Remembering the 1976 Lancia Scorpion

lancia scorpion

Put the Car on My Card

I still remember the excitement of purchasing my first car with a credit card. It was 1976, and I had just received my new AMEX credit card. As a car enthusiast, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could test the limits of this new financial tool. Up until then, I had always paid cash for the cars I bought, so financing my ride was a novel experience. The question was, would AMEX allow such a large charge for a car?

I confidently pulled out my card to charge around $8,000 for the car. The dealer, however, had never encountered such a transaction. He hesitated and called AMEX to verify this unconventional purchase. As he questioned me, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of excitement and anxiety. Despite the uncertainty, I had already fallen in love with the little sports car.

1976 Lancia Scorpion looks good.

You Never Forget Your First Lancia Scorpion

It’s strange how memories fade over time. When I was reflecting on my automotive adventures for the Piston Foundation’s blog, I nearly forgot about the 1976 Lancia Scorpion. You’d think I would remember my first time driving a mid-engine car or enjoying the Targa convertible top. Both experiences were a blast.

People often ask me, “Which car was the most fun to drive?” My Ferrari Daytona was exhilarating but only at high speeds. My first Porsche Turbo, on the other hand, had its own set of dangers due to the engine placement and oversteer. However, with the 4-cylinder Scorpion, I could push it to its limits without going overly fast. The thrill I experienced was different, focusing on balance and control. Lancia truly created a revolutionary car in the mid-70s, especially compared to the large American vehicles dominating the roads at the time.


I should have remembered the Scorpion more vividly, but it seems that not many people recall this marque. Lancia as a brand had its ups and downs in the US market, and less than 2,000 Scorpions made their way here. The name “Scorpion” was chosen because Chevrolet held the rights to the name “Monte Carlo,” the car’s European counterpart. Nowadays, it’s a rarity to stumble upon a 1976 Lancia Scorpion at a car show.

The Flame That Burns Twice as Bright, Burns Half as Long

The true joy of owning a car comes from the driving experience. Unfortunately, the Lancia Scorpion did give me some headaches. Being equipped with a Fiat engine, I often found myself in the shop, waiting for the car to be repaired at my own expense.

1976 Lancia Scorpion rear engine.

On the bright side, I never lost money when I sold my cars, including the Scorpion. This low-cost mid-engine sports car, designed and built by Pininfarina, was light years ahead of its competitors like MGs and Triumphs.

I am grateful for the memories the Scorpion has given me. Even the name itself brings back a sense of excitement. When I mention it to others, they often react with surprise and curiosity, not recognizing the marque. If you find yourself in a waiting room with fellow car enthusiasts, having a conversation starter like the Lancia Scorpion is always a bonus.

Robert P. Minnick is the founder and CEO of the Piston Foundation. Inspired by the cars in his life and the friendships they have forged, he created a national fundraising platform to preserve car culture. His ultimate wish is for future generations to have car experiences as memorable as his own.


Coming Soon


The 1976 Lancia Scorpion holds a special place in the hearts of car enthusiasts who appreciate its uniqueness and contribution to automotive history. Despite its limited presence today, the Scorpion’s legacy lives on through the memories and experiences it has provided to those lucky enough to have driven one. As we continue to celebrate and preserve car culture, let us never forget the joy that comes from the open road and the cars that take us there. Car news.

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