CAR tested one of these in 1982 and found that with an extra 10% of engine grunt, the 0-100km/h sprint improved to 9.1 seconds. Fuel consumption increased, of course, as did the exhaust noise, but it added to the sporting character. The tester raved: “In modern parlance, the Montecarlo is a state-of-the-art design by maestro Pininfarina, and wears its ‘PF’ crests with distinction and pride. It’s a very exclusive sort of car, and only about 100 or so units will be available in South Africa each year. Not only is it tremendous fun – and a real pleasure – to drive, but it turns heads everywhere. It’s that sort of car!”
As if such glowing reports weren’t enough of a brag, Lancia Montecarlo owners could claim to have a car with some race and rally skills, thanks to the antics of the fire-breathing Group 5 endurance racer and Group B rally Lancia 037.
The Group 5 Montecarlo Turbo was the first racing car entered by Lancia in eight years when it debuted at the 1979 Silverstone Six-Hours race. A silhouette car, the Montecarlo Turbo only shared the centre section of the body with the production Montecarlo. Power came from either a force-fed 1429cc or 1773cc four-cylinder generating between 440 and 490hp. It scooped the 1979 World Championship for Makes in the under 2-litre class and followed this up with the overall 1980 World Championship for Makes and 1981 World Endurance Championship for Makes titles.