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1979 Lancia Beta Zagato Spider Rare Unique 39K Miles Pininfaria Fiat Alfa Romeo

For sale: 1979 Lancia Beta Zagato Spider

Technical specifications

Item location:
Palm Springs, California, United States
Beta Zagato Spider
Engine size:
2.0-Liter Twin-Cam
Number of cylinders:
Power options:
Air Conditioning
5-Speed Manual
Drive type:
Interior color:
Cassette Player, Convertible, Leather Seats, Sunroof
Vehicle Title:
Contact the seller / ! Report


Please be sure to scroll down for many more detailed photos.

In 1979 Lancia added an open car to the Beta line-up of models offered in the US. They called it the Zagato ‘Spider’ and it was unique to be sure. Equipped with a 1995cc engine the car featured a hard lift-off roof panel and a fold-down “convertible” rear that provided a targa-type configuration. The Spider was, and is, so much fun to drive. Although built by Zagato, the Spider was actually designed by Pininfarina and Beta Coupe body shells were transported from Turin to Zagato in Milan where their transformation to Spiders took place.

This particular Zagato is an amazing survivor and probably one of the nicest and most original in existence. Enjoyed sparingly from new, it has accumulated just over 39,000 miles in 40 years. We purchased the car two years ago from the original owner in Carmel, CA. He originally purchased the car in Santa Clara, California at European Auto Imports on April 29th, 1980. Thereceiptfor his down payment is included! This Lancia has spent its entire life in the Golden State. When we went to see the car and he backed it out of the garage (where it always resided) we couldn’t believe our eyes. And after we took it for a drive (on its original tires!) we knew we had to have it. In fact, the only reason he was selling the car was because he and his wife were moving to a retirement community which had only a one-car garage and he did not want the car to sit outside. See the pictures below for a Polaroid of the car when he brought it home new! The car stickered for $12,212 which is about $38,000 in 2016 dollars. An extremely well documented car, we were presented with every single receipt and invoice from 1979 to the present as well as owner’s and service manuals and much additional literature. The original Lancia jack and tool kit were tucked right in in the trunk looking like they'd never been used. The car even has its original blue/yellow California license plates which look brand new!

The car is in amazing condition. The paint shines nicely, the body is straight and there is NO sign of rust, which is most atypical for these cars. The finish on the car is mostly original – however the original owner explained that in the early 80’s the car was parked and a motorcycle fell against it requiring some paint repair to the left front quarter. You might be able to spot the color is a shade off in that area after all these years. This is the only known mishap the car has experienced. All the glass is original and in good condition. The removable hardtop section is in good shape, as is the original rear folding roof section. The plastic rear window has some aging but it probably could be improved with someone who knows how to properly polish it. The original alloy wheels have no curb rash and new tires, installed in 2014, only have a few hundred miles on them. All the plastic lenses, lamps and parts on the exterior are in great shape and all lights work properly. The spacious trunk looks like it has never been used. A quality car cover comes with this Lancia. The car is equipped with period Cobray foglights. They were touted as the “world’s first auxiliary light with automatic opening louvers”. The louvers open and close based on the heat from thebulbs. They were a Christmas gift from the owner’s wife in 1984.

As you’d imagine and can see from the photos, the interior is in terrific shape! The leather on the seats has held up very well. I try to treat them regularly to keep them that way. The dash is free from cracks. The carpets look terrific and the matching factory mats are still in the car.Thecar has not been smoked in - no odd smells or stains. All the lights, gauges and accessories operate as they should including the clock. The original radio works fine as does the rear fender-mounted power antenna. It would be very difficult to find another 70’s Lancia with an interior in this condition. The car is equipped with a rare air conditioning option. The original owner lived on the coast in central California so it was never a priority for him to have it working. I have not taken the time to explore making it work but all the parts appear to be there waiting for the next owner to get it operating, if desired. The heater, defroster, fan, etc. all work as they should.

Under the hood is the legendary Lampredi Lancia 1995cc twin-cam carbureted inline 4-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Shortly after we bought the car we had the timing belt replaced as maintenance. We also replaced the alternator. We paid a premium to acquire the correct part for the car due to its originality. Hopefully it will last another 40 years!

The car starts up easily, idles well and has good power. The transmission shifts smoothly thanks to new shift bushings that were recently installed. The steering is light and easy. I was surprised that the car has a power-assist system. It makes it easy to maneuver at low speeds and nimble while corning.

This Lancia is a joy to drive! It makes all the good engine and exhaust noises that make you feel like you are on the Strada Statale 163 in Italy winding your way to Positano. The unique top arrangement allows you to have open-air feel without the midday sun beating on you. I generally drive the car with the windows down and the rear window folded back. The hard targa top easily comes off and stows in the trunk for a more convertible-like experience. The structure of the car feels much more solid than a traditional convertible.

This is a rare opportunity to own one of these rare Italian sports cars that has been loved and meticulously cared for over many years. So few of these cars survive today in original condition and with such a well-documented history. Values are on the rise for this model. Hagerty estimates the current value of the ’79 Zagato in #2 condition to be $12,700. We have included what we feel is a reasonable Buy-It-Now price for someone that doesn’t want to wait for the end of the auction. We have truly enjoyed owning it but space and time constraints force us to find its next owner.


This car is in amazing condition - however it is nearly a 40-year-old automobile. I have done my best to represent it accurately. The winner of the auction is purchasing it as-is - no warranty is offered. The buyer is responsible for local pick-up and/or transport of the vehicle. I reserve the right to end the auction early as the car is for sale locally. Payment should be a bank-issued cashier's check or wire transfer. A $500 deposit is due within 24 hours after the auction. Balance must be settled within 7 days. Please ask all questions before the auction ends.

Payment should be a bank-issued cashier's check or wire transfer. A $500 deposit is due within 24 hours after the auction. Balance must be settled within 7 days.

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