The Monte Carlo was designed by Fiat in conjunction with Pininfarina was a big brother companion model to the little X1/ 9. The decision to market the car as a Lancia was taken in 1973 in the midst of the fuel crisis, when it was felt the car wouldn’t sell in sufficient volume to make it a viable Fiat model. Launched in 1975, the Monte Carlo was the first car to use the new Beta 2 liter twin camshaft power plant, mounted transversely and positioned slightly ahead of the rear axle line. Low slung and chunky, the first Beta Monte Carlos had solid fins enclosing the rear engine lid. On later cars these incorporated a glass panel. The bodywork was built, as well as styled, by Pininfarina. The car got good reviews, although many felt it deserved more power, because the handling and road holding were so good. In the USA, the car was marketed as a Scorpion. A question mark over the brakes dogged the Monte Carlo throughout its short life. With servo assistance on the lightly laden front end only, there was a tendency for the front wheels to lock up too early in the wet.
Talk like this couldn’t have helped sales, which were so slow that Fiat felt compiled to withdraw the car from the production in 1978. It reappeared again in 1980 with some minor trim revisions and better brakes, but by then Lancia had lost heart. They pulled the plug again just a year later.