1957 Lancia AureliaAurelia B20 GT Coupé Series VI
Year of manufacture1957
- One of just 25 UK-market right-hand-drive examples
- Retained by Lancia UK as a press demonstrator; featured in period road tests in The Autocar
- Restored in Italy; retains its matching-numbers chassis and engine
- Mille Miglia eligible; accompanied by FIVA and HTP papers
Please note if this vehicle is exported outside of the UK an export license will be required.
Lancia’s Aurelia platform impressed from the moment it was first unveiled to the public in 1950. Developed under the direction of gifted engineer, Vittorio Jano, the model—named for the ancient 239-mile Via Aurelia that linked Rome and Pisa—was bristling with industry-leading technology and clever thinking. From its unitary body construction and ingenious rear transaxle to the world’s first production V-6—a jewel of an engine with hemispherical combustion chambers and in-line valves—the Aurelia was quick, comfortable, and handled better than almost anything in its class.
It was also the car that marked Lancia’s transition from small coachbuilder to mainstream manufacturer, and while the Aurelia initially broke cover in four-door Berlina guise, from the second year of production buyers could opt for the rakish B20 GT. Effortlessly stylish in its sharp two-door configuration, the coupé was a timeless shape that stood out even in the most glamorous company. It also had performance to match the looks, thanks to the introduction of an uprated 1,991 cc variant of Francesco de Virgilio’s groundbreaking V-6.
There would be five major revisions leading to six distinct series during the Aurelia’s life. Among the more notable changes was the introduction of the 2,451-cc engine with the Series III, and the move from semi-trailing arms to a De Dion tube rear suspension with the Series IV—but it was the final Series VI variant that would prove the most usable and refined. Not only did it benefit from the technological advancements of the earlier series, the run-out model also featured a number of subtle revisions ranging from improved sound insulation to opening quarter-light windows.
Chassis B20-3857 is one of these special Series VI examples, in addition to being one of just 25 right-hand-drive versions imported via UK distributor, Lancia England Ltd. First registered as “5 LME” on 2 July 1957, the Aurelia was retained by Lancia England as a demonstrator and press car; it would famously feature in the 8 November 1957 issue of The Autocar, where it was described as “without doubt one of the most desirable sporting cars of the decade”.
Sold to an Italian in 1992, chassis 3857 was subsequently restored in Italy, a photographic record of which can be viewed on file. The car returned to the UK in 2008, whereupon it was reunited with its original registration number, “5 LME”, prior to being recommissioned by Omicron Engineering. In 2010 it took part in the Mille Miglia Storica, and in 2019 it received a comprehensive service by marque specialist Thornley Kelham. Most recently the car successfully completed the 2022 Les Journées d’Automne.
With its beautiful restoration, fascinating period history, rare right-hand-drive configuration, and desirable Nardi floor-mounted gearchange—not to mention its eligibility for some of the world’s most exclusive rallies and events—this Lancia Aurelia B20 GT has it all. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/lf23.