40 SPRINGS – Despite itself, it hasn’t remained as famous as the car from which it derives, yet it was born from the same happy pencil. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Launch Prism is unveiled by the Turin house in December 1982. Exactly forty years have passed, and it is certainly worth retracing its history. All the more reason in a moment of great enthusiasm for Lancia, which is beginning to take its first steps towards writing its own future (here to know more).
A RELATIVE WITH A “CULKY” CHARM – The very successful style remains one of the main keys to the success of the Delta, a “stylish” two-volume medium that seemed made especially for the yuppies and madams of good Turin. The same cannot be said of her older cousin Launch Prismwhich while retaining theelegance of the car from which it mechanically derives (stylistically it was light years ahead of many competitors of the time such as the Opel Kadett, the Ford Orion, the Rover 200 or the Volkswagen Jetta), it has never managed to emanate that charm with the same power which, sometimes, only successes in racing manage to instill in a car (with the Delta, from 1987 to 1992, Lancia won six consecutive constructors’ titles in the World Rally Championship).
IT’S NOT “JUST” A THREE-BOX DELTA – Without going into subtlety, many are still convinced today that the Launch Prism it is nothing more than a Delta “with a tail”. Well, it really isn’t. Starting from engines petrol 78 bhp 1.3 and 85 bhp 1.5 (which, already at launch, were joined by a more perky 105 bhp 1.6 derived from Fiat) the mechanics are common, of course, but many – apart from the obvious ” addition” of the third volume to the car body – are the differences between the two models. Any examples? The steering wheel is of a specific design, as is the plank, in which the button for activating the headlights is housed; of unpublished shape are also the seats, upholstered in a rather refined fabric. Details that, in a certain way, highlighted with even greater clarity, compared to the Delta and Trevi, including the Prisma at the time entering the range of the Turin house, the elegant legacy of the great Lancias of the past.
THE FIRST DIESEL LANCE – Style and elegance aside, the Launch Prism can boast an important primacy. In 1984, in fact, it became the first model in the history of the Turin-based company to be equipped with a diesel engine: a “quiet” 65 bhp 1.9 four-cylinder engine is installed under the bonnet, already widely used on other models of the Fiat group. A year later, the range was completed by another diesel-powered engine, this time, however, more brilliant thanks to the adoption of a turbocharger with intercooler: the version 1.9 Turbodiesel The S can count on an output of 80 HP, enough to push it to the threshold of 170 km/h (the 1.5, for comparison, stopped at 165 km/h).
NEW LOOK, UNCHANGED ELEGANCE – In the 1986for the Launch Prismit’s time for a light “refreshed” to the look. The grille is raised slightly, the headlights are new and the design of the bonnet and front bumper also changes, now featuring a more generously sized grille and a slightly more pronounced spoiler. As far as the mechanics are concerned, the petrol engines fueled by a carburettor are equipped with a cut-off device which interrupts the petrol flow when the accelerator is released; the convergence of the wheels is also varied, and the relative inclination between springs and shock absorbers.
THE TOP OF THE RANGE – Always in 1986 debuts there 4×4 versioncalled “4WD” and, starting from the following year, “Integrale”, like its cousin Delta who was preparing to rewrite the history of rallies forever. What distinguishes it from the other models are the identification plates and the bodywork, embellished with two-tone paint (three combinations: light and medium gray, light and dark burgundy, platinum and brown). At the top of the range for equipment and performance, the four-wheel drive version of the Launch Prism it is powered by a 116 bhp 2.0 injection engine which allows it to go faster than 180 km/h. The scheme of permanent all-wheel drive: developed in collaboration with the Austrian Steyr-Puch, it is made up of three differentials, with the central self-locking one coupled to a Ferguson-type viscous coupling and the rear one which can be locked manually by pressing a button on the dashboard.
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