Lancia Monte Carlo

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Lancia Monte Carlo
Aka: Lancia Scorpion
Production: 1975-1981
Manufacturer: Lancia
Class: Sports car
Related: Lancia 037
Lancia Beta
Body Style: 2-door convertible
2-door coupé

The Lancia Monte Carlo was a mid-engined sports car sold in the 1970s. A low-power version, the Scorpion, was sold in the United States at the same time. Spider versions of the Montecarlo featured a unique roll-back manually operated targa style convertible top.

Based on the prototype Abarth 030, the car was known as the X1/8 (later the X1/20) while in development, and was intended to be a Fiat-branded 'big brother' to the Fiat X1/9. It had a similar mid-engined layout, with a larger engine and roomier interior.

The car was passed to Lancia, and was constructed by Pininfarina, the original design company, in Turin, Italy. Production lasted from 1975 through 1979 for the first series(S1), with a second version(S2) launched in 1980. Production of the Monte Carlo ended in 1981.

Lancia Scorpion

The American market Lancia Scorpion was sold in 1976 and 1977, and was modified to meet American emissions, lighting and crash test requirements. The car is so called because the name Monte Carlo was already used in America by Chevrolet.

The Scorpion differed from the Monte Carlo in a number of ways. It had a smaller engine (1756 cc) because the 1995 cc unit in the Monte Carlo did not pass U.S. emissions standards yet. Between the decrease in engine size and the addition of smog equipment, the Scorpion came with 81 HP (50% less than the Monte Carlo). The Scorpion had different bumpers to meet American crash tests. The Scorpion had semi pop-up headlights and the 1976s had solid rear buttresses (Monte Carlos had glass inserts except for very early models). All Scorpions featured the convertible top. Unlike the Monte Carlo, only one production run of Scorpions was made. A total of 1,801 were manufactured in 1976 and sold as model year 1976 and 1977(1396 and 405 respectively).


The Scorpion suffered from several different issues. Between the taller, softer springs used to meet the US height requirements, a lack of caster leading to numb steering, and significant bump steer, a stock Scorpion handles poorly at best. The Monte Carlo suffered from the same problems except the springs, which made for a better handling car.

The engine noise in the interior of the car was often criticized. The firewall was a single, uninsulated layer of sheet metal. The shifting is "clunky" but effective. The crossmember is a major design flaw. Being made of too thin of metal, and seemingly extra susceptible to corrosion, they commonly break. Thankfully, stronger replacement crossmembers are now available. The S1 Monte Carlos and Scorpions suffered from overly boosted brakes, which caused the fronts to lock up easily in the wet. This was fix for the S2 Monte Carlos.

Above all else, rust is the number one problem facing these cars. A rust free Monte Carlo or Scorpion is truly a remarkable find.

For every problem with the cars, there is a documented solution. Replacement panels are being produced. Power improvements are many and well documented. As much as 450 hp has been produced from variations this engine in race configurations.

Any car with these problems solved, should be worth considerably more than a stock car. The exception to this is one in showroom stock condition, with very few miles (it is common to find one with <75,000 miles).


The Monte Carlo was a successful turbocharged Group 5 racer, winning the 1980 Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft with Hans Heyer.

1973 Lancia Turbo GP5


External links

Lancia S.p.A.

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