By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
The second generation Lancia Ypsilon was Introduced in 2003 and was produced until 2011. Like the Alfa Romeo MiTo it was a small three door car designed appeal to buyers who wanted something with a bit more style than the standard Fiat group offerings and who were prepared to pay a premium for it.
It quickly became the best selling car in the Lancia range with an annual production of over 60,000 units. Initially assembled at the Fiat plant in Melfi in June 2005 production was moved to Sicily at the plant in Termini Imerese Palermo until the factory was closed by Fiat. The car has a three-door body and the design was said to be inspired by the historic Lancia Ardea.
The unitary body used a shortened version of the Fiat Group B platform which underpinned the Fiat Punto , Fiat Idea and Lancia Musa. The engine is transversely mounted at the front, with front wheel drive. The usual smaller capacity Fire and Multijet engines were on offer.
The interior had plastic inserts on door panels and the instrument panel is covered with Airtex fabric, leather or Alcantara depending on the model. There is two-tone upholstery and plastic inserts mimic aluminium.
I don’t believe that the car was officially imported into the UK as the Lancia brand was withdrawn from the UK market in 1995 and has never re-appeared though the third generation Ypsilon which was made in Poland and based on the smaller Panda/500 minicar chassis was sold here badged as a Chrysler until 2015 when Chrysler pulled everything other than Jeep out of the UK market.
The model shown here is branded Abrex/Cararama and is diecast to 1:43 scale in China presumably at the Hongwell plant in Hong Kong. It is packed simply in a cardboard box with clear plastic panel to view the model and when it can be found in the UK it is often sold for significantly less than an Oxford Diecast 1:43 model. Like most Cararama models it is an excellent casting which has been well finished and detailed.
Looking at the front the Italian number plate with the EU symbol is very neatly printed as is the Lancia badge on the nicely reproduced grille. The main and subsidiary lights at the front are well modelled and separately inserted.
The interior is a black plastic moulding which has a lot of detail with a good dashboard and central console as well as nicely moulded door cards. There is no printing to highlight the interior and no attempt is made to provide two tone upholstery.
Along the side the wing mirrors are beautifully moulded and the alloy wheels well captured down to the small Lancia roundel printed in the centre. The black window surrounds and pillars are nicely done, printed on the plastic glazing insert. The momo DESIGN logo is neatly printed on the B pillar. The door handles are moulded into the casting but with undercutting giving them a realistic shape.
The anthracite coloured silk effect roof and rear hatch is painted really effectively and the roof has the typical Fiat group small aerial to the rear.
At the rear the high level brake light, number plate and Lancia badging is all printed finely. The rear lights are separately inserted and all painted the correct colours on the reverse.
Altogether an excellent budget model of an interesting car.