There were some differences of opinion as to what Mystery Car 116 is. I knew exactly what it was, but some of you from other parts of the world called it something different. That made me wonder if I had guessed it incorrectly. So … as I gobbled down my Buffalo Chicken sub sandwich from Dibella’s last Saturday, I read Wikipedia’s article and found the answer.
[Mystery Car 116] “was a two-door convertible called the [Lancia Beta] Spider (or Zagato in America). In brochures Lancia spelt the name with a “y” rather than an “i” possibly to differentiate the car from the Alfa Romeo Spider. The Spider used the coupé’s shorter wheelbase and featured a targa top roof panel, a roll-over bar and folding rear roof. Early models did not have a cross-member supporting the roof between the tops of the A to B Pillars. Later models had fixed cross-members. The Spider was designed by Pininfarina but actually built by Zagato. Number built: 9390.
They were produced in the 1970’s and 80’s. The Beta line came with a variety of DOHC 4-cylinder engines ranging from 81 hp carbureted to 135 hp with a supercharger. Some articles say that the Spider/Zagato only came with the 1600 and 2000 cc engines. I’ve not driven one yet, but the sound of the engine in the YouTube video below makes me want to! The performance may not have been incredible (0-60 mph in 9.5 sec), but that exhaust note might just make up for it. Have any of you driven one?