By Pete Vack and Lucas van Dobben
Last week in A Life of Lancias Lucas wrote about his experiences working at the Lancia dealership and the Tulip Rally. Along the way, he naturally found many Lancias for himself. He had no less than FOUR B20s, “one with all the Nardi extras and Borani bimetal wheels.”
A B24 America was one of three left in the Netherlands, and Lucas sold that for a tidy profit. Fulvia and Flavia sedans and coupes got into the mix, plus the aforementioned Appia Zagato that he photographed with his son behind the wheel.
But times change. He bought a Beta HPE, a Junior and an Ypsilon for his wife. “Two company Dedras were the last Lancias I drove on the road, but today it’s a Volvo for him, his wife Carla drives a Daihatsu and his son drives a late Ypsilon.
One Hot Zagato
Our talks brought up more memories, like the case of the carb-flamed Flaminia Zagato 3C Lucas bought from an insurance company. “The former owner used it just for cruising the boulevard so eventually the carbs flooded and and both front fenders lost tension and became brittle. The thick electric cable set was also melted. It was totaled and priced for scrap.” It was the ultimate Lancia, no doubt the fastest of the era, and it was his.
Lancia Imports’ chief panelbeater helped Lucas out with the bodywork and it was also painted at the Importer. “The chief of spares helped me out because when installing the new front windshield, I broke it while pulling the cord and tapping the pane.” (Zagato owners, does this sound familiar?) The spare part chief obtained a new one via the companies insurance, as it was an expensive part. “Then we searched and found a moderately priced carb set and air filter. A lot of work was done on the electrics; I cleaned the wiring from its burned insulation with the use of acetone. With a fellow mechanic we pulled each wire between the engine compartment and the dashboard and replaced it with original colored wire. But the price of membership to the Lancia Zagato club was cheap compared to the cost of insuring it and I had a young family. So we sold it for a decent profit.”
Lucas also owned a Superjolly transport truck. “I bought it with damage to the drive train and sold it to Toon van Beusekom, a Lancia friend of mine who’s Lancias I serviced. I helped him out during the 1970 Tulip Rally and we did the hill climb together. Toon was the first owner of a Stratos in the Netherlands and wanted to use the Jolly in altered form as his Stratos transport.”
Three Generations, One Appia
Lancia enthusiasts also tend to stay connected. Lucas was involved with a multi-generation family Lancia project that began with Piet van Straten, the former CEO of Lancia Import Nederland, who owned a 3rd series Appia sedan in the 1970s. Later the Appia was passed on to son Dirk, who got married with the Appia as the wedding car. A few years later, Dirk was struck by a terminal illness and tragically, didn’t reach the age of 51. The Appia, still in the family, eventually passed to Dirk’s son, Berend, who became a keen Lancia fanatic and realized the Appia was now in need of a restoration. Together with the guys with whom he raced Aermacchis, they visited the Mostra Scambio’s at Reggio Emilia and Imola every year on the lookout for Aermacchi bikes and parts, while Berend as the junior member, was always in search for Lancia spares. They also went to the Essen Classic event several times with and found Lancia parts there as well. The photos you see are the final, happy result. Lucas drove the car away after the couple was married; third generation, second marriage for the Appia.
“Due to the good working relationship we had with the CEO always kept track of my doings. When meeting him in the main village’s shopping street, when he was pensioned off, he often invited me at his home for a get together with his two Lancia’s at hand, the Appia and an almost new Fulvia 1200 Coupé. We checked them both and his wife was asked to fetch some snacks while we had a famous distilled Dutch drink called Jenever (35%). When I finished working in the car business and started to sell copiers with Nashua -Copycat, I was in need of a new car. I went to Lancia’s and my old boss surprised me with a fabulous deal on my first new Lancia, the HPE.”
The LVD and K&KVEDL Workshop
Lucas explains the drawing: “On the drawing of my old workshop you see a B20 grille hanging on the garage door; it was later used for a restoration project by a Lancia dealer. Below that is the jacket worn during the Tulip Rally.
“The photographer in the sketch is Jan van der Plas who today owns a new Donkervoort –a Lotus Seven like slingshot with 385 hp!
“Center on the shop floor is the frame of the George Jeffrey designed special as can be seen below.”
Although Lucas is still active with several full size car projects, his doings with Lancia nowadays are mainly with scale models, the largest being a 1/12 D24 Lancia. 1/43 scale models waiting for assembly are an Appia Dagrada Formula Jr. by Jade, a D50 by Renaissance, a Fulvia Barchetta by Emme, two Appia Zagatos by Rialto, a small Dutch company who produces mainly German car models.
Larger kits awaiting Lucas are two1/20 Hiros; one is a Lancia D50 and a Cobra Daytona Coupe accompanied by a 1/12 Fiat 806 Grand Prix by Italeri. He has all the tools to do proper modelling including a very nice small spray unit. “I’ll have to reach 80 to do them all!” says Lucas.
Over the years, Lucas spent eight years with the Lancia Importers (see Part 3 for ads and photos from the Marel Lancia dealership) as a mechanic trained by the Italian master mechanic Luigi Bena, then ran a large dealership for five years managing 16 people. He changed to sales and sold Nashua copiers for another eight years, then switched to the IT world and sold large computer systems until retirement at 65.
Next week in Part 3: Contemporary photos of the Marel dealership in the 1970s, with a showroom stocked with Flavias, Fulvias, Zagatos and Vignales.