Once a worldwide famous automotive brand, Lancia is now almost defunct and is selling only one model in a total of 14 European markets. A couple of decades ago, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, the brand was a synonym for engineering masterpieces, and the Thema 8.32 is arguably one of its most significant developments.

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Designed as the absolute range-topper of the Thema range, the vehicle debuted in 1986 and used a Ferrari-sourced 2.9-litre V8 engine, based on the motor unit used in the Ferrari 308 and Mondial Quattrovalvole. Some of its components were actually assembled by Ducati and the peak power, in strictly non-catalysed form, stood at 212 bhp, providing a sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 6.8 seconds. A pretty impressive achievement for a mid-80s Italian four-door saloon.

Lancia Thema 8.32

To make things even better, Lancia asked Italian furniture-maker Poltrona Frau to help with the interior of the car and the result was a stunning leather-rich cabin with handmade wood trim. Also, the Thema 8.32 was actually the first mass production car to feature an electrically retractable rear spoiler that, in a closed position, would fit flush with the boot lid. You can check out this cool feature in the video above at the 2:30 mark.

Lancia Thema 8.32

Production of the model was divided into two series. The first one, between 1986 and 1988, saw the production of 2,370 units and the second one, from 1989 to 1992, added 1,601 more cars. Lancia of Germany even created a Thema 8.32 Special Edition featuring a non-metallic Ferrari-red, Rosso Monza exterior paint, known from then-current Ferrari Mondial and 328/348.

Lancia Thema 8.32

Interestingly, the regular Thema of that time (not to be confused with the rebranded Chrysler 300 C of the new century) was offered with not one, but two V6 engines positioned below the 8.32. These were a 2.8-litre unit with 148 bhp and a 3.0-litre engine with 173 bhp.

Gallery: Lancia Thema 8.32