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1963 Lancia Flavia Sport by Zagato

The most outrageous and least well-known Lancia Zagato was the 1.8 liter Flavia. Designed by Ercole Spada, Zagato's leading man of the era, it possessed some earlier Zagato motifs, such as the windows on the roofline, which harkened back to the Panoramic Fiats of the early fifties. It was streamlined, but Zagato did not work with a wind tunnel. They worked by feel, drew the car up on an entire-sized board, and then started hammering. Once on the road, it was tested with the traditional tuft of cloth method. Before building a larger facility in the late 1960s, Zagato worked primarily in aluminum, and the quest for saving weight carried over into the interior and even the paint. The paint was applied sparingly in two or three skinny coats. The interiors were also thin, particularly the vinyl. The dashboards were hammered out of fragile aluminum and often not covered with anything but crackle finish paint.

The Lancia Flavia Sport Zagato is not a beautiful car. Not in the conventional sense of the word. It was created to be striking in a period when Zagato abandoned its classically beautiful lines. The styling house which had enjoyed associations with Aston Martin was Alfa Romeo, as well as Lancia, which was commissioned to create the Sport, based on the short wheelbase platform of the convertible. The curvy bodywork was a million miles away from the three-box Berlina, and even the Coupé looked restrained in comparison. However, in lightweight form and with twin carburetors, the Sport lived up to its name, proving quick and agile on the road and sensational in corners. However, sales weren't good due to the high cost (and challenging styling?). Following Fiat's takeover of Lancia in 1969, coachbuilt models by outside design houses were halted overnight.

Lancia Flavia Sport (Zagato), 1963-67 Aluminum body, design from Ercole Spada.


Images: Zagato