Hero of the Day: Beta Test in Brooklyn

It takes style, and balls, to wheel a vintage Italian car down Flatbush.

This guy, who’s driving a Lancia Beta down Flatbush. The fine Seventies coupé represented the firm’s last run at U.S. market, a front-driver with 86 horsepower. Not much, but totally respectable next to the BMW 2002 and Saab 99. The problem? Engine durability. Other things, too, like suspension durability and interior durability. Oh, and rust. So. Much. Rust. Poor water drainage channels, no tinworm protectant, and shoddy steel body panels took a toll; thousands of Betas were recalled and scrapped soon after sale. Still, it’s a Lancia, the company responsible for the Integrale and Stratos and Fulvia, all charm and romance and quirk. So what if this guy’s head is sticking out of the sunroof because the cabin is two sizes too small? Who cares if a large, odorous puff of blue smoke erupted from the tailpipe when he took off? It takes style, and balls, to wheel a vintage Italian car around Brooklyn. He clearly has both. Hero.  

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