1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America by Pinin Farina
$950,000 - $1,250,000
RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 24 - 25 AUGUST 2018
- Offered on Friday
- One of only 240 examples built
- Matching-numbers example
- Desirable Nardi dual-carburetor kit
- Multi-tour participant, including Mille Miglia Storica, Tour Auto, Colorado Grand, and Copperstate 1000
Introduced in 1950, the Lancia Aurelia was an engineering tour de force featuring monocoque construction, four-wheel independent suspension, with Lancia’s traditional sliding-pillar front suspension and multi-link semi-trailing-arm, coil spring rear suspension. The car was propelled by the first production V-6 engine, driving through a rear clutch and transaxle with integrated inboard brakes, and was delivered on radial tires – another production first.
Lancia asked Pinin Farina to design and build an open sports variant of the Aurelia, and the resulting stylish Spider debuted in 1955 at the Brussels Auto Show. Built on a shortened 4th Series platform, the Spider featured the revised 4th Series rear suspension with a De Dion tube on semi-elliptical leaf springs, and came standard with a floor shift, unlike the standard column shift of the closed cars. The new model’s 96.5-in. wheelbase gave it a near-perfect weight balance and flawless road manners. A wrap-around windscreen necessitated the use of side curtains, but gave the car a lithe, rakish look, enhanced by pronounced rear haunches and split bumpers, front and rear.
Only 240 of this model were built in Pinin Farina’s newly opened Grugliasco production facility – 59 in right-hand drive (B24) and 181 in left-hand drive (B24S “Sinistra”). In 1956, responding to a demand for greater creature comfort, the model was redesigned as the Aurelia convertible, leaving the spider as a limited-production model that expressed the artistic, agile, and sporting version of what was originally intended.
Like most of the left-hand B24S Spider Americas, chassis no. B24S-1156 was originally delivered to the U.S. The most significant portion of the car’s history began in the mid-1980s when it was acquired and reimported to Italy by Silvana Cima, a well-known Italian Lancia collector. In order to return the car to active use, Cima commissioned a complete mechanical and cosmetic restoration from Milan-based KCA, for many years one of the world’s leading Lancia restorers. The grigio car was repainted in an original Lancia Verde Ascot Metallic color that sets off the rare optional Borrani wire wheels, and the interior was upholstered in a contrasting tan leather interior.
On its return to the road in 1989, Cima entered the Spider in the Mille Miglia Storica, the Tour Auto, the Sanremo Rally, Monza Revival Rally, and the Gira di Primavera, among other events, over the course of his two-decade ownership of the car. In 2005, 1156 was sold to Nico Koel of the Netherlands. In Koel’s ownership the car’s rally use continued, participating in the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti and Modena Cento Ore Classic. In early 2009, the car was brought back to the U.S., where it was displayed at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Monterey, California.
The Aurelia was then acquired by the current owner in 2010. And although the car presented remarkably well 20 years after its restoration, it was given a complete, engine-out mechanical overhaul to ensure that its performance matched its appearance. The car received approximately 500 hours of thorough reconditioning to engine and transaxle, as well as the fitting of a new fuel tank. The car retains its full weather equipment, including the framed glass side curtains with vents, as well as its original tool kit. Importantly, the engine wears dual 40 DCZ-5 Weber carburetors on a special intake manifold and air cleaner by Nardi & C., which gives approximately 130–132 bhp – a substantial increase over the 108 bhp of the U.S.-specification single-carburetor version. Over the past two years it has since been subject to a complete bare-metal repaint, a new interior and new top, the chrome was refinished, and the front suspension, shocks, and brakes, have been fully rebuilt. Continuing its extensive tour history, the current owner has completed the Colorado Grand and Copperstate 1000, each twice and without issue.
Aurelia Spider no. B24S-1156 is listed in the Registro Aurelia Italiano and holds a FIVA identity card and an Italian Certificato di Omologazione. Nicely documented, rejuvenated, and detailed, 1156 is ready for both concours and vintage rally events at the highest level. A true masterpiece of Lancia engineering and Pinin Farina styling, this beautifully presented Spider America is one of the greats of mid-1950s Italian automotive design. It is a stunning example that will richly reward its new owner, whether being spiritedly driven on road events or displayed on a concours lawn.