1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Convertible
Lancia gave its chief designer, Vittorio Jano, a clean sheet of paper when it replaced the Aprilia which had been the company’s mainstay since 1937. Jano, the man responsible for most pre-war Alfa Romeos, worked with a brilliant young engineer named Francesco de Virgilio. The result of their partnership, the Aurelia, was one of those rare cars which owed nothing to its predecessor.
When the Aurelia was unveiled it was, by common consent, the most superbly engineered saloon car there had ever been. A short wheelbase version, the B20, was third in the 1951 Mille Miglia and another was second in the 1952 event, splitting two Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘gullwing’ coupes. Later that year, the Aurelia finished 1-2-3 in the Targa Florio, a remarkable achievement for a production saloon car.
With such a record in racing, the Aurelia cried out to have an open sports version in the catalogue and, in 1955, Lancia duly obliged. Pinin Farina styled a sleek two-seater, baptised ‘Spyder America’ in deference to its main target market, which was a triumph of simplicity and elegance characterised by its distinctive panoramic windscreen and stylish quarter bumpers. Since the Aurelia had unitary construction, Pinin Farina made the entire body/ chassis unit which was one of the first jobs awarded to their new manufacturing plant.
The Aurelia underwent constant development and there were six distinct series. From the fourth series on, a de Dion rear axle replaced the original trailing arms. All B24 Spyders had the de Dion layout and the 2541cc version of the engine which was tuned to give 118 bhp. Top speed was estimated to be 115 mph (184 kph), but more important was its superb handling and road holding which made it unbeatable on country roads.
A mere 240 examples of the two-seat Aurelia B24 Spyder America were made (in both left and right-hand drive forms) as production was limited by the capacity of the Pinin Farina factory – and fewer still exist today. The combination of rarity, engineering excellence and Pinin Farina’s gorgeous body makes this superb car a blue chip investment.
Bonham’s Sale of #1004
This example was tracked down by Silvano Cima in America 20 years ago and imported to Italy, where it underwent a total, no expense spared restoration by KCA of Milan. Strikingly finished in its original metallic green with natural leather upholstery, its appearance enhanced by polished Borrani wire wheels, the car also boasts the high performance Nardi kit. Italian registered and ASI homologated, this is probably the finest Spyder America we have offered to date.
At their Les Grandes Marques a Monaco in 2005, Bonhams sold #1156. The top bid was 210 000 EU ($264 000 USD).
|submitted by||Richard Owen|
|type||Series Production Car|
|block material||Aluminum Alloy|
|displacement||2541 cc / 155.1 in³|
|power||88.0 kw / 118 bhp @ 5300 rpm|
|specific output||46.44 bhp per litre|
|body / frame||Unit Steel|
|f suspension||Sliding Pillars|
|r suspension||Semi-Trailing Links|
|top speed||~185.1 kph / 115.0 mph|
1957 Lancia Aurelia B24S Cabriolet B24S1264 – sold for $429,000. Documented History Confirmed by Francesco Gandolfi. Single Family Ownership and Care Since 1957. Among the Most Beautiful Open Pinin Farina Designs. Shown at Top California Concours, Proven on Pebble Beach Motoring Classic. One of Only 150 B24S Fifth Series Aurelia GT Convertibles Built. Auction Source: The Pebble Beach Auctions 2015 by Gooding and Company
1958 Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible B24S-1602 – sold for €313,600. One of only 521 produced. Fitted with a rare removable hardtop. Highly desirable Italian sports car of the 1950s. It is presently powered by a fourth-series B20 engine from 1955. Auction Source: Villa Erba 2015 by RM Sothebys
1957 Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible B24S-1333 – sold for €308,000. The Convertible offered here was built 9 May 1957 and then shipped to the United States. In 1986, following ownership by California enthusiasts, it was sold by future American Lancia Club President Steve Peterson to a collector in Germany. Later in the 1990s, it was treated to a five-year comprehensive restoration, which was performed by the marque specialists of B&R Touring Garage in Troisdorf, Germany, during which the body was refinished in its original colour of Grigio. After completion of the work, this car was selected to represent the model in the 100 Years of Lancia celebration at the Fiat Museum. Auction Source: 2014 Paris by RM Auctions