RR of the Day: 1977 Lancia Scorpion

Iconic Italian design comes in many forms and one of those is the Lancia Monte Carlo. Sold abroad from 1975 through 1979, the Monte Carlo was based off the X1/9, and came equipped with a mid-mounted, 1995cc engine that produced upwards of 120 HP. It was the elder statesman to its platform sibling, yet when the Monte Carlo made its way to the U.S., more than the name was lost in translation.

Since Chevrolet used the Monte Carlo name, the Pininfarina designed coupe was rebadged the Scorpion, and then it had its stinger unceremoniously removed. The 2-liter unit originally found behind the driver was swapped out for a 1756 cc inline-four that made an anemic 80 HP, yet met the emissions standards of the day. Additionally, the sizes of the springs were increased, while new, (yes, we'll say it) uglier bumpers were fitted.

In total, 1801 examples were sold in the U.S. between 1976 and 1977, and today, Flickr member monkeyboy70 is the proud owner of #1601. He's admittedly spent entirely too much time and money bringing back his Scorpion from the brink after it sat dormant for over nine years, upgrading the engine with a 2-liter EFI setup (good for 107 HP and 130 lb.-ft. of torque), suspension, interior and paint to restore it to its former machismo laden glory. He seems to like it and so do we, so it will kick off this week's Reader Ride of the Day.

Follow the jump for a couple more pics, some details from the man, err, monkey boy himself and directions on how to submit your own ride to our Flickr pool.

1977 Lancia Scorpion, Serial #1601. Called the MonteCarlo when it released in Europe, it was a sales flop when it hit the shores of the USA..mainly choked by emissions and safety laws of the day, which added weight, robbed hp, and upped the cost. Mid engine, rear wheel drive, Pininfarina styling...it oozes Italian sports car. However, mechanically, it's a unibody design utilizing Fiat X1/9 suspension components, and Fiat Spider engine (more or less). I found this car as a neglected, mostly original car which had sat for 9 years. I then poured an unreasonable amount of time and money into suspension, engine, paint, interior, and trim to make it what it is now. However, all-told, I've less invested than a new Honda Civic. This photo was taken by Zach Mayne in 2003 for a feature spread in RetroCars Magazine.

Equipped with a 2.0L EFI engine (CA smog legal), custom Koni adjustable suspension, poly bushes, 15" Ronal wheels and tires...it handles like a mid-engined exotic should. This one, however, is light and pretty powerful. Dynoed at approx 107hp and 130lb*ft, it pushes only 2250lbs...it's sprightly, but is certainly not a dragster. However it still gets 28mpg, and can run all-day-long on 87oct pump gas. Here you see some on-track action at Thunderhill Raceway Park, just outside Willows CA. Photo taken by Dito Milan. Dito is one of the best track photographers I know. Now that the restoration is complete, I don't track it anymore...which is something of a shame. This is an outstanding track car.

For a mid-engined, 2-seater, there is a surprising amount of interior space. Lots of glass makes for an open, airy feeling. Stock buckets are re-done in solid and perf'ed leather for a very stylish look. Nardi wheel, mp3/cd player, and mix of tan leather, black vinyl, and chocolate-brown pile make for a very warm and inviting feel. The "sunroof" is actually black canvas, which rolls up into a compartment just above the rear window. Ingenious design locks it out of the way when open, and holds it taught when closed.

How to submit to RR of the Day:
Create a
Flickr account if you don't already have one. Search for and join the group called 'Autoblog RR of the Day'. Upload up to three photos of your ride to your own account at a size no larger than 450 pixels wide if possible and include as much information about it and yourself as possible. Even if your ride is sweet, it will not be chosen if there's not a lot of info accompanying it. Click on each photo and just above the picture it will say "Send to group". Click that and select the Autoblog group. You're done, that's it!

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