1958 Lancia Aurelia
Year of manufacture1958
Chassis numberB20 3953
Engine numberB20 5345
Number of seats2
1958 Lancia Aurelia B20GT 6th-Series Coupé
Coachwork by Pininfarina
Registration no. WSV 684
Chassis no. B20 3953
Engine no. B20 5345
A rare UK-delivered model with floor shift, '3953' boasts the desirable attributes of matching numbers, few owners, low mileage and full history. '3953' is one of only 25 B20s imported by Lancia England and was first registered to Ernst Bent in Peterborough in July 1958 according to the original buff logbook. It was then owned by a Reverend Fairbrother in Devon for over 20 years before passing through the hands of two further owners, both of whom were Lancia Club members. The B20 was added to the vendors' collection in 2008 and has recorded only 79,000 miles from new.
A bare metal body restoration had been undertaken in 1989 amounting to some 750 hours, involving the replacement of sills and wheelarches, all of which is receipted. The vendors bare-metal repainted the car again to a high standard in 2010, and replaced the door and bonnet skins. All new body rubbers and weather stripping were used, all chrome parts re-plated, and a new windscreen installed. Unusually for one of these cars, it retains all of its 'jewellery' such as the gutter trims, often missing from other examples. The fog lights were restored, new headlights and new-old-stock rear lamps installed, and the whole car Dinitrol rust protected.
Remarkably smooth and refined, these later 6th series cars benefit from all of the many modifications introduced by Lancia during the B20 production cycle. These include enhancements to trim, suspension, gearbox and, of particular note, the prop shaft and clutch, which are less likely to get out of balance, a weakness of the earlier cars. Buying a late car is therefore a shrewd choice.
The engine is described as powerful and in good health. Only 12,000 miles have been covered since a receipted complete rebuild by Tanc Barratt, which included new pistons and liners and hardened valve seats for unleaded fuel compatibility. In the current ownership the engine has enjoyed filter and oil changes every 1,000 miles as well as a new coil, HT leads and an overhauled distributor. The cooling (radiator, water pump and all hoses) and braking systems have been overhauled and the Weber carburettor and fuel system rebuilt. An Omicron mechanical clutch conversion has been installed. With the exception of this and a complete stainless steel exhaust system, the car is said to be 100% original in specification (the original hydraulic clutch mechanism is included in the sale). The engine bay is beautifully and correctly detailed throughout, a rare sight nowadays as so many Aurelias lack authenticity in this regard.
The interior of this B20 looks and smells just right, unlike so many which have non-original trim. It is delightfully original, even down to the rubber matting, preserved in excellent order, rear seats and door cards. The front seats' faces were recovered in the correct grey cloth in 1993 and a new headlining was fitted in 2010, again in the original material. The wood rim wheel was re-lacquered at the same time. A period Blaupunkt radio completes this exquisite interior. The boot too is entirely original down to the inner wing diamond-stitched trim, rubber mat, spare wheel and jack.
In their original test of the B20, Autocar said that the standard of finish of both coachwork and mechanical components was almost beyond criticism, and remarked that the Aurelia was exceptionally invigorating to drive, all of which holds true today for this exceptional example, which has proved to be totally reliable while in the vendors' ownership. Representing a rare opportunity to purchase a B20 of the very highest quality, 'WSV 684' is currently taxed and comes with history file, original owner's manual, dealer directory and V5 registration document. A car that ticks all the boxes, it is eligible for many of the most prestigious historic motoring events including the Tour Auto.