While the Lancia of today produces only a single model of car sold only to its home market, it is important to remember that the marque has a truly fascinating and rich history, pioneering many automotive firsts in both pre- and post-war automobiles with an illustrious list of results throughout many disciplines in motorsport. Easy to overlook by those who are not students of automotive history, Lancia has a fervent following of fans spanning the marque’s entire 116-year history, and their cars are renowned for their character and Italian flair. Whilst Italian marques like Alfa Romeo and Fiat are well-known to the public, today, Lancia ownership signifies a deep appreciation of Italian automobiles; these are cars for true connoisseurs and enthusiasts. If you are looking to exude automotive passion with an Italian flair, surely there can be no better automobile?
Amongst its most celebrated models is the humble Aurelia. This was the first production car with a V-6 engine, and the first provided with radial tires. It combined Lancia’s torsionally stiff unit-body construction and traditional sliding-pillar front suspension with a rear transaxle and a multi-link rear suspension.
First introduced in 1950, numerous updates were introduced over the years, ending with the sixth series of the model—whose specification included improved sound deadening for additional road comfort—as well as added features such as opening front quarter windows. When production of the Aurelia concluded, it boasted an engine displacement of 2,451 cubic centimeters (introduced in the 3rd series) and a DeDion rear axle (introduced in the 4th series). This 6th series example, bearing chassis number B20-3857, was also fitted with a desirable Nardi floor shift, and it boasts a fascinating history in its adopted home of the United Kingdom.
One of only 25 B20s imported by the UK distributor Lancia England Ltd., chassis 3857 was first registered as “5 LME” on 2 July 1957, and it is accompanied by its original buff logbook. Chassis 3857 was retained by Lancia England as a demonstrator and press car, and a road test of the car (a copy of which is on file) was featured in the 8 November 1957 issue of Autocar, who said of the B20: “In appearance it is classically stylish without need of ornament, and the general standard of finish, of both bodywork and mechanical components, is almost beyond criticism; without doubt it is one of the most desirable sporting cars of the decade.”
In 1992, chassis 3857 was sold to an Italian owner who had the car fully restored in Italy, as photographically documented in the car’s comprehensive history file. In 2008, 3857 returned to the UK, at which time it regained its original 5 LME registration and was recommissioned by marque specialist Omicron Engineering. It was subsequently entered in the 2010 Mille Miglia Storica, a testament to its usability on the road. More recently, in 2019, the car was comprehensively serviced by Thornley Kelham, a leading Aurelia specialist. The car was recently driven by an RM Specialist who noted that “it is a great car for touring. Capable of keeping up with modern traffic, it sounds fantastic. Most importantly, you can explore the best of the car’s performance without getting into trouble. We drove it on Les Journées d’Automne in 2022 and it was a genuinely lovely driving experience. Tight, rattle free, it is a spectacular example of Lancia’s renowned engineering.”
This lovely Aurelia represents the opportunity to acquire a well-known and well-sorted Lancia gran turismo, eligible for important historic events… and fully capable of handling them in style.