the boxy exterior. To me this is a real SUV. Adventure calls.
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- SCE to AUX Mustang sales have fallen by 2/3 since 2015. If the trend continues, by 2028 they'll be half again smaller. The Mustang is less than 3% of Ford's US sales.Kill it - I don't care - and by then, not many others will, either.A 64-year run for a nameplate is pretty good.