Sad Life of BR 669
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.
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.
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, email@example.com
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