Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
A World Auction Record for a Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America at $1,815,000Formerly the Property of Jean Sage
The Spider America
Upon its debut at the Turin Motor Show in May 1950, Lancia’s Aurelia was immediately hailed as a technical tour de force. Spearheaded by the legendary engineer Vittorio Jano, the Aurelia introduced many innovative features, including a rear-mounted transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension, inboard rear brakes, and an aluminum V-6 engine developed by Francesco de Virgilio.
The sporting potential of the Aurelia was realized with the introduction of the B20 GT. At the 1951 Mille Miglia, a factory-prepared GT driven by Bracco and Maglioli won the under-two-liter category and placed 2nd overall behind the Scuderia Ferrari 340 America. This remarkable finish was followed by numerous race victories, including a class win at the 1951 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Not only did the standard Aurelia models prove their merit in competition, they formed the basis for Lancia’s first purpose-built sports racing cars, the D20, D23, D24, and D25. These magnificent machines, particularly the legendary D24, were some of the most technologically advanced and successful competition cars of the early 1950s.
At the Brussels Motor Show in January 1955, Lancia unveiled their most sporting Aurelia – the B24 Spider America. Based on the Fourth Series B20 GT, the B24 Spider America shared the model’s improved 2.5-liter V-6 engine and De Dion rear axle but featured a shorter chassis and standard floor shift. With a top speed approaching 115 mph, the Spider America was among the best performing open sports cars of its day and an ideal choice for the well- heeled enthusiast.
The Spider America’s coachwork, masterfully styled, and constructed by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, featured voluptuous sculpted lines, cut-down doors, split bumpers front and rear, as well as a splendid panoramic wraparound windscreen – the latter feature undoubtedly inspired by American styling trends of the period. In keeping with its sporting nature, the Spider America was a strict two-seater with a light folding top and side curtains in lieu of more conventional wind-up windows. As its name suggested, the new Lancia sports car was aimed at the booming American market and the vast majority built were specified in left-hand drive.
In total, just 240 Spider Americas were built before Lancia replaced the model with the more practical B24 Convertible. Due to their exceptional rarity, beauty, and performance, the Spider Americas are widely regarded as the most desirable road-going Lancias ever built.
The B24S Spider America presented here is a very special example that possesses an unbroken chain of ownership, the most desirable options, and an outstanding concours-quality restoration.
The history of B24S 1077 can be traced back to July 1955, when it was sold to its first owner, Luigi Bosisio of Milan. A well-known gentleman driver, Bosisio was a frequent competitor in major Italian events throughout the early 1950s and owned a number of outstanding sports cars, including a Lancia Aurelia B20 GT, Fiat 8V, Maserati A6GCS, and a Zagato-bodied Ferrari 166 MM.
After a short period in the care of its original owner, the Spider America was sold to Roberto Longhi who, in turn, sold it to Santino Bertele. In February 1958, Sig. Bertele sold the Lancia to Federico De Gregorio.
The Spider America’s fifth owner, Gianni Savoia of Verona, purchased the car from Sig. De Gregorio in the early 1960s and retained it until 1983, when it was sold to a local classic car dealer. Later that year, the B24S was sold to American enthusiast Richard Citron but was stored in Italy and never exported.
In 1985, famed Formula One team director Jean Sage acquired the Spider America for his private collection.
Well known in racing circles, Sage began his involvement in motorsports as a driver in the 1960s, before establishing the successful Ecurie Elf-Switzerland team with Gerard Larrousse and Paul Archambeaud. Sage then went on to run Renault’s Formula One effort from 1977 to 1985, during which time the team won 15 races and pioneered the use of turbocharged engines. Following his retirement from Formula One, Sage became an avid classic car collector, raced in leading vintage events, and managed several major racing teams including Ferrari France.
The Spider America remained a fixture in Sage’s collection for over a decade and, between 1995 and 1996, was fully restored by Italian marque specialists.
In early 1998, Sage sold the Lancia to Michael Theo Trosser, a collector living in Neuss, Germany. That May, Mr. Trosser applied for and was subsequently granted a FIVA Identity Card, with the desirable A3 classification. After some years, Trosser sold the Lancia to a Spanish artist, who kept the Spider America in her studio and rarely drove it.
The current owner, a discerning Florida collector, has been an excellent steward for the Spider America, and he has gone to great lengths to enhance its already superb presentation. In 2012, he commissioned CB Restorations of Haverhill, Massachusetts, to perform a concours-quality cosmetic restoration that included a complete repaint, extensive engine-bay detailing, and attention to the chrome and brightwork. Additionally, the Lancia has been serviced as needed and given a comprehensive mechanical inspection.
Presented in the stunning color combination of dark blue with red upholstery, this sophisticated Spider America is equipped with two of the most rare and desirable accessories available for the model – the attractive Carrozzeria Fontana aluminum hardtop and the high-performance Nardi kit, which features twin Weber 40 DCL5 carburetors and a special intake manifold. As noted on the car’s FIVA Identity Card, these optional features have been with this Spider America from new, making this a particularly special example of the B24S. Offered with tools, an owner’s manual, and an impressive file of documentation, this Lancia begs no excuse and needs only a new owner to be enjoyed.
A well-documented and impeccably restored Spider America, this is an ideal candidate for leading automotive events – from the finest international concours d’elegance to exclusive rallies, such as the Mille Miglia Storica and the Colorado Grand.
It is little wonder that Lancia enthusiasts and knowledgeable collectors have always held the Spider Americas in such high regard. After all, these limited-production Aurelias combine a brilliant Pinin Farina design with a beautifully engineered, competition-proven chassis to create a near-perfect 1950s sports car. As a result, these rare Lancias are found only in the best collections and seldom appear for public sale.
We are proud to present B24S 1077, a superb Lancia that possesses all the fabulous qualities that have made the Spider America a legend amongst classic car enthusiasts. For the collector who has been waiting for the ideal example to become available, we encourage serious consideration of this outstanding Spider America.