Lancia Thema 8.32
The late 1980’s was a challenging time for European carmakers and, in order to save on development costs, Lancia partnered with SAAB, Alfa Romeo and Fiat to jointly develop a shared platform for a new executive class, luxury sedan. It proved to be an inspired idea that spawned four unique vehicles each with genuine brand character. The Lancia Thema (Type 834) was the executive car produced by the Italian automaker between 1984 and 1994, sharing the Type Four platform alongside the Alfa Romeo 164, Fiat Croma and Saab 9000.
The SAAB influence was very beneficial in many ways, particularly rust-proofing and component reliability. The Thema re-established Lancia as a high-quality luxury manufacturer with a galvanized steel chassis and rust protection that equaled or bettered that of its competitors. Build quality was much higher than the Fiat Croma’s and on par with the Saab 9000, with which it shared a great deal of body engineering, including doors.
The Thema was designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro and was considered one of the most spacious and comfortable European cars of its time. The lines are clean and classic, understated and elegant. A prominent rear spoiler adds some flair. In an effort to move upmarket and establish a prestige flagship model, Lancia fitted a modified Ferrari V8 to the top of the line Thema variant – the 8.32, (V8, 32 valves). This accomplished its purpose from a PR angle, but the Thema 8.32 was very expensive at the time of its introduction and sales were very limited. Fewer than 4,000 Thema 8.32 models were built from 1986 to 1994, making the car very special and rare today.
First shown at the Turin Auto Show in 1986, the Thema 8.32 was assembled at Lancia’s San Paolo plant in Turin. Under the hood was a 2927 cc, Tipo F105L, Ferrari V8. Based on the unit used in the Ferrari 308 and in the Ferrari Mondial Quattrovalvole, it was modified to accommodate front wheel drive and retuned for more robust low and mid-range torque. The 3.0 liter engine differed from other Ferrari V8s of the time in that it was equipped with a cross-plane type crankshaft rather than the usual flat-plane, smaller valves and different firing order. It produced 212bhp and a healthy 210 lb ft of torque which could propel the car from rest to 60mph in 6.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph.
In addition to a sonorous exhaust note the Theme 8.32 offered strong performance and excellent refinement. The interior is notably well designed and luxuriously trimmed. A true Q ship, the Thema 8.32 offers very high performance and a very low profile.
The car offered was recently discovered in Italy and has undergone a full mechanical restoration and a thorough cosmetic refresh, inside and out in the last six months. The starting point was a very original example in very good overall condition. Front subframe and engine were removed for a complete engine out service and rebuild. The Ferrari V8 received a full valve job, new rings, new flywheel, new clutch and fully refreshed ignition and fuel injection systems. The engine, cover and manifolds were refinished in the original colors and finishes. Driveshafts and drive system serviced and refreshed. Engine compartment cleaned and detailed prior to engine reinstallation. A new full exhaust system was installed and the braking system was overhauled.
Exterior panels including bumper covers were refinished in original factory shade of metallic red. Double clear coat laid over the metallic burgundy finish and hand sanded to a high luster. The undercarriage were found to be rust and damage free, so undercoating was refreshed as required. Wheels were cleaned, inspected for damage and refreshed, and then fitted with period correct tires all around – 75% tread depth remaining now. The car is accompanied by a second set of new, period correct tires.
The original plush Alcantara interior has been meticulously cleaned and detailed, including a refresh and refit of the unique headliner. Seats, dash and carpeting are now in superb, original condition. Trunk linings have been removed, cleaned and reinstalled. Various interior trim pieces renewed, all interior lights, switches and electronics checked and redone as necessary. Retractable rear spoiler is fully functional and fitted with new seals.
The engine starts readily, runs very strong, idles nicely, and shows Ferrari power and grace under acceleration through the 5-speed manual gearbox. The car sounds fantastic with the expected Ferrari V8 edge to the well muffled tone. Gearbox shifts cleanly and smoothly, new clutch engages progressively and the entire drivetrain shows the level of sophistication expected of an executive car. Handling is crisp and accurate with a reassuring stability. Torque steer is well controlled by the advanced front end geometry and suspension design.
Showing 153,287km (95,248 miles) on the odometer, the car is now in exceptional condition, properly imported with all accompanying documentation.
All details have been professionally attended to and this sophisticated, rare and refined automobile is fully sorted and ready to enjoy.