The Lancia Aurelia was designed under the direction of Vittorio Jano and quickly became known for its exceptional build quality, and advanced technology. With this car, Lancia started a post‐war tradition of naming its cars after famous Roman roads, in this case the Via Aurelia which connected Rome and Pisa. The Aurelia was also the first mass‐produced car to be fitted with a V6 engine.
The Lancia Aurelia B50 was a rolling chassis which was made available to coachbuilders, allowing them to design and build low‐volume series, or showcase one‐off bodies. However, the B50 had its limitations, it was heavy and its 1.7 litre V6 engine offered limited performance, so in 1952, Lancia unveiled the B52, an improved and lighter chassis fitted with a more powerful 2.0 litre V6. In 1952, Lancia built a mere 86 B52 chassis, followed by a final 12 examples in 1953.
The example featured here was completed at the Lancia factory in early 1953 before being delivered to Carrozzeria Vignale, in the same way as Ferrari often delivered it’s 166 or 212 chassis to its chosen coachbuilder, including Vignale. Upon delivery, this chassis was fitted with the elegant one‐off Spider coachwork we see today, Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale designed and built exquisitely detailed bodies, using a variety of chassis, including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Cisitalia, Maserati, Fiat and of course Lancia.
In 1955, this chassis made its first public appearance at the Brussels Motor Show in Belgium where it was displayed on the Lancia stand with its distinctive Vignale coachwork finished in Metallic Lake Green with a Bordeaux leather interior.
Having remained in Belgium through to 2007, this very special Aurelia was entrusted to restoration specialists, Carrozzeria Quality Cars in Vignoza, Italy. During the restoration, the car was found to be highly original, retaining many of the signature one‐off components which would otherwise have proven near‐impossible to reproduce. Sections of the original paint and leather interior were found, and these were used to ensue the car was brought back to its correct ‘as‐built’ finish.
Fresh from restoration, this Aurelia entered the 2016 Concorso d’Elegance Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como, where it was rewarded with 2nd in ‘The Golden Era of Sports Car Design’ class. Later the same year, it was also awarded its FIVA Identity Card, assigned class ‘A/3’ (a restored historic vehicle), before also being awarded its ASI (Automotoclub Storico Italiano) Certificate of Identity.
Accompanied by its Lancia Classiche Certificate of Origin, a selection of period photography from the 1955 Brussels Motor Show, FIVA Identity Card, ASI Certificate of Identity, and over 1,600 images detailing its restoration, this coachbuilt Lancia Aurelia is a fine example from one of Italy’s most exciting design eras, the 1950’s. As one of only 12 B52 chassis produced in 1953, and the only finished in this Michellotti‐styled Carrozzeria Vignale coachwork, and with its Motor Show pedigree, this Aurelia offers all the attributes the most significant Lancia connoisseurs search for.
This superb 1953 Lancia Aurelia B52 Spider by Vignale is available from Girardo & Co. Click on the link below for more information, including a detailed history of the car. Photos: © Girardo & Co.