A “Fanalone” in San Francisco.
This Fulvia is an original, unrestored, one owner car with less than 20k miles. My dad bought it new in 1969 and it spent most of its life in Switzerland. Early on my dad raced it in snow slaloms and street races around Switzerland, then it spent a few decades doing occasional weekend outings over Swiss mountain passes, and it recently relocated to California where we enjoy it up and down Highway 1.
A little Fulvia HF history: After quitting Formula 1 racing in 1955, Lancia got back into motorsports in 1965 with a focus on Rally racing. They entered rallying with a lightweight HF version of their Lancia Fulvia Coupe and were immediately successful. With the exception of 1970, Fulvias won the Italian Rally Championship every year from 1965 to 1973 and they became Rally World Champions in 1972.
Over the course its racing career, Lancia continuously improved the Fulvia HF with better suspensions, lighter bodies, and larger engines. By 1969, the HF had gained a tuned up 1.6 liter engine, aluminum body parts, and distinctive, large inner headlights that gave it the nickname Fanalone. Fanalones raced as prototypes until August 1969, when the model received FIA homologation. Lancia entered Fanalones in the 1970 rally season running against cars like the Porsche 911, Renault Alpine, BMW 2002, and Alfa Romeo GTV. Lancia won their first race at the end of the 1970 season and they became world champions in 1972, winning the famous Rally Monte-Carlo for the first time that year. Lancia would move on to become the most successful rally racing brand of all time, winning 11 championships by the time they quit rally racing in 1993. Lancia followed the Fulvia with the Stratos, 037, and Delta rally cars.
To qualify for international rally racing, a car maker had to build and sell a certain number of production versions of the rally model (I’ve read that the FIA required a minimum of 500 cars to be made). Lancia ended up making 1,258 Fanalones in 1969 and 1970. Ours is #377 and apparently one of just 10 currently in the US.
Even after 48 years, the Fulvia is a pleasure to drive. It’s light, crisp, and well balanced, it has great sounds and visibility, and enough power to have fun.