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Competition Car Profile: Lancia Fulvia (1965-1976)

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A cute Italian, cheaper than an Alfa - and possessed of a chassis that doesn't seem to know it's front drive

A Fulvia isn’t the most obvious choice to go racing, and the series they do best in are the HSCC’s Historic Road Sports and ’70s Road Sports where class if not outright wins are available, so that’s what’s we’ve concentrated on here. Andrew Cliffe of Lancia specialist Omicron is our guide.

Engine
Standard capacities on the narrow-angle V4 are 1298cc and 1584cc. Coupés made from 1965 to 1967 were 1216cc and 1231cc (beware: the angle varies slightly depending on capacity). But all fit neatly into the HSCC’s capacity classes E and D1 (in HRS class D is for 1300-2000cc cars, so a 1300 in class E would be the ticket).

‘HSCC regulations are fairly restrictive so there isn’t much that you can do without falling foul of the regulations or the spirit of them in one form or another,’ says Cliffe. ‘The main engine components have to be standard with exception of camshafts and pistons, but Lancia was generous with the standard spec so you get a twin-cam head, twin carbs, a tubular exhaust manifold, a fairly high compression ratio and sporty cams as standard.

‘We have an excellent rally cam which we find very good for racing use (around £350 the pair) and forged pistons cost about £760 a set, in both standard and higher-compression forms. Major fasteners can be changed and we use ARP big-end bolts (about £105 the set) and a similar head bolt (£45 the set) as well as a reinforced gaskets.’

Competition exhausts with manifolds cost around £800. ‘The inlet manifold has to remain, as do the standard Solex C35 carburetors – rejetted of course. There is a clause for HRS Class E cars (1300cc) that carburetors can be increased in size by ¼in, but there is nothing available off the shelf from the Fulvia range that suits without complex machining.’

A 1298cc Fulvia can be made to give more than 130bhp at the flywheel, at a cost of £4000-5000 built. Oil coolers can easily be fitted, but for shorter races it’s more precautionary than mandatory.

 ‘For ’70s Road Sports most of the above applies,’ adds Cliffe, ‘though some of the regulations differ slightly – a custom aluminium radiator could be fitted if cooling was found to be a problem, though in our experience it is not.’ Dry sumping is permitted but generally not necessary.

Transmission
‘Flywheels can be lightened and balanced along with the rest of the rotating masses, and we have a stronger clutch,’ says Cliffe (costing around £150). A lower diff ratio is available from the saloon which makes the gearing more suitable for racing, although these are becoming quite hard to find.

Suspension
‘Springs can be reset to give a firmer ride and a lower ride height, with either replacement bushes or solid bushings,’ says Cliffe, though a cheaper way of lowering the front is simply to trim the front spring-to-upright mounting blocks. Fulvia racer and preparer Carl Oldfield swears by his Leda gas dampers, and leaves the back end well alone. He also points out that HF lower arms will introduce a little negative camber but he doesn’t bother (‘they’re brilliant-handling cars…’). Omicron offers thicker anti-roll bars, though they don’t comply with the letter of the HSCC rules.

Standard rim size on 1300s is 4½x14in, though you’re allowed up to 5½in (1600s use 6in, so that’s it), and not much non-Lancia will fit due to the Fulvia’s unusual PCD: Omicron’s Zagato 1.3 Sport  racer uses Cromodoras from a Lancia 2000, running Yokohama A3032 Advan tires. Oldfield uses 048s on his 1300S.

Brakes
Discs and calipers have to remain as per original specification, (Dunlops on S1s, Girlings on S2s), so the mods are limited to better pads of your choice (Omicron supplies a Mintex racer for around £100 an axle set), good fluid and braided hoses (about £120 per car set). A servo can be added if the car doesn’t have one and you’re allowed to add ducting.

Body
The minimum weights for a Fulvia in HSCC Historic Road Sports are 916kg for a 1.3 coupé, 896kg for a 1.6HF and 915kg for a Sport Zagato. Side and rear glass can replaced with Perspex but most of the dashboard, door cards and trim needs to remain. Allow up to £2000 for a rollcage, seat, harness and plumbed-in extinguisher.

The bottom line 
You’ll need at least £15,000 to put a Fulvia on the track – but  you could easily spend much more. ‘The best thing any Fulvia racer could do is to perfect their rain dance,’ concludes Cliffe. ‘Fulvias excel in the wet, and will drive rings around the Elans and their ilk; given horrible-enough conditions I could see a Fulvia being a contender for outright race wins.’

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