The Lancia brand can mean many different things to those in the automotive space. To some, it is a company that made fantastic road cars as elegant as they were quick, and to others, it represents one of the most successful and exciting rallying teams in history. Aside from its storied past, a new version of its Ypsilon city car has been spied out in the open.
While we’d wager its Greek name was chosen to sound sophisticated, the vehicle itself is anything but. With such big shoes to fill, it may not come as much of a surprise that the current Ypsilon turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Not only is it one of the most momentous falls from grace in the automotive world, but also it isn’t even a bespoke Lancia item – it’s loosely based off the Fiat 500.
Semantics aside, the latest Ypsilon has been spied looking very similar to its predecessor. As only the front fascia is masked in camouflage, we’d wager that’s where the changes lie. It’s difficult to spot too many differences from these shots, but whatever lies underneath doesn’t appear to be incredibly momentous.
For those who might think we’re being a bit pompous, you have to know what Lancia was like in its glory days. When Audi attempted to take the rallying world by storm in 1983 with its revolutionary all-wheel-drive Quattro, Lancia was committed to doing it the old fashioned way with its rear-wheel-drive 037 race car and one of the best drivers in history at the wheel, Walter Rohl. Even with the team’s playboy boss Cesare Fiorio at the helm, the team’s vast experience in rallying proved a masterstroke and helped them produce the world championship that year – it remains one of the greatest David and Goliath rallying fairy tales to date.
On the road, the Italian automaker produced vehicles that were not only fast but beautiful. Styled by Pininfarina, the Lancia Gamma is still objectively one of the most attractive cars you can lay your eyes on, but it did have its drawbacks. Although its 2.5-litre flat-four engine allowed the vehicle to have its impossibly low bonnet line, it was preposterously unreliable – the powerplant was only the start of its issues, but damn was it one good looking car.
The same could be said with the brand’s performance-focused road vehicles like the Fulvia, Stratos, and Delta Integrale. Each was as nice to look at as to drive, but they came with their fair share of issues. As dismal as the Italian Automaker’s latest creation might be, it’s certainly nice to know that Vincenzo Lancia’s brand lives on.