Lancia Beta Saloon 1300

1976 Lancia Beta Saloon 1300

Engine: 1297cc 4 cylinder, DOHC

Power: 82hp

Max Speed: 99mph (claimed)

0-60mph : 13.7 seconds

This was the car that effectively killed off Lancia in the UK. I had two of them. I bought the brown 1300 for a couple of hundred pounds from a student at the University in about 1986. It had an MOT, but some rust was starting to appear in the wings. It had been rust proofed with a Ziebart system when new which had given it more protection that others of its ilk. 

It leaked water into the floor pan and the electrics would make all the gauges go crazy at times. It also burned a lot of oil despite have done only 70,000 miles. One time I jacked it up to replace a wheel that had a puncture and the jacking point came clean off the underside of the car. The jack nearly went through the car door.

I bought the blue Lancia from another student for £200. it was a 2litre with alloy wheels and a sunroof. It wasn't running but was only 5 years old with 40,000 miles on the clock. I couldn't get it to start so decided to drop the engine and gearbox out to get better access. I undid two bolts on the subframe and the other two ripped themselves out of the rusty chassis. As I pulled on the starter motor to pull the subframe clear, it came away in my hand. One of the pistons had come through the side of the engine block and smashed the starter. That's why it wouldn't start!

I put the Chromodora alloys and front seats into the 1300. The rest of the wreck was sitting in my mothers driveway. One day a guy came to the door wanting to buy two of the doors and a wing. He had been using his Dad's car, a blue beta saloon, without permission and had smashed it. That allowed me to recoup £100 of my purchase price. The rest ended up in the scrapyard, as did the brown car which needed too much work for another MOT.