Re: Forgotten cars of the last 35 years
Areader: We did that one two years ago (Renault Five with a boot). But it was great to see it again. Martin Buckley is writing a twin-volume book (for Palawan) about it and Richard Heseltine is doing another feature on it in C&C arguing it was the first true small saloon and the spiritial forefather to the booted Polo, Seat Cordobo and the Ford Fiesta saloon.
Batty: The road test reviews mentioned failures such as fouled fuel filter, rubber window trim that leaked, fraying upholstery, carpet coming free of its moorings, dead alternatators, doors not shutting properly, inconsistent panel gaps,inconsistent noises (i.e. two supposedly identical models making different noises). This doesn´t cover the rust problems we mentioned. One period article described a HPE owner who had to replace the front wings after a year and whose a-pillar base was rusting. The very first road tests of the Beta showed photos of rusting sunroof edges and other such horrors.
I think if built as well as they were designed the Lancias might have been good but plainly there was some form of industrial death wish at the factories, of which the rusting steel was but one albeit big part. If we pull on this little thread and see where it goes we find that in the 70s Italy was undergoing an low-grade civil war according to Tobias Jones in the "The Dark Heart of Italy." The poor Lancia was one of the smaller victims in the cross-fire.
Your point about the Trevi being a truly orphaned car is memorable: designed as a Citroen, built by Lancia with Fiat bits and turned into a saloon worse than the hatch it was based on. Superb!