One of the last of the Lancias to arrive on US shores was the Beta Zagato, a handsome, fun little number that offers that unique Italian feel along with a stylish open-air body style built by Pininfarina and modified by Zagato. This 1981 example is a rare survivor here in the US, offering a unique taste of Italy at a bargain price. These were actually surprisingly expensive little cars when they were new, which shouldn''t be a surprise given the amount of hand labor that went into each one, not to mention shipping them across Italy a few times during the production cycle. However, the end result is a stylish, handsome car that has aged well and looks like it should cost a lot more than it does. The Lancia name might be unfamiliar to Americans, but many will remember these from the late-70s when you almost never saw a driver who wasn''t smiling behind the wheel. Finished in bright red paint, it certainly looks the part of an exotic Italian import, with the styling hiding the car''s dimensions and giving it a substantial look. The targa top was the ''70s idea of safety, offering a removable top over the driver''s compartment and a folding rear window, either or both of which could be opened depending on conditions. The paint is in good condition and given the survival rate of low-priced Italian cars of the era, it''s surprisingly clean and complete. The black trim looks great with no major UV damage and it still proudly wears all its original badges, so folks will have some fun trying to figure it out at red lights. The black cloth interior is a welcome change from the usual hot, sticky vinyl. The rear seats are probably best for packages or small children, but they''re there if needed. Instrumentation is fairly complete, with large, easy-to-read gauges framed by a steering wheel that would look at home in a Ferrari. The tops seal up well enough for this to be a car you can drive anywhere, anytime and the trunk is remarkably useful and includes a full-sized spare on a matching alloy wheel. The 1995 cc DOHC four cylinder engine got Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection in 1981, adding horsepower and improving acceleration. Nobody will accuse it of being fast, but like most Italian cars, it''s wonderfully balanced so you can run it hard without feeling like you''re endangering pedestrians. It''s torquey down low and impressively smooth. The suspension is supple yet tossable, 4-wheel disc brakes are confidence-inspiring, and the engine does make a wonderful exhaust note that only the Italians seem to have perfected. Underneath, it looks to have been undercoated since new, which is always reassuring, and with recent 185/65/14 Pirelli radials on factory alloys it looks right. A fun alternative to an Alfa Romeo or Fiat Spider, the Lancia is also relatively rare. If your blood runs a little hot, perhaps a bright red Italian is what you''ve been looking for. Call today! This vehicle is located in our Charlotte showroom. For more information, please call (704) 598-2130 or toll free (866) 542-8392.