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News: Beta Meeta 50th Anniversary 2022
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SanRemo78
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« on: March 01, 2021, 06:53:18 PM »

Hi all, I've been lurking in the peripheries of this forum for about 5 years now and have been a member of the LMC sine 1987 or thereabouts. A few of you will know me and my activity on this forum has been looking for various parts over the years suitable for Stratos replicas. More of that later! Quick history, I started with a Fiat 126 back in 1978 and scrap yarding for parts I came across a Beta HPE in one yard, I guess it would have been a very very early one and I loved the shape. I moved on to a Fiat 127 for a year until a colleague made me an offer I couldn't refuse and I ended up buying my first Beta, a lovely red 1600 HPE S2FL (PFY2T) that had been Zeibarted from new, used for 2 years, px'd for a Ford and sat in a showroom for the next 5 years or so. I paid £1400 for her. The second Beta was W plate Coupe 2000, low mileage but a front end write off. A weekend's work (whilst the parents were away) saw a double transplant and PFY2T became a 2000HPE! The Coupe supplied a few spares and was scrapped.
My third Beta was a not so lovely 2000 Coupe in red. For the princely sum of £200 I bought a car that was rotten to the core, had a dodgy MOT and I let the seller keep the radio and paid full asking price. PFY3T became the donor car for my Transformer HF2000. The engine was rebuilt by myself but sold before installation when I came across a C plate HPE VX in a Bolton scrapyard, another accident damaged car. 30 years later I still have the Stratos replica and it still has parts from the original donor car! The gear lever, wooden gear knob, glove box lock but probably more surprisingly, both driveshafts and 3 of the 4 CV joints! They really can take a hammering if regreased regularly.
I still had the original HPE when the Stratos was completed but it had suffered a bit over the years. An accident resulted in new wings, bonnet and lower panel and a full strip and respray. The bumper and brackets survived which is more than I can say for the Cortina I rear ended. Oops. Whilst I was at it the original mustard interior was swapped out, dash and all, for a later blue/grey interior. I guess the car met it's end in about 1992 when I'd got the mileage to about 130k and it had suffered panel damage to both rear wings. One side was repaired following a tyre delamintation at 70mph but the other side was taken out by an errant trucker whilst parked up. It went to Sir Lancialot in px against a spare pair of new old stock Beta HPE doors. I kept the registration number and it's been on all my subsequent cars including two Beta HPE VX's that followed. The first one got the two doors and paint to replace the rotten ones but unfortunately there was the usual rot elsewhere so it ended it's days broken up for spares for the third HPE VX which I ran until the early 2000s.
It's surprising how much you remember about the cars having fully rebuilt one and stripped another and done most of your own maintenance over the years which is why you'll have seen me posting on a few threads over the last 5 years or so when a memory kicks in!
So what followed Beta ownership - apart from the ever present Stratos? Well, a couple of Alfa 164's have been used for donors for the Stratos drivetrain over the years but the last Beta was replaced by a Renault Clio 1.4RT. The only good thing I'll say about that is that it held it's value very well over 3 years when px'd against an Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf - 13 years, 165k and 2 breakdowns, still on original shocks and clutch it was sold (should have kept it!) and replaced by a Fiat Grande Punto Sporting until I could find the car I have now, an Alfa Romeo 159 Ti 2.4 Q4. We think there are 4 in the UK with a total of 30 odd non Ti cars in saloon and wagon form the Beta is still more numerous on the UK roads!
There is another project in the garage at the moment in the form of Stratos 2 which was a drunk eBay purchase for my retirement. That's progressing now I'm retired and the plan is to finish it and sell it and plough some of the cash into a new engine for Stratos 1.

At Christmas I did something really really stupid. I spotted a car for sale in Italy and, not thinking that I might actually like it myself, posted a link on the LMC forum. In retrospect I should have deleted it because that became an itch that needs scratching and by the time I'd realised that I needed to do something about it and rang the dealer in Turin it was too late. The car had sold the day before. I think the car in question is headed for the UK and I've been keeping my eyes open on various websites in case it surfaces but it'll be way out of any budget I have I think. At least based on the LHD 1600 Coupe brought in by FulviaClassics recently that sold very quickly. It was a 1984 one owner metallic blue 2000ie Coupe with an automatic box and RHD with 34k km on the clock. Had it been manual I don't think I would have thought twice. Never mind. One day I'll scratch the itch and find another Beta Coupe....

Guy
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Hawk HF3000 - Square Arch Stratos Replica - owned since 1988.
Hawk HF 3000 - Round Arch Stratos Replica - Under construction.
Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
Nigel
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 07:09:33 PM »

Lovely story Guy!

I hope you find your Coupe!

Nige
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1984 2.0 Carb HPE [ex Aus] Silver..turning to Grey Finanza.
2007 Mazda 6 2.3 [current daily, highly recommended]
The past:
1980 2.0 HPE White in South Africa [hope it survives!]
1976 1.6 Coupe Lancia Blu [PFG 76R] [probably deceased]
oh,and an Uno Turbo 1997 also in SA [stolen,never recovered]
mangocrazy
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2021, 08:03:23 PM »

Great story, Guy. Your mention of Stratos 1 & 2 piqued my interest. I've had a hankering for a Stratos rep ever since I saw the real thing on the (I think) 1978 RAC rally. It made an indelible impression on me, and I probably only saw it for about 10 seconds max before it disappeared from view. Everything else was just so pedestrian in comparison.
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1980 Lancia Beta Spider 2000 (S2FL)
2002 VW Transporter T4
2017 KTM Duke 690R
2008 Aprilia SL1000 Falco
1992 Ducati 888 SP3
1988 Honda VFR750F
1980 Yamaha RD350LC
SanRemo78
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2021, 08:56:39 PM »

Thanks for the comments! So, Stratos.

First memories are seeing them on the Lombard in '77 and '78 but they disappeared for a few years as careers and uni took over but interest was rekindled in 84 at the LMC AGM in Birkenhead where there were two. The idea of building a kit car arose after rebuilding the Beta and I fell for the shape of the Nova. I saw one of those at a Southport show and when I found out the underpinnings were a Beetle. Enough said. Come 1985 and Transformer Cars & Allora Cars launched their versions of the Stratos. Three years later I'd managed to save enough for the deposit on a Transformer which I collected from Frant in 1988 and three years later it hit the road in it's first iteration and, over the years it's developed roughly along these lines:
Firstly, a red Stradale in RHD with a Volumex engine/box. Which I blew up at Aintree racecourse in 1995 in spectacular style whilst playing tag with a Ferrari. It was only an oil seal on the crankshaft but the clouds of smoke it produced when it burned off the exhaust was amazing! It got me a lot of sympathy from the Ferrari driver which was great because I managed to blag a 20 minute session as a passenger in a 1963 250GTO.
So, sitting at home was a 1991 Alfa 164 with a 3.0V6 that had cost £1400 due to a heavy rear end shunt. Drivetrain and a few bits removed and the remains sold to Ireland for £1100 was a result. so out with the Volumex (sold to another Stratos owner) and in with the V6 with a fitting kit from Hawk Cars. At the same time the bodywork was converted to square arch Group 4 bodywork.
A couple of years later I converted from the 4 stud hubs to 5 studs so I could fit the coffin spoke wheels that the Group 4 car is known for.
Then, when the windscreen was broken at a club do (no idea how!) it was time to ditch the Stradale interior and replace the dash with a Group 4 style one. And whilst the screen was out a repaint was called for and it reappeared in Pirelli livery.
Roll on a couple of years and the engine was shagged. And a nice Cloverleaf one appeared for a good price so it was swapped out with a Q2 limited slip diff fitted at the same time.
I managed to get involved with a fellow replica owner when he managed to buy an ex works Stratos that needed a full restoration and we went out to Italy together to bring it back to the UK to finish it off properly. Here's a linky to a 15 minute video about the car. It's a special one worth watching and I even get a credit in the titles at the end!
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1753772791598144
Whilst we were in Italy I managed to buy the components to allow me to build up a set of Group 4 gauges. That saved me about £8,000. Yes, really! So, having got that and the rest of the components (like 7 Bosch pull switches at about £80 each) I set about building the best replica Group4 Stratos dash I could. And there's no point doing that as RHD so it involved converting the car from RHD to LHD. Not a simple job but doable on the earlier chassis! So, that's where it stands at the moment. But it's not finished yet.
In the pipeline is yet another motor, probably a 3.2 (although if Stratos 2 sells well) I may take that out to 3.8 with a set of vertical throttle bodies on a Group 4 airbox.

Guy
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Hawk HF3000 - Square Arch Stratos Replica - owned since 1988.
Hawk HF 3000 - Round Arch Stratos Replica - Under construction.
Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
SanRemo78
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2021, 09:15:19 PM »

And Stratos 2.

Over the years you tend to build up a stock of spares, I'm sure a lot of people here are familiar with that. Bought when you don't need them but the price is right. And then one week an unstated kit appeared on eBay but it didn't reach it's reserve price and was relisted a week later with no reserve and a 1p start price. Having thought about it and reviewed the parts stocks I realised I didn't need to buy too much more to finish it and a last minute bid (remembered to bid when I got back from the pub) saw a winning bid of about £10500. A week later the kit was collected from the other end of the M62 and installed in the garage in Liverpool. A week after that the donor car was delivered. Another 12v Alfa 164 and it was rusty. Not as bad as a bad Beta but way beyond repair. It had been off the road for a decade and the dash was out. Not an auspicious start. But the velour interior was immaculate attesting to the assertion it had been stored indoors all that time. So we chucked a battery on it and disconnected the coil, put the key in and it actually cranked! Stored without coolant and good oil it was deemed worth removing and sending for a strip for inspection which showed excellent heads and no internal corrosion so it was rebuilt. Same for the gearbox but with the addition of the Q2 LSD. I've so far managed to assemble the car to a rolling chassis with the drivetrain installed and there is stopped for a couple of years whilst I awaited retirement.It will restart in a few months as soon as I'm over the removal of a tumour and half the thyroid and the plan is to build it to round are Group 4 spec in RHD with Alitalia livery, run it for a short while to iron out any bugs and then sell it to fund improvements to Stratos 1 and the purchase of a Beta Coupe. I'm watching all the usual for sale sites including Italy and if the right car turns up I'll be putting a Beta back in the garage. LHD doesn't scare me any more but structural rot does, it's the one aspect of classics I haven't got sufficient experience of and don't have the inclination to acquire!

Guy
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Hawk HF3000 - Square Arch Stratos Replica - owned since 1988.
Hawk HF 3000 - Round Arch Stratos Replica - Under construction.
Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
Neil-yaj396
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1979 1300 Coupe


« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2021, 09:10:34 AM »

Guy

The IE Coupe for which you posted the link was bought and imported by a chap in Surrey. It's waiting for the end of lockdown to have a dating inspection. I can sense the owners frustration at not being able to get out on the road in it just from his emails! Sounds a great car, but as you say the autobox will, wrongly in my opinion, put many off.

(I co-ordinate inspections by LMC for cars needing a dating certificate for DVLA. Lancia's production records are as eccentric as the brand and not normally recognized by DVLA, who often demand an owners club inspection...)

Neil
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SanRemo78
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2021, 09:58:39 AM »

Good to hear it's been imported by an individual who wanted it and not a dealer for profit! I've done an LMC inspection too - on a Stratos unsurprisingly! After all these years I think I can spot the real deal from a replica!

Guy
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Hawk HF3000 - Square Arch Stratos Replica - owned since 1988.
Hawk HF 3000 - Round Arch Stratos Replica - Under construction.
Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
mangocrazy
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2021, 05:23:28 PM »

Fabulous stuff. At some point I may have to make a pilgrimage to view your Stratos's (Stratii?)

Graham
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1980 Lancia Beta Spider 2000 (S2FL)
2002 VW Transporter T4
2017 KTM Duke 690R
2008 Aprilia SL1000 Falco
1992 Ducati 888 SP3
1988 Honda VFR750F
1980 Yamaha RD350LC
SanRemo78
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2021, 05:24:39 PM »

Anytime after lockdown Graham!
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Hawk HF3000 - Square Arch Stratos Replica - owned since 1988.
Hawk HF 3000 - Round Arch Stratos Replica - Under construction.
Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
mangocrazy
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2021, 05:27:17 PM »

Anytime after lockdown Graham!

Deal!  Grin
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1980 Lancia Beta Spider 2000 (S2FL)
2002 VW Transporter T4
2017 KTM Duke 690R
2008 Aprilia SL1000 Falco
1992 Ducati 888 SP3
1988 Honda VFR750F
1980 Yamaha RD350LC
Sandro
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2021, 09:50:21 AM »

Great experiences Guy, thanks for sharing them, they make great reading.
 Smiley

I hope that you find your coupé.

Best Andrew.

 
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GerardJPC
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2021, 07:44:53 PM »

Hi Guy, can I interest you in my 1979 1600 Coupe?  I like it very much, but I have gone a bit Flavia-ish and have a 2000 HF Coupe to look after now, so money and space require me to sell the Beta.
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1979 Beta 1600 Coupe

1962 Lancia Appia Series 3 Berlina, 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe 1800, 1974 Lancia 2000 HF Coupe, 1981 Lotus Eclat Series 2 (project), 1982 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza, 1982 Moto Morini 350 Sport, 1983 Land Rover Series 3 88, 2009 Jaguar XK 5.0
SanRemo78
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2021, 09:01:26 PM »

Thanks Gerard, but not at this time. Once I've reduced the fleet in 12 months time I'll be starting the search for the next Beta, hopefully a VX Coupe, RHD or LHD, not that fussed! I may even buy enough cloth to retrim one when the group buy goes ahead!
Guy
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Hawk HF3000 - Square Arch Stratos Replica - owned since 1988.
Hawk HF 3000 - Round Arch Stratos Replica - Under construction.
Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
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