1987 Lancia Thema Is The Ferrari-Powered Super-Sedan Calling Our Name

Though you might not know it today, Lancia has produced some legendary cars over the course of its history. Models like the classic Aurelia, the rally-bred Delta Integrale, and of course the Stratos supercar. The Thema might not rank very high among them, except for one version.

A mid-size family sedan, the Thema was based on the same underpinnings as the Fiat Croma, Alfa Romeo 164, and Saab 9000. It had rather stylish bodywork penned by Italdesign, and there was a wagon version styled by Pininfarina.

Most of those produced between 1984 and 1994 had rather humble engines. Inline fours, V6s, and diesels. But the Thema 8.32 stood out over and above its more common stablemates. It had the 2.9-liter V8 with four-valve cylinders from the Ferrari 308 and Mondial, recalibrated for family-sedan duty.

The 32-valve engine produced just 212 horsepower (158 kW) and 210 lb-ft (285 Nm) of torque. That may not seem like much by today’s standards. But then the 964-generation Porsche 911 (which came out a couple of years after this model was produced) barely offered much more, with 247 hp (184 kW) and 229 lb-ft (310 Nm) of torque.

Giugiaro Shape, Ferrari Power

That was enough to send the Thema 8.32 rocketing to 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in just 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph (240 km/h). That may not have made it as quick as the original BMW M5, but it was better than the M535i could muster. That model packed less power at 215 hp (160 kW), the same amount of torque as the Lancia, ran to 62 in 7.2 seconds, and topped pit at 143 mph (230 km/h).

Only 2,370 of these Series I models were sold in Italy between 1986 and ’88, of which this was one. Situated in Rome, it’s held by only its second owner, who is now selling it. The asking price: €24,001, or just under $30k at current exchange rates. These days you’d need a good $7k more to get into a base Alfa Romeo Giulia, with its 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque. But the Ferrari-powered Thema is the rarer beast, and is sure to hold its value better than a new Alfa.

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  • Christian Wimmer

    These are unique and interesting cars but if you own one you will have to replace the timing chain every year. The timing chain has to be replaced every 20,000 km if memory serves me right. This is definitely a high maintenance and expensive vehicle.

    • Yep the cambelts need to be replaced every 20k, The car engine is Mondial unit which is descendant of 308, one of the major problem with Thema 8.32 is the water pump, they are an unique to the car and Ferrari units won’t fit.

      The electronic was a problem if the car is rarely used, so actually the best way to maintain this (And 308/328/Mondial is to drive it often.

      And surprisingly Thema didn’t rust out that much compare to older Lancia.

  • Six_Tymes

    Cool, I forgot about these.

  • Vassilis

    Wasn’t this seriously shit? 😀

    • TheHake

      Not at all

      • Vassilis

        Really? I remember that they were very unreliable and very understeery. I may remember wrong though.

        • TheHake

          A Toyota Prius is seriously shit. Not a Lancia with a Ferrari engine. NEVER a Lancia with a Ferrari engine!!!

          • Vassilis

            hahaha I get your point.

          • TheHake


  • haudit

    It wasn’t that much quicker than the far cheaper 2.0 Turbo, in either 8 or 16-valve guises.

    • TheHake

      But those didn’t have a 328 engine. It’s not all about all out speed!

      • haudit

        OK, so it was more expensive, thirstier, and not really any better to drive because FWD cars in the ’80s couldn’t handle much oomph before they started torque-steering all over the place.

        • TheHake

          But what is a 2.0T Thema worth now?

          • haudit

            Next to nothing, but that doesn’t change the fact that the 8.32 was pointless vanity project on Lancia’s part, with only the novelty of an underpowered Ferrari V8 engine and its rarity to recommend it.

  • You guys miss the electronically deployed rear spoiler.

  • Alban Gojani

    Those seats look sooo comfy!!

  • Six Thousand Times

    Do want.

  • pcurve

    I dig those seats!

  • smartacus

    i do love those seats.
    They look absolutely
    comfortable unlike a
    lot of vehicles today.

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