Stunningly conceived as a marvel of engineering, coupled with exquisite design, the Lancia Aurelia delivered what continues to be recognized as one of the most sensational sports car platforms of the golden era of Italian automobile design. Brimming with features that remained state of the art for decades to come, Lancia offered these advances years before competing rivals dared to advance their cars. The genius of the Aurelia began with Vittorio Jano’s near complete disregard for cost constraints, developing a race-derived 2,451cc OHV V6 hemispherical head engine topped by a single Weber 40 carburetor which delivered 118bhp at 5,300rpm. The 4-speed manual rear-mounted transaxle combined with sliding pillar fully independent front suspension and De Dion rear suspension resulted in excellent weight distribution while state of the art 4-wheel hydraulic braking (inboard at the rear) delivered sensational and competitive performance even for moderately skilled drivers. In competition settings, the Aurelia platform proved itself at many notable European competition venues, often besting more powerful competitors, due to the superior handling of the well-balanced Lancia. In addition to these features, the Aurelia was among the first to be fitted with radial tires. As much as the new was heralded for the dramatic performance elegantly captured by the Pinin Farina body design - modern and classic, a combination that continues to entice collectors and enthusiasts nearly 70 years later.
The beautiful B24 body was crafted on a shortened wheelbase with clean lines unencumbered by excessive trim. The sleek fenders, low-mounted front and rear bumpers, a low-profile Lancia grille, and small doors, combined with the fluid fender lines and lightweight build philosophy, fulfilled the promise of performance and beauty. Built in limited numbers and rarer so today, a mere 521 B24 models were built. Production models were offered in both left and right- hand drive, reflected in the nomenclature as 'S' or B24S, for 'Sinistra' or left, rather than the commonly thought Spider designation. In addition to the significant improvements made in the model line after introduction in 1954, the convertible version improved on the spider version offering larger doors and delicately sculpted exterior door handles, a weather-proof convertible top, vent windows, and roll-up side windows. IN addition to these enhancements, the convertible also offered a vastly improved seating position and an improved gearbox and driveshaft over the spider variants.
According to the 2019 Lancia Chassiche certificate, this beautiful Lancia B24S was completed September 12, 1957, finished in Grigio over Rosso interior. The certificate further identifies the chassis number, coach number, body number, front suspension number, and differential number, which are all present on the car. The certificate goes on to cite the engine number which “matches with the first equipment”.
Though the earliest years of ownership are not yet known, the car was purchased in 1965 by an engineering student who recommissioned it after discovering it at a service station in need of repair. According to correspondences with a family member of the owner during this period, the intrepid engineer sent letters to Lancia inquiring about parts, eventually repairing it to good service. Though painted a different color at that time, the owner stripped the paint and refinished it in the original color using several coats of lacquer. In 1977, the car was advertised in Road & Track and was sold to its next owner, a Toronto, Canada resident who would amass 40+ years of ownership within his family. In 2015 the brake system was renewed including the rebuild of all four-wheel cylinders. The car remained in storage until sold to a dealer who sold it to the current owner in 2020. A set of Marchal driving lights were installed in 2020 and a new convertible top was installed in March 2022.
Today this beautiful Lancia B24S presents as an authentic combination of long-term care and thoughtfully restrained restoration. The body and paint, refinished to a high level several years ago, remain very nice throughout with excellent coverage, displaying a smooth and glossy finish, showing only minor road chips indicative of the current and prior owner’s joy using the car as intended. Chrome finishes are excellent and, while some aspects of the restoration have settled over time, the car has uniformly mellowed to a very satisfying presentation. The finishes and exterior details have been executed with a high level of craftsmanship including very nice body panel gaps and excellent closures. A set of Marchal road lamps are mounted to the front bumper, adding to the performance nature of these cars. The car sits on correct Michelin X 165R400 radials, one of the first production cars to offer radial tires as standard equipment. The wheels are properly finished with beautifully polished trim rings and wheel covers bearing the embossed Lancia name. The curved single piece windshield is clear and unmarked, while the side glass (still retaining date coded Sekurit etching) raises and lowers smoothly, and the vent windows pivot out properly. The gorgeous black canvas convertible top was professionally restored in March 2022 using correct high-quality canvas including a sewn-in crystal-clear rear window.
Inside the car, a rewarding combination of preservation grade finishes and gently aged interior features creates a very pleasant interior reflective of the years this car has been enjoyed by passionate enthusiasts. The dashboard and instrumentation are exceptionally well maintained featuring correct, original large dial Jaeger gauges, authentic switches, proper finishes, and a warmly hued wooden rim steering wheel fronting the twin gauges. The red leather seats have been more recently reupholstered, using just the right amount of inner bolster support, sewn with correctly pleated panels and piping. Door panels and inner panel coverings are nicely finished with proper fasteners and trim, including the chrome door pulls, chrome window cranks, and door latch handle. A set of red vintage style seatbelts have been added. The newly installed black canvas convertible top has excellent headliner, proper top bow fabric wrapping, and excellent latching mechanisms. The top raises and lowers with ease, latching tightly against the windscreen header. The carpeting is original to the car and remains quite nice, aided in preservation by a set of black and red coco mats. The trunk compartment houses a correct spare tire, factory blue jack, and inner lining materials that appear original including the correct diamond stitched panels and removable tire and battery access panels.
The engine compartment is a wonderful combination of restored features and original components, many of which still bear their original finishes. The overall harmony of the engine is honest, authentic and in areas that have been refinished, they have been performed using correct factory finishes, proper wiring, and hoses, all of which have a combined patina befitting the history of this car. The engine is outfitted with the correct Weber DCL5 downdraft two-barrel carburetor, dual snorkel air intake, and the cooling system retains the rare metal radiator flap mechanism which operates under thermostatic control. Much care has been allowed to authentic surface treatments and correct finishes on the artfully exposed aluminum castings. The resulting combination of engineering excellence and enthusiastic interest in driving this car is exhibited in the heart of this wonderful Lancia, making lifting the hood an impressive statement of engineering prowess and decades of passionate motoring.
The chassis has been nicely finished, though not to show standards, with correct and extremely rare original type dual exhaust and mufflers bearing proper finishes and coatings. No visual evidence of structural damage is evident which is consistent with the history recorded by the long-term family owner and subsequent owners. Engine and gearbox finned castings are in excellent condition as are the suspension components, inboard brakes, and other features. When studying the underside of this car, the remarkable artistry of Lancia engineering and cost-no-object directives of Vittorio Jano is evident even in the smallest details.
Driving manners in this wonderful Lancia reflect the quality and care it has received by the previous and current owners. The smooth and satisfying driving experience is enhanced by looking over the twin fenders, centered by the lovely hood scoop, inviting the driver to imagine Italian countryside roads, wineries, and sunset arrival at a charming pensione. The sophisticated engineering, rear mounted 4spd transaxle and clutch, DeDion rear suspension, V6 Hemi head engine, with sodium cooled exhaust valves, and many other innovative features, all contribute to legendary performance and delightful driving.
The car starts and runs quite well, with excellent throttle response. Oil pressure and running temperatures are excellent. The clutch and brakes operate as they should and no pulsating from the brakes. The gearbox works as expected, with no synchromesh issues, and a quiet first gear. The suspension and steering are generally good though the steering could benefit from adjustment. The car is accompanied by a factory jack, tool kit in tool roll, a Nardi twin carburetor performance kit including an intake, air cleaner, carburetor mounts, and various hardware, extensive photos and ownership documentation from the long-term family owners, and selected service records.
ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED SPORTS CARS, COUPLED WITH EXCEPTIONAL ENGINEERING, THIS LANCIA B24S OFFERS A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR THE NEXT FORTUNATE ENTHUSIAST TO ENJOY AND DRIVE A REMARKABLE EXAMPLE UNSPOILED BY THE RAVAGES OF TIME. Thoughtfully preserved with just the right amount of restoration and loving care, this Lancia is ready for the next fortunate owner to enjoy just as the talented and passionate craftsmen at Lancia intended for their distinguished clientele.
Note: the car is currently titled as a 1958, even though it was produced as a 1957 model.