1952 Lancia Aurelia B52 Coupé by Vignale
€325,000 - €375,000
- Unique and stylish aluminum coachwork
- Designed by Giovanni Michelotti for Vignale
- One of 98 B52s built; the first of seven Vignale-bodied coupés
- Fitted with a number of desirable Nardi performance upgrades
- Featured in the book The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties
This special Aurelia was completed on 24 March 1952 and shipped to Vignale, where it received this beautiful Michelotti-designed body. Chassis number 1015 incorporates horizontal wing vents with a chrome strip that ends in a slight haunch ahead of the rear wheel arches and culminate in subtle, raked fins. Single headlights with driving lights flank a simple ‘egg-crate’ grille, alongside elegant bumpers with depressed centers and tapered ends. This grille treatment was shared with another Vignale-bodied B52 (chassis 1026), as well as a Ferrari 212 Inter coupé built by Vignale in 1952.
It is believed that the car was owned by Gina Lollobrigida, who sent Alfredo Vignale a signed photograph, dated 7 June 1953, and inscribed it to “il più bravo carrozziere d’Italia”. It is also thought that the car appeared in the 1953 film La Provinciale.
Sometime thereafter, the Lancia was acquired in Geneva by a Mr. Dovaz, a young Parisien who quietly accumulated and number of interesting automobiles. He stored them on a farm in Villemarchal from 1964 to 1983 when he moved them to a friend’s Chateau in Bagat-en-Quercy. In 1989, about two dozen cars, including B52-1015, were transferred to a private museum in Sarlat, where they remained before the collection was dispersed. The Lancias were sold to Giorgio Schon and in 2002, Paul V.J. Koot purchased this car, in unrestored condition, as documented in Ard op de Weegh’s book The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties.
From 2004-2005, the Aurelia was comprehensively restored by Carrozzeria Granturismo Milano. At that time, the car received a desirable ‘Nardi conversion’, which consisted of a special intake manifold with twin-carburetors, special camshaft and pistons, all of which were available in period. To accommodate the new induction system, a bonnet scoop was added. The car also received special, period-correct Borrani wire wheels, the original, restored wheels also remain with the car.
Following restoration, ownership was transferred to Norbert Heijke in July 2006, who kept the car until April 2013. During this time, the car was shown on a number of occasions, receiving awards at the 2006 Concours d’Elegance at Paleis Het Loo, the 2012 Classic Days Schloss Dyck, and was named Best of Show – Coupé at the 2012 Essen Motor Show. It passed through two subsequent owners before being acquired by the consignor in January 2015. The Lancia was then shown at the Essen Motor Show in December 2018, where it was again awarded Best of Show.