1938 Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet By Pinin Farina


€160,000 EUR | Asking

Italy | Milano, Italy



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Identification No.
Italian Libretto
  • Highly eligible for participation in leading historic events, including the Mille Miglia Storica
  • Rare coach-built, open variant of Vincenzo Lancia’s forward-thinking Tipo 239 Aprilia
  • Powered by a clever and compact 1,352 cc narrow-angle V-4 engine
  • Accompanied by a 1000 Miglia Registro acceptance letter and medallion, FIVA identity card, Lancia Club certificate, and toolkit

Few engineers made as considerable an impact on the future course of the automobile as Vincenzo Lancia, the gifted driver, designer, and founder of the eponymous Italian marque. A man whose light was tragically extinguished too soon, his brilliance was underlined by his final and most innovative creation—a machine that entered production just weeks after his death at the age of just 56—the Lancia Aprilia.

Fine-tuned in the wind tunnel of the Politecnico di Torino under the watchful eye of Battista Farina, the ground-breaking Aprilia was a marvel of modern design belied by its restrained, streamlined bodywork, beneath which lay a raft of innovative engineering solutions. Among them were fully independent front and rear suspension and hydraulic brakes, revelations that could be traced back to the 1923 Lancia Lambda, plus a jewel of a narrow-angle, overhead camshaft, 1,352 cc V-4 engine that produced 48 horsepower. An astounding machine that would have taken the world by storm were it not for the more egalitarian Citroën Traction Avant, clever packaging and ingenious design resulted in a kerb weight of around 850 kg, a top speed in excess of 80 mph, and remarkable fuel efficiency of 28 mpg.

Alongside the conventional four-door Berlina, more than 4000 Tipo 239 Aprilia platform chassis were built between 1937-1939, each destined to receive coachwork from the world’s leading carrozzeria. Among them was chassis 39-2637, one of just 1796 of its type to leave the firm’s Turin works in 1938 and of only a select number to be bodied in the transformabile convertible style by Pinin Farina.

First registered in Italy on 19 February 1947, having presumably been sold to an export market when new, chassis 39-2637 quickly passed through a handful of Italian owners before finding a long-term home in the care of an enthusiast in Florence in 1953. Registration documents suggest that the Aprilia stayed in his care until 1997, changing hands in November of that year and remaining with this second long-term owner for a further two decades, before being acquired by the consignor in May 2017.

This attractive, well proportioned, and above all rare, coach-built Lancia presents in fine condition, finished in dark blue over a red leather interior with a complementary black soft-top. Owing to its peppy 1,352 cc V-4 engine, independent suspension, and effective brakes, the Aprilia is a striking pre-war convertible that truly lends itself to being driven and enjoyed. But the appeal of this smart and well-presented cabriolet extends far beyond modern driving dynamics and beautiful coachwork: as well as being recognised by FIVA as a vehicle of historical importance, this Aprilia is also eligible to participate in the world’s leadings concours and touring events. Indeed, in April 2021, the car was placed on the Registro 1000 Mille, thereby presenting its next owner with a turn-key and remarkably affordable route to participate in the most lauded of all historic driving tours: the Mille Miglia Storica.