While Lancia is well known for making exciting cars – to a certain point – it is also well known for a few other things. One of them is making decisions which, by any objective standard, make no sense. They are in good company there, however, as rule by committee seems to be the byword of the automotive industry. The 1976 Lancia Gamme Coupe is a great example of that. Lancia developed a car which was almost great; a luxurious executive coupe that handled relatively well. Of course, it deserved a great engine, a V6 at least. That’s not what happened.
Instead of a nice V6 – at the very least – the Gamma Coupe was fitted with a flat-four boxer engine, with a 2.5-liter displacement, producing 140 horsepower. It could accelerate to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds, which isn’t awesome, but isn’t terrible, either, and could reach a somewhat respectable top speed of 120 miles per hour. That wasn’t the real problem.
First off, the engine was kind of rough, unrefined, which didn’t work with the car, and second, it was incredibly unreliable. Of course, when it worked the car was a joy to drive, which is sad, as it deserved a much better engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, with the option of a four-speed automatic in later model years. Production of the Lancia Gamma Coupe ended with the 1985 model year, and while it was more reliable, it was a far cry from what it could have been.