Lancia is best known for its incredible rally success, and this little car started it all, winning world titles in 1972 and 1974. Lancias like this 1970 Fulvia HF ‘Fanalone’ were tearing up the pavement, gravel, dirt, and snow across the globe faster than anyone from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s when the Fulvia was replaced by the even more successful Lancia Stratos.
The Fulvia had a pretty humble beginning in 1963 as a four-door sedan with a pokey 1,100 cc motor, but when more purposeful-looking coupe came out in 1965, it was only a matter of time before the Fulvia took to motorsports. The following year, the HF package came out. “HF” referred to an Italian racing club, whose initials stood for high fidelity due to its faithfulness to the Lancia name. The HF badge would appear on pretty much all of the hot Lancias from then on.
Over the Fulvia’s life, the engine grew from 1,100 to 1,200 to 1,400 and finally to 1,600, getting more powerful along the way and eventually making around 170 horsepower. The lightened HF weighed just 1,819 pounds, and this combined with its extremely tight wheelbase meant that it was nimble through Europe’s mountain roads and paths that made up so much of the international rally stages.
The “Fanalone” part, which I had never really thought about, refers to the large inboard driving lights designed for dangerously dark rally runs, but it also is apparently slang for “large breasts” in Italian…nice.
These cars were never officially imported to the U.S. (we’ve never been big into rallying) and there only ever 1,200 built by the factory. You therefore almost never see these cars, even at Italian car shows, and the ones you do see are usually done up to look like works rally car clones, so it was nice to see this 1970 Lancia Fulvia HF Fanalone in such pristine, tasteful, and seemingly original condition.
After World War II, Lancia had some mixed success in sports car racing and its Formula One program nearly made the company disappear altogether and resulted in a sale to Ferrari. Where the company really came into its own was in its passion for rallying and, blasting around some of the world’s most dangerous roads, cars like this one started it all.