Villa Erba

27 May 2017

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Lot 123

1952 Lancia Aurelia B52 2000 Coupé by Vignale

  • Chassis no. B52-1054
  • Engine no. B21-1554

Sold for €280.000

Documents: Italian Libretto


  • Unique and stylish design by Rodolfo Bonetto for Vignale
  • One of only 98 Aurelia B52s built
  • Remarkable example of Transatlantic Style


In 1950, Lancia introduced the landmark Aurelia B10, with the first production V-6 engine, Lancia’s traditional sliding-pillar front suspension, a revolutionary multi-link rear suspension, and riding on Michelin X radial tires – another first. The following year, the Aurelia B21 was offered, with the engine size increased from 1.75 litres to 2.0 litres. In 1952, in keeping with Lancia’s practice of creating platforms on which coachbuilders could build custom bodies, the factory offered the B52 autotelaio, with a slight increase over the B21’s 2,860-millimetre wheelbase, and a 2.0-litre V-6. Only 98 B52s were built between 1952 and 1953.

This chassis, number B52-1054, was shipped to Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale, who built the body to the design of Rodolfo Bonetto. Rodolfo, nephew of famed Lancia racer Felice Bonetto, was an award-winning industrial designer at the beginning of his illustrious career, and his design beautifully illustrates the transatlantic design crosscurrents of the post-war period. The roofline and cabin shares its ‘house style’ with Giovanni Michelotti’s Aurelia B50 “Ginevra” for Vignale. Its visual lightness is reinforced by its contrasting silver roof. The front end, however, reflects the design’s international influence. With its distinctive central roundel and split-grille treatment, Bonetto’s grille treatment recalls Studebaker’s new designs for 1950, but in place of the American car’s chrome ‘nose cone’ is a central driving light. Equally remarkable are the taillights, whose cylindrical inset is nicely balanced against the articulated indicators above the bumpers, similar to styles shared with early Vignale-bodied Ferraris.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire a remarkable coachbuilt Vignale on the sophisticated chassis of the early Aurelias – a spectacular design that surely would be welcomed at both concours and touring events around the world.





• Carrozzeria unica ed elegante, realizzata da Rodolfo Bonetto per Vignale
• Una delle sole 98 B52 costruite
• Notevole esempio di stile transatlantico

Nel 1950 la Lancia introduce una delle sue pietre miliari, l’Aurelia B10, la prima vettura di serie con motore V-6, completa della tradizionale sospensione anteriore Lancia a foderi telescopici a cannocchiale, una sospensione posteriore rivoluzionaria a bracci diagonali e, altra novità assoluta, i pneumatici radiali Michelin X. L'anno successivo viene offerta sul mercato l'Aurelia B21, con la cilindrata aumentata da 1,75 a 2,0 litri. Nel 1952, in linea con la tradizione Lancia di creare piattaforme su cui carrozzieri potevano costruire carrozzerie personalizzate, la casa rende disponibile l'autotelaio B52, con un leggero aumento nel passo rispetto ai 2.860 millimetri della B21 e un motore 2.0 litri V-6. Saranno solo 98 i telai B52 costruiti, tra il 1952 e il 1953.

Questo telaio, il numero B52-1054, è stato spedito alla Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale, che l’ha abbigliato con una carrozzeria disegnata da Rodolfo Bonetto. Rodolfo, nipote del famoso corridore della Lancia Felice Bonetto, è stato, agli inizi della sua carriera, un designer industriale pluripremiato e questo suo disegno rappresenta, in modo splendido, le correnti stilistiche dello Stile Transatlantico del dopoguerra. La linea del tetto e quella dell’abitacolo condividono “lo stile casa” con l’ Aurelia B50 “Ginevra” creata da Giovanni Michelotti per la carrozzeria Vignale. La sua leggerezza visiva è rafforzata dal tetto colorato in tono contrastante, in argento. Il frontale, invece, riflette l'influenza dello stile internazionale. Con la sua caratteristica rotondità centrale e la griglia inferiore divisa, il disegno della griglia frontale disegnata da Bonetto ricorda il nuovo disegno proposto dalla Studebaker per il 1950, dove al posto del “naso cromato” proposto dalla vettura americana, è montata una luce centrale. Altrettanto notevoli sono i fanali posteriori, in cui l’aspetto cilindrico viene ben equilibrato dai marcati indicatori di direzione montati sopra i paraurti, simili nello stile a quelli utilizzati sulle prime Ferrari con carrozzeria Vignale.

Questa è una rara opportunità di acquistare un’importante vettura carrozzata da Vignale sul raffinato telaio delle prime Aurelia - un design spettacolare, sicuramente ben accolto sia ai concorsi sia ai raduni in qualsiase parte del mondo.

Alexander Weaver

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