There was only one problem: the car had no seat belts

A legendary car brand is approaching the end.

Frank Williksen is the veteran of the Broom editors. He has been working for more than 50 years as a car editor and has tested a large number of cars at home and abroad.

Some cars & # 39; s remembering him better than others. Frank now shares the memories with all broom readers. This time it's about Lancia Beta 1978, a real premium car of his time:

Then the instrument table looked through the relatively large steering wheel.

The invitation was great: "Would you like to join Torino and come home with new Lancia Beta," wrote the importer. Something like that was not possible and together with good colleagues I was quickly on a SAS plane to the Italian car city.

Adresses of which Geir Bakke was a part, I also remember Per Wangen from Aftenposten, and Bilbransjens Øyvind Holmvik, who I shared a car on the trip to the north; better trips are hardly imaginable!

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It was 200!

The new edition of Lancia Beta was a fast car for his time. The cars we picked up had a 1.8 liter bicycle rack with double overhead camshafts and 119 horsepower on the front wheels. Given the top speed was 180 km / h, there were not many & # 39; regular & # 39; cars at that time matched. Acceleration from 0 to 100 in 10.2 seconds also belonged to the elite series.

With the German Autobahn with free speed in sight, there was an awaited crowd of car dealers who met at the factory – 200 on speedometer eels viewed, and it was not exactly every day at the end of the 70s!

(The case goes below)

Lancia has received much praise for the design of her new Beta.

Light nervous

When we picked up the car, the factory representative said almost in a bite that "it was not" to install seatbelts so that the importer could settle in Norway.

Yes, well. It was exactly that month before I got a bigger collision on the Autobahn (as a participant!), And came home with a convicted new Ford Granada 2.0 on conscience. And a neck like 18 years later should suffer from calcification.

So shoot up to 200 without a seat belt suddenly not very attractive anyway. The chain collision had also taught me a lot about what good seatbelts could mean, so I probably had a higher heart rate than the rest of the trip when we "got up" from Turin with jobs to the north.

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Norwegian speed limits approached

Yes, it went fast. And yes, that went well too. But still: up to 200 on the Lancia speedometer in the dark night, through one fog after another, does not stand as a current wish surprise! But Øyvind was an excellent driver and I counted – as I do on planes – that the driver certainly wanted to go home, he also.

Neatly relaxed, I probably did not get it until we were on the "charms" from Hamburg to Kiel, and Jahre Line, who had the shipping company at that time. With Norwegian speed limits at your fingertips.

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Some tank fillings were

Lancia Beta was a car in the upper part of the market, an Italian charming premium with temperament and driving characteristics as the main advantage. Beta was also very well equipped and comfortable, and in the meantime it was a messy family car.

Sales were slow, however, and it was not enough for the car to have a design the most confused.

The car was 4.52m long, 1.70m wide and 1.40m high. The axle distance was 2.55 meters. Tom weighed 1,222 kilos, and the fuel tank was 48 liters – so some tank is filling north to Kiel!

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A bit of security – too

The gearbox was 5-speed (!) And fully synchronized. The brakes were cut on all four wheels, something Lancia was early on. The system also had a load-dependent brake force regulator for rear wheel brakes. Independent suspension on all four wheels was also Lancia.

Given the lack of seat belts, it was at least a little comfort that the car had a shock-absorbing front and a hedge at both ends of an extra stiff compartment.

A bit of a car!

Lancia boasted with a sports motor for fast and safe passes – and so we certainly experienced the car. Long pieces of the trip were accompanied by a full opening of the two carburetors, where the speedometer sail was parked at top speed. On the scale this was about 200 km / h, according to the factory information the actual speed would be 180 km / h. There was something wrong, and there are always differences in copy – two cars of the exact same model may have some difference in performance.

Instrumentation was of the attractive variety. In addition to the large tachometer and speedometer, Beta also had an oil pressure gauge, coolant thermometer and tank gauge in addition to warning lights for, for example, worn brake linings and high engine temperatures.

Well, it was a bit of a car!

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The first out with manual gearbox with 5 gears

The Lancia car brand was founded by Vincenzo Lancia (1881-1937). He came from work as a test driver and car manufacturer at Fiat when he chose to establish himself with his own car production in 1906. Lancia is thus one of the oldest car brands and the factory is already early with a number of important innovations.

An example is autonomous bodywork in Lancia Lambda in 1922, the world's first manual five-speed gearbox in Lancia Ardea in 1948 – and the first V6 engine in Lancia Aurelia in 1950.

On the last verse

However, Lancia is reminded of its stunning rally performance over a few decades from the early 1970s, with legendary models such as Stratos and Delta.

Some financial successes never became Lancia, on the contrary. In 1969 the company was taken over by Fiat and branded as the luxury brand of the group with relatively small sales figures compared to Fiat and Alfa Romeo.

Since 2016, Lancia has had only one car model: the small car Ypsilon, and now it is the traditional brand of cars in the last verse.

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