The Lancia Montecarlo is a mid-engined sports car which was produced by Lancia in Italy from 1975 to 1982.
Cars from the first series, which were produced from 1975 to 1978, were known as Lancia Beta Montecarlos and those from the second series, produced from 1979 to 1982, simply as Lancia Montecarlos. In both cases Montecarlo was spelled as one word, unlike Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco. Both series were offered in Coupé and Spider versions, the latter featuring a unique roll-back manually operated targa style convertible top. A low-power version of the Spider, known as the Lancia Scorpion, was sold in the United States during 1976 and 1977.
Based on the prototype Abarth 030, the Montecarlo was known as the X1/8 (later the X1/20) while in development, and was intended to be a Fiat-branded 'big brother' to the Fiat X1/9. It had a similar mid-engined layout, with a larger engine and roomier interior. The car was passed to Lancia, and was constructed by Pininfarina, the original design company, in Turin, Italy.
Total production amounted to 3,835 first series Beta Montecarlos, 1,940 second series Montecarlos and 1,801 US market Scorpions.
The Montecarlo was a successful turbocharged Group 5 racer and was used by Lancia to win the FIA's World Championship for Makes in 1980 and again in 1981. Hans Heyer also won the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in 1980 at the wheel of a Montecarlo. Rallying
The Montecarlo was the basis for Lancia's successful Group B rally car the Lancia 037. The 037 retains the center section from the Montecarlo but little else. Its supercharged engine, while still mid-ship, is mounted longitudinally rather than transversely as it is in the Montecarlo.
The American market Lancia Scorpion was sold in 1976 and 1977, and was modified to meet American emissions, lighting and crash test requirements. The car is so called because the name Monte Carlo was already used in America by Chevrolet.
The Scorpion differed from the Montecarlo in a number of ways. It had a smaller engine (1756 cc) because the 1995 cc unit in the Montecarlo did not pass U.S. emissions standards. Between the decrease in engine size and the addition of smog equipment, the Scorpion delivered just 81 hp (60 kW) vs. the 120 of the Montecarlo. The Scorpion had different bumpers to meet American crash tests and semi pop-up headlights with the 1976s having solid rear buttresses (Montecarlos had glass inserts except for very early models). All Scorpions featured the convertible top. Unlike the Montecarlo there was only one production run of Scorpions. A total of 1,801 were manufactured in 1976 and sold as model year 1976 and 1977 (1396 and 405 respectively).