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1952 Lancia Aurelia B53 Cabriolet Carrozzeria Speciale
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
Chassis no. B53-1083

One of the most influential designs to emerge from Italy post-WW2, the classic Aurelia was the first car ever to employ a V6 engine. Launched at the 1950 Turin Motor Show, the original B10 saloon was joined the following year by the landmark, Pinin Farina-styled B20 Coupé, a fastback '2+2' on a shortened wheelbase which, with its combination of sports car performance and saloon car practicality, can be said to have introduced the Gran Turismo concept to the world.

Models with longer wheelbases and larger engines in various states of tune followed, while to cater for independent coachbuilders Lancia produced a platform chassis, designated B50 or B51 (with different gearing/tyres) and powered by the standard 1,754cc 56bhp V6 engine. With the announcement of the B20 Coupé, a 2,000cc engine was introduced, which was also made available for the platform chassis, designated B52 or B53 (again depending on gearing/tyres). It is estimated that fewer than 90 B53 chassis were produced.

According to information supplied by the Centro Storico FIAT, this beautiful Lancia Aurelia B53 Cabriolet left the factory on 21st October 1952. Further research revealed that it is a 'Carrozzeria Speciale' by Pinin Farina, indicating that the body is most likely a one-off; indeed, it is a much sleeker and considerably more modern in appearance than the standard B50 Cabriolet. A most elegant and exclusive example of Pinin Farina styling at its best, it afforded the prospect of open-top motoring for the whole family.

Believed to have been finished originally in dark red with a matching leather interior, the car was changed in colour while in the ownership of a previous owner, a Mr O'Rourke from London, who owned it in the 1990s. The Aurelia then passed to a Mr Ron Francis, again in the UK. When Mr Francis acquired the car, it had a Lancia B20 engine in a very poor state of repair, which he replaced with an over-bored B12 engine. At that time the car was painted bright red. Mr Francis sold the Lancia to its current owner in April 2005.

The new custodian commissioned a comprehensive restoration, which was undertaken between 2006 and 2008 by well-respected Lancia specialists, Omicron Engineering Ltd. They refinished the car in its current shade of light blue (arguably much more attractive than bright red) while carefully preserving the dark red leather interior, which is believed to be original. A new dark blue hood was fitted at the same time.

The Aurelia comes with UK V5C registration document, restoration documentation, copy email from Centro Storico FIAT, and two original photographs taken by Pinin Farina when the car was new.

Very few of these Lancia Aurelia B53 Cabriolets were constructed, and even fewer have survived, making this example an ideal candidate either for continental touring or Concours d'Élégance events where it will surely be enthusiastically welcomed. Rare and desirable, this coachbuilt Lancia represents a wonderful opportunity for the discerning collector.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department