Monterey

Monterey Conference Center
18 - 20 August 2022
Lot 235

1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America by Pinin Farina

Offered from the Oscar Davis Collection

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$885,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

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Chassis No.
B24S-1157
Engine No.
B24-1209
Documents
US Title
  • One of only 181 left-hand-drive Spider Americas produced; a fine example of Lancia’s most celebrated sports car
  • A high point of post-war Italian styling and thrilling performance
  • Retains numbers-matching V-6 engine
  • Appealingly finished in white with red interior and color-matched red wheels
  • Ideal for rallies and driving events worldwide, including the Mille Miglia Storica, the Colorado Grand, and the California Mille
language

Created under the guidance of Vittorio Jano, who had developed some of the great Alfa Romeos of the pre-war era, the Lancia Aurelia featured a pioneering V-6 engine—the first such production example—paired with a transaxle gearbox for optimal weight distribution. The brilliance of the Lancia Aurelia was hardly limited to the sports cars built on this innovative platform. The vast majority of Lancia Aurelias were coupes or four-door sedans; thanks to their advanced underpinnings, these practical cars are still praised for their engaging performance.

When Lancia did apply the Aurelia platform’s attributes to a purist sports car, however, the results were spectacular. Introduced in 1954 and built for just two years, the Aurelia B24 Spider America was intended in large part to capitalize on the export market (as its name clearly suggests). It benefitted from the improvements implemented for the Aurelia’s fourth series, including a more potent 118-horsepower engine; it also rode on a sprightly wheelbase shorter than that of standard Aurelias.

On this truncated wheelbase, Pinin Farina draped its perfectly proportioned bodywork. Rightly praised today as a jewel of post-war design, the Spider America features a prominent hood scoop and defined rear haunches that immediately suggest athleticism; these features are balanced by the subtle split front and rear bumpers—which flank the proud, shieldlike Lancia grille in the front—and a delicately framed panoramic windshield. Notably, the car lacks exterior door handles, contributing to its uncluttered look.

This sense of purpose continues inside the cabin, where the suite of instrumentation has been condensed to just three gauge clusters: A large, round speedometer positioned just ahead of the wood-rimmed steering wheel, with smaller circular clusters on either side displaying a tachometer and fuel and oil gauges. Switchgear, too, is at an absolute minimum, leaving little to distract a driver from the road ahead. Should inclement weather arise, a basic fabric top and curtain windows could be fitted, but this was by design a car best enjoyed in the open air and sunshine.

In total, just 240 B24 Spiders were built from 1954 through 1955, with 181 being of left-hand-drive, or Sinestra, configuration. The B24 Convertible that followed was, with its permanent convertible top, roll-up windows, and door handles, arguably better suited to daily driving duties than the minimalistic roadster. For those seeking the ultimate blend of pure, uncompromised styling and thrilling driving dynamics, however, there is simply no substitute for the B24 Spider America.

A CHERISHED B24S

The Oscar Davis Collection evolved considerably over the decades alongside its proprietor’s automotive tastes, yet there were a handful of models so captivating that Davis would revisit them time and time again. The B24S Spider America was, for obvious reasons, one such model.

This car, chassis number B24S-1157, was acquired by Davis in 2004. Build information on file notes that this car was completed in October 1955, the final year for the model, and it was originally finished in Grigio over Arancione leather. At the present little more is known about its earlier years, though it has retained its numbers-matching engine (stamped B24-1209) to the present day. Over the decades it is believed to have made its way through at least two large American collections before being added to the Davis stable, with its colors changed to suit their desires.

When purchased by Davis, the Lancia was finished in silver over blue; he would also leave his mark upon the car with a color change, albeit for very personal reasons. Its present livery of white with a red-trimmed interior and red wheels mirrors that of the first B24S Spider America Davis owned, and parted ways with, some time ago.

This Lancia's next owner will find it to be a spirited companion on an enviable list of tours, rallies, and driving events—indeed, it is eligible for many of the world’s best, including the Mille Miglia Storica. Campaigning aside, this car represents something truly special: groundbreaking engineering, thrilling driving dynamics, uncompromised purpose, and undeniable rarity all wrapped in the beautiful styling of Pinin Farina.

Few cars hit all of these notes quite so deftly, making this 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America an irresistible opportunity.