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1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America

A Fabulous Running and Driving Matching-Numbers B24. A Nicely Restored and Well-Sorted Example of One of the Most Desirable Sports Cars of the 1950s.

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sold

VIN B24 - 1047
Exterior Color Medium Red
Interior Color Tan
Mileage 32970 Kilometers
Engine 2.5 Liter V6 no. B24N - 1131
Transmission 4-Speed Manual Transaxle
Status Sold
Stock FJ2265

Comments

1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America
s/n B24 – 1047, eng. no. B24N – 1131
Medium Red with Tan Leather interior

Famous for their incredible craftsmanship, innovative engineering solutions, and complete disregard for cost accounting with respect to those engineering solutions, pre-Fiat Lancias are, in many ways, in a class of their own. Few cars are as thoughtfully engineered or built, and the Aurelia delivers what continues to be one of the most sensational sports car platforms of the golden era of Italian design. The first ever production V6, the Aurelia’s engine is a race-derived 2,451cc OHV unit with hemispherical heads and was available with one or two carburetors. The 4-speed manual transaxle combined with sliding pillar fully independent front suspension and De Dion rear suspension allowed for excellent weight distribution while state of the art 4-wheel hydraulic braking (inboard at the rear) resulted in sensational and competitive performance. As much as the new models were heralded for their performance and design excellence, in 1954, Lancia and Pinin Farina raised the bar even more so with introduction of the B24 Spider America, and contemporary road testers marveled at the car's refinement, exceptional build quality, and roadholding. They found the car to be highly capable and a joy to use, with the magazine The Autocar going as far as to claim that the Aurelia was "one of the most desirable sporting cars of the decade," a claim which has endured the test of time as the B24 Spider America remains one of the most desirable sports cars of the 1950s.

Beginning with a shortened Aurelia B20 platform and floor mounted gear selector, the Spider America was a true roadster with clean lines, no external door handles, a gracefully low wraparound windscreen, removable side Plexiglas windows, and a smooth rear trunk line. The beautifully undulating bodylines were further unencumbered by excessive trim, using sleek and lithe split front and rear bumpers, a low profile Lancia grille, and small doors. The combined flowing lines, performance stance, and lightweight build philosophy delivered both performance and exceptional beauty. Built in limited numbers and rarer so today, a mere 240 B24 Spiders were manufactured during 1954 and 1955, making the Spider America one of the most sought-after post-war Lancias ever assembled. 181 production models were left hand drive, reflected in the nomenclature as 'S' or B24S, for 'Sinistra' or left. Commonly thought to be the Spider designation, the 59 right hand drive non-S variants of this exclusive production run are the rarest of the B24 Spider America models.

This beautiful America Spider was delivered new in Italy, where it would spend much of its life in the hands of just a few enthusiasts. Believed to have had just four prior owners and verified with matching numbers engine by Lancia Storico, this rare right hand drive Lancia has always benefited from proper care, maintenance, and more recently, restoration. According to information provided by Tony Nicosia, factory records indicate this car was delivered in grey livery with a grey interior. In a charming story surrounding the car, the original owner was reportedly intent on campaigning it in the Mille Miglia. In preparation for the event, he would make nighttime high-speed runs, aided by auxiliary lights fitted to the car. The tale continues to describe one evening while piloting the Lancia, he spun into the Naviglio Grande Canal in Milan. While both car and driver emerged fundamentally unscathed, dreams of the Mille Miglia were set aside.

By the 1990s, the Lancia is reported to have remained with the original family, until acquired by Fausto Cammarata in Florence, Italy. Mr. Cammarata commissioned a full rebuild by noted Florence based restorers Officine Bartali, run by Duilio Bartali. The results of this extensive work can be seen on the pages of the popular magazine Routeclassiche, October 2000, sporting period correct Borrani wheels, still installed on the car today. Cammarata would own the car until the mid -2000s when it was sold and the new owner returned to Bartali for a freshening of its restoration. Shortly after, in 2008, the car was sold to the current owner, a well-known and respected collector of multiple important cars. The owner participated in various events with the Lancia, touring both British and Continental venues, while accruing only minimal mileage over the past decade. Under the current ownership, the interior has been recently renewed, and a very rare, period correct Nardi twin Weber carburetor and intake system was sourced, installed, and tested resulting in a nice boost in performance, which distinguishes this car even among the rarified company of the B24 Spider America.

Today, this exceptional Lancia B24 is beautifully presented as a high quality restoration with excellent body and paint, featuring beautiful chrome and excellent attention to detail. The restoration has settled over time with just minor mellowing in a few places: an occasional chip, scratch, or surface crack to the finish. The stunning red paint is glossy and consistent giving the Pininfarina coachwork a more aggressive presence, proclaiming Lancia’s racing lineage. The restoration appears to have been executed with a high level of craftsmanship particularly in the bodywork, surfacing, and very nice panel gaps as well as delicate but crisp features properly delineated in the bodywork. The car sits on correct Michelin X 165 X 400 radial tires with stunning Borrani wire wheels. The curvaceous single piece windshield is free from any stone chips or windshield wiper marks. The wing windows are in good condition, with nice Plexiglas and chrome trim, operating smoothly clicking positively in the various locking positions.

Of particular note is the beautifully detailed and recently renewed interior. The dashboard and instrumentation are exceptionally well finished featuring correct and beautifully colored instruments, authentic switches, proper finishing, and high quality interior materials, including the correct diamond pattern rubber floor covering. The car has been cleverly fitted with a late model radio, recessed deep into the glove box avoiding any of the unsightly dashboard cuts often seen in lesser cars. The seats are tightly covered using correct stitching and pleated panels with no notable wear. Door panels and inner panel coverings are nicely finished with proper fasteners and trim, including the door cords, which can be conveniently activated from inside or outside the car. The black canvas convertible top is in very nice condition, appearing to have been recently fitted. Often overlooked with the top up, the Spider America becomes all the more aggressive with the top in place while the beautifully realized removable side windows are a pleasure to behold.

The engine compartment is wonderfully restored using correct factory finishes, proper wiring and hoses, while also maintaining the correct factory aluminum ID plates. The engine proudly displays the period correct Nardi twin-carburetor intake, itself a work of art, which further enhances the already impressive V6 engine. Much care has been devoted to authentic surface treatments, and correct finishes on the artfully exposed aluminum castings and black-painted carburetors. The resulting combination of engineering excellence and artistry exhibited in the engine compartment, make lifting the hood an impressive statement of contrast against the clean and simple exterior bodylines.

The trunk compartment houses a correct Borrani spare showing much of the original finishes under the correct diamond grain rubber floor mat. The chassis has been nicely finished, though not to show standards, with correct and extremely rare exhaust, and proper finishes. No visual evidence of structural damage is evident. Engine and gearbox finned castings are in excellent condition as are the suspension components, inboard drum brakes, and other mechanical components. Even when studying the underside of this car, the remarkable artistry of Lancia engineering is evident in the smallest pieces.

Driving manners in this wonderful Lancia also reflect the quality and care it has received. The throaty and satisfying driving experience is enhanced by one of the best views for the driver over the lovely hood scoop, giving the driver the sense that he is in the Mille Miglia. The sophisticated engineering, rear mounted 4-speed transaxle and clutch, DeDion rear suspension, V6 Hemi head engine, with sodium cooled exhaust valves, and many other interesting features, all contribute to legendary performance. The car starts and runs crisply, with excellent throttle response. Lancia expert and multiple B24 owner, Jaan Hjorth, recently inspected the car as it entered consignment, reporting compression within 5% in all cylinders. He believes the car is currently running a high lift cam based on the throttle response, which is quick and precise. Acceleration benefits from the Nardi intake and twin carburetors with no flat spot, commonly experienced on lesser-prepared twin-carb cars. Oil pressure and running temperatures are excellent, even as the car delivers power not often found in an Aurelia. The clutch and brakes operate as they should, with no chatter from the clutch and no pulsating from the brakes. Outfitted with correct factory dual leading shoes in the front, many examples will struggle to pull down straight. This car brakes beautifully with confidence and reliable composure. The gearbox works perfectly, with no syncromesh issues, and a wonderfully quiet first gear, which can be famously noisy or whine, particularly for 4th series cars. The suspension and steering are supple, and there are no dead spots in the steering box. The car is accompanied by a correct set of tools and case, a factory jack, and the correct chrome plated side window frames.

One of the most iconic pieces of automotive design, coupled with exceptional engineering, this Lancia B24 Spider America offers a tremendous opportunity for the next fortunate enthusiast to enjoy and drive a remarkable sports car. The rare right hand drive configuration, long-term ownership history, and matching numbers make this B24 one of the most desirable and rare cars available today.

 


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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