Sad Life of BR 669

Dear Huib,

As BR 669 was found
As BR 669 was found

Thanks for the 'encouragement' on the Gamma story. It worries me to think about the future as I am really not sure about her fate. Worse come to worse, if I cannot afford the rent (for parking) anymore I'll have to break it, which I understand is a crime.

My love for the Gamma dates back to 1980 when I work in a bank next to a Lancia showroom, there is a coupe always on display and I visit there regularly after lunch. I still remember the slogan for the advertisement is : The Most Italian Italian Car, which is really a fine description.

I first met 'her' in the street, sometime in 1982, there she was parked in a meter carpark with time overdue. I waited for a while for the owner to come back but he/she never appear. So I drop a coin into the meter and left!

Few years passed, I saw BR 669 again lying in a garage, heavily covered with dust. I talked to the guys there and they said there was problem with the gearbox. I made an offer to help but they didn't trust me. The mechanic argued that even the agent cannot help and wonder what could I do about it. Little did he knew that the agent was only interested to sell the car and not helping back street garage to repair the car. After that I went pass the garage regularly and saw her there, nothing was done.

One wheel refuses to turn
On her way home

Then one day I saw a pretty woman getting off from BR 669, its back on the road ! I approach the lady and made an offer (for the car, not her !!!) but we can't make a deal. Through our conversation I realised that she was the wife of a film director and that the first owner was a very popular actress.

Sometime in 1988 a friend of mine told me that there was a very stylish Lancia in where he lived. A quick rushed to the parking lot and I found her again, beautifully sitting there with glamours. I took a picture and it is still in my office up to this day. Unfortunately I could not afford another car cause I was bit by the Italian bug and already had an Alfa GTV 6, a Monte Carlo, a Beta coupe and an X1/9.

In 1990 I finally got myself a Gamma, not BR 669 but one that I have never seen before, but that's another story, CB 1038 is still with me now.

Then a friend of mine in the name of Gordon (later I learnt that he was not a friend at all) told me that he bought a Gamma, and that's her. I then heard from other people that she change hands again because there were gearbox problem. The new owner, who is a Japanese didn't know that there was problem. But it was not the gearbox that was lethal, the cambelt snapped on a highway and she never turn a wheel with her own power again.

I heard about the story and asked Gordon if he could let me have the contact of the Jap. He refused to help. I later heard that the Jap decided to scrap BR 669 but fortunately finally sold it to a film director who is famous for collecting cars from scrapyard. But the Jap didn't told John about the engine so John tried to start it. More damaged was caused.

I learn about this in 1995 and approach John through a friend, but he didn't want to sell.

One wheel refuses to turn
One wheel refuses to turn
Finally at home
Finally at home

4 years had passed and I am not sure about the fate of BR 669. Then one day I met a chap who drives a Delta turbo. We chat for a while and I told him that I have a Gamma. He mentioned that his friend had one too but is not a runner. It happened that On is a photographer and he knew John. Then came the message that John wanted to get rid of some of his collection. A deal was made without second thought and there she is now lying in my stable. Thanks On.

I first bought BR 669 with the intention to remove the leather seats, grille and sun burst 15" wheels to my Gamma, but I later found that she is not that bad so I am offering her to someone sympathetic enough to give her a new life. I decided to sent her overseas to either Australia or Japan because people there are more interesting in classic cars and the weather in Australia means BR 669 have a better chance to survive. Unfortunately the car came without any documents but I will try to see if there is anything I can do about it if I found a perspective owner.

I'm not sure about her fate but I'm glad to see her now living under a shelter with another Gamma coupe and a few other neighbours from the same country........

Keith Lam, Hong Kong,

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