• Matteo Licata

Lancia's Greatest Hits

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Lancia's heritage is second to none in automobile history, yet this once-proud brand, which pioneered unibody construction, designed the first V6 engine, won the Mille Miglia, the Carrera Panamericana, and 10 world rally championships, has now been largely forgotten.

Well, let's relive better times and remember the ten best selling Lancias of all time!

10) Fulvia (1963-1976) 342.846

Introduced in 1963, the Fulvia has been the first Lancia to be manufactured in the Chivasso factory. Sadly, this model's success wasn't enough to save Lancia's troubled finances, leading to the Fiat takeover of 1969. That didn't stop the Fulvia HF's successful rally career, culminating with Lancia winning the 1972 International Constructors' championship.

9) Thema (1984-1994) 357.572

Introduced in 1984, the Lancia Thema was simply the right car at the right time. Italy's economy was on a roll again, and the Thema became the car to have for every successful entrepreneur or company manager, with its blend of elegant style and powerful engines.

Unfortunately, the Thema's replacement, the Kappa, quickly squandered the marque's chances to maintain a presence in the executive car market.

8) Prisma (1982-1989) 386.697

The Prisma was one I did not expect to find on this list. This three-box derivative of the Delta was decidedly unsexy. Nevertheless, it proved popular in the period, albeit mostly in its home country of Italy.

7) Dedra (1989-2000) 418.084

Introduced in 1989 as the Prisma's replacement, the Dedra sold very well in its first few years. While the station wagon boosted Dedra sales after 1994, infighting within Fiat over its replacement meant the Dedra stayed on the market far too long. By the time Dedra production finally ended in January 2000, the buying public in its segment had forgotten about Lancia altogether.

6) Beta (1972-1984) 424.692

The first new Lancia developed under Fiat ownership, the Beta saloon's design wasn't universally praised, but the Coupé and HPE still look great today. All Betas were refined, fun cars to drive thanks to their much-copied Mc-Pherson front and rear suspensions setup and lusty Fiat-sourced twin-cam engines.

Unfortunately, build quality wasn't nearly as high as previous Lancia models, and inadequate rust protection caused lasting damage to the brand's image in Northern European countries.

5) Delta (1979-1994) 525.231

The Delta was a slightly upmarket compact family car developed to fill the space left vacant by the Fulvia several years prior. Its fate was changed when the end of Group B rallying made the Delta Lancia's rally weapon of choice for 1987. As they say, the rest is history.

The Integrale's triumphs on the world's rally stages boosted sales of all Deltas well beyond the model's intended sell-by-date. Unfortunately, when a new Delta finally arrived in '93, it merely was a Dedra with its tail cut off. No comment is necessary.

4) Ypsilon (2011-On) 520.474 until August 2020

Italians love small cars that are a bit fancier than the norm, and that's what's keeping the Lancia brand from disappearing altogether. At least if you live in Italy, the one and only market where the Lancia Ypsilon remains on sale. Why? Because nearly 60.000 Ypsilons were sold in Italy in 2019, I've put it into fourth place on the chart because it'll likely surpass the Delta by this year's end.

3) Ypsilon (2003-2011) 543.252

The previous generation of the Ypsilon sold very well indeed, and for the same reason why the current model still does. But neither models are even close to matching the original 1995 model's success, which sold a quite staggering 800.000 copies.

2) Y (1995-2003) 802.890

1) Y10 1984-1995 1.133.774

Possibly the most interesting design to ever come out from the Centro Stile Fiat before in the 80s, the Autobianchi Y10 was sold as a Lancia on most export countries. Therefore taking the spot as the most successful Lancia model ever sold, a record that, sadly, is bound to stand forever.