Welcome back Lancia, sorry, Chrysler
I’m a Lancia fan so it was with mixed emotions that I greeted the news that the Delta’s finally coming back to the UK after being off the price lists for 17 years. I’ve liked the Delta ever since I saw the first Hans G. Lehmann scoop shots in CAR Magazine back in 1978, finding the Giugiaro-styled hatchback agreeably similar in style to a five-door VW Scirocco. Anyway, when the Delta arrived on the market, it was priced at a premium, up-trimmed and targeted at buyers who wanted a smaller hatchback, but still wanted the luxury and status of larger car.
Something like a Rover…
The Delta lasted until 1994 in the UK when the Integrale went out of production, but a Mk2 Tipo-based model remained on sale in Europe, continuing the original car’s proclivity for luxury wood and leather. There’s more to Lancia than the Delta, of course, but as far as the UK public is concerned, this is what Lancia is known for.
Unfortunately, for anyone a little older, it’ll be rust…
Fiat was, no doubt, mindful of that and so, when the company got into bed with Chrysler in 2009, it cooked up a plan to export Lancias to the USA, rebranded with Pentagons on the bonnet. Not a bad plan, given the uselessness of small US-built and designed Chryslers, and at the same time sending a little prestige and European flair Stateside.
The 2008 Delta is exactly the car Rover should be building now – avant garde styling, plush interior and, most importantly, it makes a big statement about its nationality. That’s why we like the Delta here at AROnline.
It’s great news to hear that it’s coming to the UK in June. Okay, it’s not wearing a Lancia badge, but we can live with the Chrysler badge given that we have rather a lot of the company’s older products here already. We’ll also be getting the new, Fiat 500-based Ypsilon, which is another great potential Rover – and a very different story to the MG3 and MG6.
It’s a shame they’re not going all out for a little irony combined with class by calling the new Chrysler duo the Sunbeam and Horizon. Hey, though, we can but dream…