Lancia Montecarlo Buyers Guide
There are a number of aspects to be considered when buying a Montecarlo. The problems begin with the relative rareness of this car.
There are still good original examples available with reasonable mileage. However these tend to command a high price, with pristine examples selling for between 6000 and 8000 UK pounds ($9500 to $13000). At the bottom end of the scale, there are cars going for scrap value only. These are often a good buy as a donor car.
Irrespective of the condition of the car, the buyer should take some care selecting the right car.
Below are some pointers to anybody considering to purchase a Lancia Montecarlo. These are only guidelines and the prospective purchaser should take it upon himself/herself to check the car very closely.
The basic problem, like most Italian cars of this period is rust. It cannot be stressed sufficeintly how important it is to check closely for rust. The usual areas like the bottom of doors and wings should be checked, as should the following:
The sills are constructed in three parts, the outer, inner and middle parts. Due to a design problem, water can get trapped in the sill and create major problems before the problem is noticed. Check that the two drain holes are clear and everything seems solid. One side-effect of the rust is the door starts to drop. Whilst you may expect some drop in the door of a car this age, if the door does not fit easily then there is a probability that the rot has spread to the bottom of the door pillar.
Fortunately all of these parts are re-manufactured and can be cheaply obtained.
There is a plastic coating on the floor which cracks and allows water in. If the coating is still original, then there is a good possibility that you will have trouble.
This area catches a lot of people out. The only remedy to rust in this area is to strip off the complete protective coating, repair the holes and re-seal it.
Stripping the old coating off can be done by blasting, or just by using a conventional decorators scraper. Beware of applying heat, as the old coating is potentially flammable.
Unfortunately, there are no repair sections for the floor that I have found. The only route open at the moment is to make up repair sections to fit your holes. It is imperative to weld all around the new plate and not just spot-weld it.
It is quite common for the front bonnet to rust both on the skin and the supporting framework. There are replacement skins available, but currently there are no complete items.
When you are at the front of the car, check the main beam that goes across the front and supports the bonnet hinges. This is also prone to rust, but can be replaced.
Like most of the rust problems with the Montecarlo, this rust trap is also caused by poor design. Essentially the rear turrets where the struts mount the body are double skinned. Due to inadequate sealing water can creep between the two skins causing the turret to rust away.
The first sign you will have that something is wrong is when rust becomes visible. At this stage you are very liable for the strut to break free!
One suggested delaying tactic for this problem is to drill a small hole in the outer skin and inject some rust treatment (WaxOil) compound into the void.
Like most older Italian cars, most electrical problems can be traced back to poor earthing.
There are some specific areas that give cause for concern, and may be expensive to repair.
The exhausts fitted by the factory will all eventually break. There is a single flexible joint to take all the strain of the engine movement. You should check this joint thoroughly as well as the general condition of the system.
The series 1 Montecarlos were very prone to locking the front brakes in the wet. The front brakes are set up with a servo to assist their operation, the rear brakes do not use the servo.
To relieve this problem Lancia removed the servo from the second series of cars, thereby giving better feel and balance to the brakes.
Owners of series 1 cars can either bypass the servo making the car more like a series 2. I have heard of people fitting a rally style balance box to adjust the braking force. A lot of people fit Tarox brake discs to the front to increase the braking force available before lockup.
It is vital that you check the brake pipes for signs of corrosion. Check to see whether the pipes and the hoses have been replaced, if they have not then this will require immediate attention. The rear pipes travel from a T connector to just above the wishbones, and these regularly get covered with road dirt. These pipes will be corroded and should be replaced before they fail. Similarly, if the rubber hoses are original these will almost certainly be ready for replacement. See Technical Tips for some further advise on changing brake pipes.
The suspension generally gives little trouble. Most parts are still available at a reasonable price, with a couple of notable exceptions. The ball joints in the rear wishbone will eventually go. To replace the wishbone will set you back about 500 UKP ($800); however an X1/9 wishbone can be modified as a temporary measure. Similarly the struts are very difficult to acquire and cost a fortune to replace. Check both these areas very carefully.
Last updated: 2000-11-05