Lot 224 - 1953 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Series 3 Coupé
|Odometer reading||54,000 miles|
|Estimate||£125,000 - £135,000|
- Matching numbers example
- Rare Nardi floor-mounted gear lever
- Nut and bolt restoration, excellent condition
- Housed in a private collection for 35 years
The Lancia Aurelia was first introduced at the Turin Motor Show of 1950. This innovative automotive creation included a narrow 60°, all-alloy, V6 engine (the first production V6 car) that ranged from 1.8 litres to 2½ litres over the life of its six series. Drive was through the rear mounted transaxle that incorporated the gearbox, clutch, differential and inboard mounted drum brakes to reduce unsprung weight. The sliding pillar front suspension was complemented at the rear by semi-trailing arms. By the 4th series, those trailing arms were replaced by a de Dion tube and the engine's white metal bearings replaced with shell bearings. Most Lancia motorcars, up until 1955, were manufactured at the factory in righthand drive form; the series IV cars started to see the addition of lefthand drive as these were the first cars to be imported into America in significant numbers. Clothed with a lightweight coupé body, it not only gave the Aurelia GT sports car performance but saloon car practicality also. It soon became apparent that, with the fine chassis design and a smooth V6 power plant, the car lent itself for competition use with many period competition successes such as Le Mans, the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, and Monte Carlo Rally. This still holds true today with many B20s being used in club and prestigious historic events. Mike Hawthorn took delivery of a Series IV Aurelia B20 GT in 1954 that was modified with floor mounted shift, wood and alloy steering wheel with further upgrades to the engine and exhaust. That car, WPD 10, is still in existence today.
This matching numbers example on offer today benefits from a no-expense spared, professional restoration and, having been maintained with perfect care ever since, still feels as new. This Series III Coupé came to the US in 1957, only four years old, after which it roamed the American roads. By the end of the 1980’s and already a collector’s item, the Aurelia was acquired by the previous owner, an avid Lancia enthusiast, who had the car professionally restored to an as-new standard, a job that took about eight years to complete. Full photographic documentation of the restoration comes with the car and this cherished Aurelia GT remained an important part of his private collection for about 35 years.
Finished in a fitting and very classic, smoked silver colour, almost bronze, the Aurelia Coupé still looks new. It runs and drives well, still having that distinct roaring 1950s six-cylinder sound that is so typical for these GT sporty cars that are also so capable of long distances. In fact, the Lancia Aurelia was the very first car to coin that Gran Turismo label. Thanks to the combination of the powerful B20 engine and the Nardi floor-mounted gear lever – a rare feature – driving this car gives you the Gran Turismo feeling in every sense of the word and you can instantly imagine driving in the Italian Alps, either attacking hairpins or pressing down the throttle on the longer stretches, enjoying the roaring sound of that iconic 2½ litre, six-cylinder engine. Currently the first three series of the Aurelia are very sought-after, and this is a perfect chance to acquire a truly excellent, matching numbers example.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.