The Ultimate Sleeper: 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32

This car is in Canada but it is so cool I can't resist posting. It was one of the fastest four-door sedans in the world.

The Lancia Thema was a relatively mild-mannered front-wheel drive sedan produced from 1984 to 1994 and was based on the Type Four Platform shared with the Saab 9000 and Alfa Romeo 164.

Then, in 1986 Lancia debuted the 8.32, which stood for an 8 cylinder engine with 32-valves from a 2927 cc Quad 4 Cam Ferrari V8. It produced 212 horsepower and rocketed the car from 0-60 in around 7 seconds.

The engine was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

With a body wrapped in Giugiaro's typically boxy and conservative styling and a Ferrari engine underneath the hood, this thing was a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I can't really imagine what this is like to drive. With power being directed to the front wheels, it must give the phrase 'torque steer' a new meaning. But, it's probably a hoot on the freeway.

Styling touches included special wheels and a retractable rear spoiler, among other details.

Inside, occupants were treated to a hand-made wood and leather interior. This one has Alacantra seats. Note the array of nifty round gauges in the instrument cluster.

The seller is clearly a fanatic and seems to know what they are talking about. They imply they are the second owner, the first being the original Italian owner, then the car was brought over to Canada where it resides now. They say the odometer is in kilometers but converts to around 73k original miles, and that the car has no rust, wears its original paint and was never smoked in. They say they have full service history from a garage in Ontario.

Only 3,971 Thema 8.32 cars were ever made, and the seller estimates this is one of possibly just two in North America.

Unfortunately, I don't see how anyone in the U.S. could enjoy this example, as the vehicle won't be be legal for importation until 2014 - unless the ban on importing vehicles 25 years old and newer is lifted. Make friends with a customs agent? Just let them test drive it?

Find it here on ebay in Toronto, Canada with a buy it now price of $22,900.

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