1955 Lancia Aurelia
Year of manufacture1955
1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
Chassis no. B24S*1007
Engine no. B24-1006
Race developed V6 engine, superlative handling and sensational Pinin Farina styling: these are the ingredients of a sports car classic and the Lancia Aurelia B24 has them all.
The B24 represents the ultimate development of one of the most influential designs to emerge from Italy post-WW2: the classic Aurelia. First car ever to employ a V6 engine, the Aurelia was launched at the 1950 Turin Motor Show. Designed in wartime by Francesco de Virgilio, the 1,754cc 60-degree V6 was of all-aluminium construction and used overhead valves operated via short pushrods instead of Lancia's traditional overhead-camshafts. An advanced unitary construction design, the Aurelia retained Lancia's 'sliding pillar' independent front suspension, first seen on the Lambda, but used a novel independent semi-trailing-arm layout at the rear, another world first. The transmission too, was unusual, comprising a two-piece prop-shaft and combined gearbox/rear transaxle on which were mounted the inboard brakes, reflecting Lancia's preoccupation with reducing un-sprung weight, though for once this was not an entirely new departure.
The 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 sportscar performance and saloon car practicality, can be said to have introduced the Gran Turismo concept to the world. The Aurelia engine had been increased to 1,991cc in 1951 and it was this unit in up-rated form that went into the B20. Lighter and higher geared than the saloon, the B20 coupé was good for a top speed of over 100mph. Introduced in 1953, the third and subsequent series B20s were powered by a 2,451cc, 118bhp version of the pushrod V6, and this unit was adopted for the B24 Spider introduced for 1955, by which time the Aurelia had gained a leaf-sprung De Dion rear axle.
Recognised as one of Battista 'Pinin' Farina's most beautiful designs, the B24 Spider was first shown to the public at the 1955 Brussels Motor Show. Built on the shortened chassis of the fourth series, the B24 Spider was powered by the 2,451cc V6 producing 118bhp and 127lb/ft of torque, which in a car weighing a mere 1,050kg (2,310lb) made for lively acceleration and a top speed of 115mph. In true spider fashion the B24 was spartanly equipped, featuring a painted dashboard; limited trim; no external handles; and only a basic hood and side screens by way of weather protection. Nevertheless, the Spider is considered much more desirable today than its more practical and more numerous B24 Convertible successor. The B24 Spider was produced during 1955 only, with 240 being completed, the left-hand/right-hand drive split being 181/59.
This Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America was tested and completed on 21st April 1955 and invoiced the following day. The car was originally finished in original Lancia 'grigio' with red leather interior, the same colour combination it has today. The current vendor purchased the Lancia in 1997 from Mr António José das Neves Ferreira de Almeida. Subsequently restored over a period of several years under the guidance of Lancia afficionados Leo and Jan van Hoorick, the work was carried out to a very high standard by Epoca Ricambi of Ciney, Belgium. Accompanying this car is an FCA Lancia Classiche report testifying to its originality and the fact that it is in good working order and in excellent cosmetic condition. The Aurelia also comes with a letter from renowned marque specialists Thornley Kelham stating that it is a 'matching numbers car with all mechanical parts rebuilt'. Fitted with the very rare original type 'Condor Electronic' radio and offered with one of the mere 25 hardtops produced by Thornley Kelham, the car represents a rare opportunity to acquire what must surely be one of the best examples of this rare model available.