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Classic Flashback: The Ferrari-Powered 1986 Lancia Thema 8.32


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Classic Flashback: The Ferrari-Powered 1986 Lancia Thema 8.32



All the talk about the Fiat Group's plans to re-badge the redesigned 2011 Chrysler 300 (see our high-res gallery here) and re-brand it as the Lancia Thema in Europe, brought to mind the original Thema of the mid-1980s and -1990s, and especially, the Ferrari V8-powered 8.32 model.

Introduced at the 1984 Turin Motor Show, the Thema was Lancia's flagship sedan, sharing the "Type Four" platform with the Fiat Croma, Alfa Romeo 164 and the Saab 9000.

Shaped by the hands of Giorgetto Giugiaro, the boxy sedan model featured a 0.32 drag coefficient, which was an impressive figure at the time. Being a luxury model, it featured a comprehensive list of standard and optional features, including automatic air conditioning and heated seats wrapped in leather or Alcantara.

It also came with a wide range of engine choices, while in 1986, Lancia enhanced the range with the introduction of the Pininfarina-styled Station Wagon. All in all, Lancia sold a total of 358,000 examples of the Thema between 1984 and 1994.

Two years after the launch of the model, Lancia executives decided to step it up a notch with the presentation of the Thema 8.32, perhaps better known as the "Thema Ferrari". The Italian Q-car was fitted with a 3.0-liter 32valve V8 engine (hence the 8.32 in the name) sourced from Ferrari. Power was sent to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.

There were two Thema 8.32 models, the Series 1, which was produced from 1986 to 1988 and featured a 215HP version of the Ferrari V8, and the Series 2, built from 1989 to 1992, which came with catalytic converters and was rated at 205 hp.

The Ferrari-powered Thema completed the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 6.8 seconds (Series 2: 7.2 seconds) and achieved a top speed of 240 km/h or 149mph (Series 2: 235 km/h). At the time, some argued that the available 2.0-liter turbocharged model was equally capable in terms of performance, while being lighter and more agile than the 8.32, but that's another story.

The styling of the Thema 8.32 was rather discreet with exterior upgrades being limited to the different grille, tailpipes, gold/yellow pinstripes on the sides, a retractable rear boot lid spoiler and the alloy wheel designs. Inside, the flagship Thema offered buyers a full leather treatment (or Alcantara) along with a wood trimmed dashboard featuring unique gauges and a three spoke leather steering wheel.

A total of 3,971 Thema 8.32s were built, out of which 32 Series 1 and 32 Series 2 models were offered in a special Ferrari-red finish. You can check out some used examples from Europe in the links below.



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