Rumour mill: Lancia Fulvia on the way back?

News that Alfa Romeo parent company Fiat has done a deal with Mazda that will finally see a return of the iconic Spider based on the same rear wheel drive underpinnings as the fourth-generation MX-5 (or Miata as it is known in certain parts of the world) has led to whispers of a possible return of sister company Lancia's equally legendary Fulvia as well. 

Fiat won't officially be drawn on the rumours out of its Turin headquarters over the weekend, but insiders close to the Italian car maker's boss Sergio Marchionne say there is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the Fiat/Mazda co-operation, with one suggesting that the MX-5 platform would provide the perfect basis for a production version of the well received Lancia Fulvia concept first shown at the Frankfurt motor show back in 2003.

"The Fiat deal with Mazda opens up all sort of possibilities, and not only for the return of the Alfa Romeo Spider. We are looking at other aspects that may provide increased economies of scale, not only on a component sharing level but also in the area of production. Whether Lancia and a possible resurrection of the Fulvia is included in that is something I can not comment on at this time," a long time Fiat employee told TheAutoInsider.

Our take: Lancia's at a low ebb, but this is just what it needs to set it back on track. Imgaine: a 300bhp turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder Multi Air engined powered Lancia Fulvia HF, complete with the superb retro design touches of the 2003 concept car, the sort of rear wheel drive handling traits that makes the Mazda MX-5 such a delight to drive and a six-speed double clutch gearbox to boot.


What if? Mini Zero Concept

They're not officially sanctioned sketches, but this is what former BMW Design Works designer, Sonny Lin, reckons a future entry level Mini model could look like.

Updating the retro look of today's hardtop with a more contemporary design that retains all the traditional elements that made the original such a hit for over 40 years, the Mini Zero, as Lin has christianed his creation, is described as being longer than the official Rocketman concept but shorter than today's Cooper hardtop.

Our take: Just what Mini needs to fend off advances from cheap European hatchbacks like the Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and 108. Go with it Munich . . . 

Like this: Mercedes-Benz 220 SE touring car

Who said the Germans don't understand fun? The guys and gals from Mercedes-Benz's Classic division clearly do, as evidenced by this: a 220 SE from 1964 that has been constructed to contest classic car events. Looks like it'd be a handful, but we'd be willing to give it a go. Look for the 220 SE racer at this year's Goodwood Festival Of Speed beginning 28 June and running thu 1 July.

BMW Z4 Zagato Coupe

BMW's design team has co-operated with famed Italian design house Zagato on a new aluminium bodied coupe version of the second-generation Z4. Revealed at the Concourse Villa d'Este held on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, the new car is described as a one-off but behind the scenes Zagato is pushing to pursuade BMW to allow it to place the so-called Z4 Zagato coupe into low volume assembly. As it is based on standard Z4sDrive35iS underpinnings, it would be a relatively straightforward exercise. Even so, our sources suggest the new car would likely cost up to double that of its roadster sibling. BMW is apparently talking with Zagato about lending help with body construction, with insiders suggesting it could end up being clothed in carbon fibre panels rather than the aluminium panels of the car seen here. Power comes from a reworked version of BMW's turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder N55 engine with a claimed 400bhp - up by 60bhp on the standard Z4sDriveiS roadster.