The 500,000-mile Lancia 2000 Sedan

PetrolBlog didn’t do a lavish end-of-year awards ceremony, or a look back at the highlights of 12 months just gone. But if you asked me to pick a favourite article from 2013, it would undoubtedly be the nostalgic piece on the Lancia 2000 Sedan.

As I’ve mentioned previously, of all the cars my father owned, it’s the Lancia 2000 Sedan which I remember the most fondly. It therefore came as no surprise that this trip down memory lane delivered a one-take, straight from the heart blog post.

A few months after I wrote the piece, I received an email from Italy. It was the kind of email that makes this blogging thing seem worthwhile. It was from an Italian owner of a Lancia 2000 Sedan, and it started like this:

“Never before have I come across such a ‘love letter’ addressed to a car such as the one you wrote about the Lancia Sedan or Berlina.”

Rear of Italian Lancia 2000 Sedan

Gianfranco complimented me on my reference to Ingrid Bergman, before going on to say:

“Believe me, I too am a crazed ‘lover’ of this car, and can understand that such a description can only come from the heart of a child who is extraordinarily happy – and – further down the road – the victim of an incredible disappointment!”

The email was written by a Mr Gianfranco Calissoni, who I’ve since found out has owned his Lancia 2000 Sedan since 1975. Rather apt, given that this was the year of my birth.

Mr Calissoni is clearly a man of good taste. Not only did he buy a Lancia 2000 Sedan in 1975, but his previous car was a Fiat 124 Abarth Rally. PetrolBlog salutes you, Gianfranco.

Fiat 124 Abarth Rally

Gianfranco worked in the pharmaceutical industry and the Lancia was pressed into active daily service. For years, it became his ‘home on wheels’ and – as Gianfranco puts it – his ‘love nest’.

Today, the mileage stands at a staggering half a million. So much for Lancia’s reputation for fragility and decline. Yes, you read that right – 500,000 miles.

Gianfranco would have purchased a 2000 Sedan sooner, as he first set eyes on one when working in the Dolomites. It was finished in a golden colour, complete with a green velvet interior. Sadly for Gianfranco, the price was too high…

But as luck would have it, he received a call from a doctor friend two years later. He was selling his Lancia 2000 Sedan and had a feeling Gianfranco would be interested. Two day later the Lancia was safely tucked away in Gianfranco’s garage at his home in Bolzano, not far from the Austrian border.

Lancia 2000 Sedan in Italy

Fast forward 39 years and this rather wonderful ‘Ingrid’ – as Gianfranco calls it – is ‘sleeping’ soundly in a garage in northern Italy.

This year, Mr Calissoni will celebrate his 80th birthday. It’s quite remarkable that half his life has been shared with one car – the quite delightful and beautiful Lancia 2000 Sedan.

I have been invited out to Italy to ‘have a drive in her’, a remarkably generous offer and one I intend to accept. They say never meet your heroes, but in the case of Ingrid Bergman, it’s a risk I’m prepared to take.

I must say a huge thank you to Gianfranco for the emails, photographs and, of course, the kind offer of a test drive. His outpouring of love and affection for his 1970s Lancia really shines through. Here is a man who has quite literally lived with a car he fell in love with and was able to subsequently purchase. He has stuck by it through thick and thin, and the fact that it has completed a quite astonishing 500,000 miles is a testament to Gianfranco’s attentions.

It’s the perfect embodiment of the PetrolBlog spirit, where emotions are allowed to rule over common sense. Let the motoring world raise a glass of Castrol to help celebrate his 80th birthday. The world needs more people like you, sir.

We should also recognise our good friends over at Black Steelies, who have named the Lancia 2000 Sedan as the coolest car in the world. Oh yes.

Lancia images © Gianfranco Calissoni. 124 Abarth Rally © Fiat.

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Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.


  1. January 8, 2014

    What a wonderful story. Always envious of people who’ve attained such mileages in cars they love – always makes me wish I owned a car that I could hold onto for the rest of my life.

    Thanks for the link to Black Steelies too – I’d visited there in the past but forgotten about it. That one is now bookmarked!

    • January 8, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      You and me both, Antony. I get too excited about finding low or ultra-high mileage cars, but I’d love to get to Gianfranco’s age having owned a car for half my life.

      Better start now…

      And no problem re Black Steelies. It’s a cracking site.

  2. January 8, 2014

    Great story. I always wonder if there is an element of ‘Trigger’s broom’ about such high milers i.e. has he had to re-build it several times!

    • January 11, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      That’s something I intend to find out later in the year. Stay tuned, etc, etc.

  3. January 9, 2014
    Philip D

    thanks! love this Lancia! My dad owned a Fulvia sedan of the same era and he drove it from 1970 till 2000…I now own a Lybra, bought new in 2000 and up to now have covered 327,000kms with it up to now with no breakdowns. and not one spot of rust – I live in Switzerland Shame that Fiat are not properly nurturing the brand and are investing all their eggs in Alfa…

    • January 11, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Another epic story of Lancia reliability. Fair play to you and the car.

      And I’m impressed that another Lancia sedan was deemed good enough to say in the household for the best part of 30 years.

      If only my father had kept his 🙁

  4. January 12, 2014
    Seventies era Lancia 2000 Sedan with 500000 miles | The High Mile Club

    […] found this article over at Petrolblog yesterday.  Here we have the Italian tale of a Lancia 2000 from the seventies. I’m not sure […]


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