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Lancia Montecarlo

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Lancia Montecarlo
Lancia Montecarlo
Aka Lancia Beta Montecarlo
Lancia Scorpion
Production 1975-1982
Manufacturer Lancia
Parent company Fiat Group
Layout RMR layout
Engine 1995 cc straight-4
1756 cc straight-4 (Scorpion)
Wheelbase 2300mm
Length 3810mm-3965mm
Width 1690mm-1696mm
Height 1190mm
Weight 970-1075kg
Class Sports car
Related Lancia 037
Lancia Beta
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door coupé

The Lancia Montecarlo is a mid-engined sports car which was produced by Lancia in Italy from 1975 to 1982.

Cars from the first series, which were produced from 1975 to 1978, were known as Lancia Beta Montecarlos and those from the second series, produced from 1979 to 1982, simply as Lancia Montecarlos. In both cases Montecarlo was spelled as one word, unlike Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco. Both series were offered in Coupé and Spider versions, the latter featuring a unique roll-back manually operated targa style convertible top. A low-power version of the Spider, known as the Lancia Scorpion, was sold in the United States during 1976 and 1977.

Based on the prototype Abarth 030, the Montecarlo 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.

Total production amounted to 3,835 first series Beta Montecarlos, 1,940 second series Montecarlos and 1,801 US market Scorpions.

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 Montecarlo in a number of ways. It had a smaller engine (1756 cc) because the 1995 cc unit in the Montecarlo 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 (vs. 120 in the Montecarlo). The Scorpion had different bumpers to meet American crash tests. The Scorpion had semi pop-up headlights and the 1976s had solid rear buttresses (Montecarlos had glass inserts except for very early models). All Scorpions featured the convertible top. Unlike the Montecarlo, 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 springs used to meet the US height requirements, a lack of caster, and bump steer.

The engine noise in the interior of the car was sometimes criticized; Road & Track listing noise as one of their biggest complaints about the car, with 'little joy listening to the wheeze of an emission equipment-stifled 4-banger', and Motor calling the engine noise a 'raucous cacophony'.

Harsh shifting is common and increases as the bushings wear (a common trait in mid-engined cars). The rear crossmember is a design flaw; the metal used was too thin and is susceptible to corrosion and eventual failure, although stronger replacement crossmembers are available from after market companies.

The S1 Montecarlos and Scorpions suffered from overly boosted brakes, which caused the fronts to lock up easily in the wet. These were often criticised in reviews; for example Road & Track complained of 'severe front locking and 37% fade' and Motor that they found 'it disconcertingly easy to lock up the front wheels when approaching corners'.

As a result production was suspended in 1978 while the braking problems were resolved by some engineering changes including removing the brake servo. The S2 Montecarlo returned to the market in 1980 and introduced Marelli electronic ignition, which improved torque and the 0-60 speed (from 10 secs to 8.6).

Rust is an issue for the Scorpion and Montecarlo. Unless kept in a dry environment active prevention is required to fend off rust. The firewall and wheel wells are common locations for rust. Rusted floor pans are a major cause of early Scorpion/Montecarlo demise.

Any car with the handling and rust 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 < Template:Convert/miTemplate:Convert/test/A. There is an active Scorpion and Montecarlo community (see links).


The Montecarlo was a successful turbocharged turbocharged Group 5 racer and was used by Lancia to win the FIA's World Championship for Makes in 1980 and again in 1981. Hans Heyer also won the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in 1980 at the wheel of a Montecarlo.

A Group 5 Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo competing in the 1980 World Championship for Makes.


The Montecarlo was the basis for Lancia's successful Group B rally car the Lancia 037. The 037 retains the center section from the Montecarlo but little else. Its supercharged engine, while still mid-ship, is mounted longitudinally rather than transversely as it is in the Montecarlo.

In Popular Culture

External links

1980s-Present Lancia Modern Timeline
« Previous Lancia car timeline, 1980s-present -- Lancia modern timeline
Type 1980s 1990s 2000s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
City car Autobianchi Y10 or Lancia Y 10
Supermini Ypsilon
Small family car Delta Delta
Large family car Beta Prisma Dedra Lybra
Executive car Gamma Thema Kappa Thesis
Mini MPV Musa
Large MPV Zeta Phedra
Racing car Lancia 037 Delta S4

1907-1918: Alfa-12HP · Alfa-24HP · Dialfa-18HP · Beta-15/20HP · Delta-20/30HP · Epsilon · Eta-30/50HP · Gamma-20HP · Theta-35HP · Zeta-12/15HP
1918-1945: Aprilia · Ardea · Ardennes · Artena · Astura · Augusta · Belna · Dilambda · Kappa · Lambda · Trikappa
1945-1980: Appia · Aurelia · Beta · D20 · D23 · D24 · D25 · D50 · Flaminia · Flavia · Fulvia · Gamma · Montecarlo · Stratos HF
1980-2000: Dedra · Delta · Delta S4 · Kappa · LC1 · LC2 · Lybra · Prisma · Thema · Trevi · Y10 · Ypsilon · Zeta · 037 (Group B)
Current models: Musa · Phedra · Thesis · Ypsilon
Concept models: Marcia · Medusa · Megagamma · Orca · Sibilo

Vincenzo Lancia · Corporate website · A brand of the Fiat group