Lancia Montecarlo

  (Redirected from Lancia Beta Montecarlo)

The Lancia Montecarlo (Type 137) is a Pininfarina-designed mid-engined sports car produced by Lancia in Italy from 1975 to 1981.

Lancia Montecarlo
Lancia Montecarlo (24750084830).jpg
Lancia Montecarlo (1980–81)
Also calledLancia Beta Montecarlo
Lancia Scorpion
Production1975–1978 and 1980–1981
AssemblyGrugliasco (TO) Pininfarina plant
DesignerPaolo Martin[1] at Pininfarina
Body and chassis
ClassSports car (S)
Body style2-door coupé
2-door targa
LayoutTransverse rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive
RelatedLancia 037
Abarth SE 030
Lancia Medusa
  • 2.0 L Lampredi I4
  • 1.8 L Lampredi I4 (North America)
Transmission5-speed manual
Wheelbase2,300 mm (90.6 in)[2]
Length3,813 mm (150.1 in)
Width1,696 mm (66.8 in)
Height1,190 mm (46.9 in)
Kerb weight970–1,040 kg (2,138–2,293 lb)

Cars from the first series, which were produced from 1975 to 1978, were known as Lancia Beta Montecarlos and those from the second series, produced from 1980 to 1981, simply as Lancia Montecarlos.[3] In both cases Montecarlo was spelled as one word, unlike Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco. Both series were offered in Coupé and Spider versions, the latter featuring a unique roll-back manually operated targa style convertible top. A modified version of the Spider was sold in the United States as the Lancia Scorpion during 1976 and 1977.

Total production numbers come to 7,798 units,[4] with production spanning from 1974 until 1982 with an interruption in 1979. 3,558 first series and 817 second series targas were built; 2,080 first series and 1,123 second series coupés. There were also 220 competition models built (Lancia 037).


First series Beta Montecarlo

Fiat was seeking a replacement for its 124 Coupe so Pininfarina was commissioned to design and develop the replacement. However, Bertone came up with cheaper alternative, which became the Fiat X1/9. Pininfarina continued with its project called Fiat X1/8 that called for a mid-engined sports car with a 3-litre V6 motor. The X1/8 project was to be Pininfarina’s first ever car to be wholly developed and built in house rather than basing on existing production car.[5][6] Initial design work was done by 1969, and a final design was completed in 1971 by Paolo Martin.

During the first oil crisis in the 1970s, the project was renamed "X1/20", and the motor was changed to a 2-litre four-cylinder version. The first X1/20 prototype was Fiat Abarth SE 030 for racing in 1974. After the racing season of 1974, Fiat terminated its Abarth SE 030 programme. The X1/20 project was given to Lancia who wanted a premium alternative to Fiat X1/9 and somewhat a halo car.

For a premium level of equipment, Lancia chose the two-litre twin-cam four-cylinder motor from the Fiat 124 Sport Coupé, MacPherson suspension, five-speed gearbox, and disc brakes both front and rear. As the resulting Montecarlo shared very few components with the other Beta models, Pininfarina was chosen to build the car in its entirety.

The Montecarlo was available as a fixed head "Coupé" and as an open-roof "Spider" with a large folding canvas roof between solid A and B pillars.

Beta Montecarlo production figures*
Body 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 Totals
Coupé 0 412 900 740 28 0 671 452 0 3,203
Spider 2 772 2,279 478 27 0 437 380 0 4,375
Corse 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 209 220
Totals 2 1,184 3,179 1,218 55 0 1,108 843 209 7,798

*stated by Pininfarina production records


First seriesEdit

The Beta Montecarlo was finally unveiled at the 45th Geneva Salon International de l'Auto in March 1975. First Series cars (from 1975 to 1978) were badged as Lancia Beta Montecarlo. They were named "Montecarlo", written as one word, not Monte Carlo, one of Monaco's administrative areas. Power came from a twin cam, 1995 cc Lampredi inline four, developing 120 PS (88 kW; 118 hp) at 6000 rpm. Lancia claimed a top speed of over 190 km/h and a 0–100 km/h acceleration time of 9.3 seconds.[7]

Distinctions of the first series were the solid panels to the rear wings above the engine bay and 5.5Jx13" "bow-tie" alloy wheels, unique to this model. The interior was upholstered in vinyl (TVE, Elasticized Vinylic Textile) as standard, in cloth as an option. The driver's side mirror (right one was optional) was a Vitaloni Californian. In 1978 the production of the Beta Montecarlo was halted.

Lancia ScorpionEdit

US-market 1976 Scorpion

The convertible version of the Beta Montecarlo was federalized and marketed in the United States from 1976-1977 as the Lancia Scorpion, to avoid conflicting with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. 1,805 were manufactured in 1976 and sold as model year 1976 and 1977 (1396 and 405 respectively).

To accommodate U.S. emission regulations, a smaller emissions-tuned 1,756 cc twin cam engine was fitted. With less aggressive camshaft profiles, a smaller carburetor, and the compression ratio reduced to just 8.1:1, the Scorpion delivered 81 hp (60 kW), down from the 120 of the Montecarlo. To meet crash test and lighting requirements, the Scorpion had bigger 5-mph bumpers and low-rise pop-up, sealed beam headlights, adding some 130 lbs to the curb weight. Two additional series of vents on the engine cover were required to cool the catalyst.

Second seriesEdit

A Lancia Montecarlo. Notice the new buttresses, Beta 14 inch alloy wheels and badging.

After a two-year hiatus the revised second series was introduced in 1980. The Beta prefix was ditched, and the car was now simply badged as the Lancia Montecarlo.[8]

On the exterior the most evident changes were the updated signature Lancia split grille first introduced with the 1979 Delta, the glazed rear buttresses (providing better visibility) and, in place of the model badging on the tail, a full width brushed aluminium strip. Larger eight-spoke 5,5Jx14" alloy wheels from the Beta were adopted to clear the upsized brake rotors and calipers, and the brake servo was removed to address the brake lockup issue. In the cabin there was a new three spoke Momo steering wheel in place of the old two spoke one, as well as revamped trim and fabrics. The engine was revised too: a higher compression ratio, Marelli electronic ignition and new carburettors made for torque gain.


Rear view of a Lancia Montecarlo.
Engine bay.

The Montecarlo/Scorpion suffered from several issues. Between the taller springs used to meet the US height requirements, a lack of caster, and bump steer, handling of US market Scorpions did not meet the promises of the car’s design.

The engine noise in the interior of the car was sometimes criticized; Road & Track listing noise as one of their biggest complaints about the car, with "little joy listening to the wheeze of an emission equipment-stifled 4-banger",[9] and Motor calling the engine noise a "raucous cacophony".[10]

Harsh shifting is common and increases as the bushings wear (a common trait in mid-engined cars). The rear crossmember is a design flaw; the metal used was too thin and is susceptible to corrosion and eventual failure, although stronger replacement crossmembers are available from aftermarket companies.[citation needed]

The S1 Montecarlos and Scorpions suffered from overly boosted brakes, which caused the fronts to lock up easily in the wet. These were often criticised in reviews; for example Road & Track complained of "severe front locking and 37% fade"[9] and Motor that they found "it disconcertingly easy to lock up the front wheels when approaching corners".[10]

As a result, production was suspended in 1978 while the braking problems were resolved by some engineering changes, including removing the brake servo.

Rust is an issue for the Montecarlo and Scorpion.[11] Unless kept in a dry environment active prevention is required to fend off rust. The firewall and wheel wells are common locations for rust.[citation needed] Rusted floor pans are a major cause of early Montecarlo/Scorpion demise.[citation needed]


Abarth SE 030Edit

The first offspring of the X1/20 project to actually be revealed to the public wasn't the definitive Beta Montecarlo, but rather the Abarth 030. Powered by a 280 hp, 3.2 liter V6, sporting conspicuous aerodynamic appendages (including a snorkel over the roof to feed the engine) and the Abarth red-yellow livery, the SE 030 was first intended as a replacement to the 124 Abarth in motorsport. Nevertheless, Fiat for the time being preferred racing the high volume selling 131 for marketing reasons, and only two Abarth 030s were ever made.

In 1974 one of the two prototypes took part in the then-popular Giro d'Italia automobilistico, a championship consisting of both road and track races. Driven by Giorgio Pianta and Cristine Becker it scored a remarkable second place, just behind the Lancia Stratos Turbo of the duo Andruet-Biche.

Group 5 Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo competing in the 1980 World Championship for Makes.

Montecarlo TurboEdit

The Montecarlo Turbo was a Group 5 racer. It was the first racing car to be fielded by Lancia in eight years when it entered the May 1979 Silverstone Six-Hours race.[12] It won the 1979 World Championship for Makes (under 2-litre division) and overall for 1980 World Championship for Makes and 1981 World Endurance Championship for Makes. Hans Heyer also won the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in 1980 at the wheel of a Montecarlo. In 1980 Turbo also placed first and second at Giro d'Italia automobilistico, an Italian counterpart of the Tour de France Automobile.

Being a silhouette car, the Montecarlo Turbo only shared the centre section of the body with its namesake production car. Front and rear tubular subframes supported the suspension and housed the engine, still mid-mounted with Colotti gearbox. Three engines were used: 440 hp 1,425.9 cc, 490 hp 1,429.4 cc and 490 hp 1,773.0 cc.[13]

Rally 037Edit

The Montecarlo was the basis for Lancia's successful Group B rally car, the Lancia 037. Debuting in 1982, the car won the 1983 WRC Manufacturers' Championship for Lancia.

Similarly to the Montecarlo Turbo, the 037 only retained the centre section from the Montecarlo but little else, and its supercharged engine, while still midship, was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely as it is in the Montecarlo.

In popular cultureEdit

  • The car can be seen twice (red and grey model) in Dario Argento's Tenebre (1982).



  1. ^ "Paolo Martin Designer - Lancia Beta Montecarlo". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  2. ^ "Lancia Montecarlo". Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  3. ^ Production Data Archived 2009-03-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved from on 2 April 2009
  4. ^ "Produzione Complessiva" [Cumulative Production] (PDF). (in Italian). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-05.
  5. ^ "Montecarlo Consortium". Archived from the original on 2019-01-15. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  6. ^ "Brio Trio: Fiat/Bertone X1/9, Lancia Montecarlo, Ferrari 308GT". 7 July 2008.
  7. ^ Lancia Servizio Pubblicità e Promozione (ed.), Lancia Beta Monte-Carlo (official brochure)
  8. ^ "Montecarlo Consortium - Our Cars". Archived from the original on 2012-11-11. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  9. ^ a b Road & Track, September 1976
  10. ^ a b Motor, April 23, 1977
  11. ^ BENJAMIN PRESTON, "Could Pretty Cars Be the Key to Attracting Younger Car Nuts?", Wheels (blog), The New York Times, June 4, 2013
  12. ^ Armstrong, Douglas (July 1979). "European Letter". SA Motor. Randburg, South Africa: SA Motor (Pty) Ltd. 17 (7): 9.
  13. ^ "Lancia Montecarlo Turbo". lanciamontecarlo.net2. Retrieved 2012-11-09.

External linksEdit