Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
Winslow Adams, Lake Bluf, Illinois (acquired in the early 1970s)Jerry Johnson, Tulsa, Oklahoma (acquired from the above circa 2000)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Colorado Concours D’Elegance, Littleton, Colorado, June 2014 (Best of Show)
At the Brussels Motor Show in January 1955, Lancia introduced a new variant of the Aurelia platform that eventually became one of the most acclaimed models in the company’s history. The new B24 Spider borrowed liberally from the advanced mechanicals of the fourth-series Aurelia B20 GT, the sporty fastback model that had not only achieved competition triumphs at Le Mans, Mille Miglia, and Targa Florio, but it also featured the world’s first production V-6 engine.
The Aurelia’s motor, front independent suspension, and inboard rear brakes were equipped on a chassis more than 200 mm shorter than the GT, which was then dispatched to Pinin Farina for sporty new spider coachwork that was a study in sensual curves. With a wraparound windscreen, split front and rear bumpers, voluptuous body lines unfettered by external door handles, and a disappearing soft top, the B24’s styling was both elegant and athletic, while appropriately suggestive of its race-pedigreed underpinnings.
Lancia soon clarified that left-hand-drive examples would be dubbed the “B24S America,” with the “S” standing for sinestra – Italian for “left.” The America designation indicated the company’s intention to market the car to the US, a business strategy also adopted by Ferrari, Porsche, and Alfa Romeo during this period.
Only 240 examples of the B24 were built during late 1954 and 1955, before the body style gave way to the Convertible with a conventional windscreen, roll-up windows, and a standard convertible top. Of the frst-series spiders, 181 examples were constructed as left-hand-drive B24S Americas, of which as few as 68 are believed to survive today.
By virtue of its chassis number, and as confrmed by Lancia factory logs, this exquisite Spider America is just the ninth left-hand-drive example ordered, recorded on March 9, 1955, with assembly completed on May 6th. Originally fnished in Grigio paint and trimmed with a Chiara leather interior, chassis no. B24S/1009 entered the records of the American Lancia Club during the 1970s when acquired by a member residing in Lake Bluf, Illinois. The owner kept the car for several decades, moving to Kansas for a time before settling in Oklahoma by the late 1990s.
The consignor, the proprietor of a Denver-area restoration business, discovered the Lancia in a state of partial disassembly at an Oklahoma shop in 2013, where it had been disassembled for restoration some years before. After negotiating a purchase, the new owner transported the car to his facility in Colorado and commenced a ground-up restoration with the goal of optimal authenticity. The highly regarded Lancia restoration expert Tony Nicosia was retained to oversee the process, ensuring an extremely correct result. In the course of his research, the consignor concluded that this B24S is one of the oldest remaining examples, adding to this car’s significance.
Following completion of the meticulous restoration in May 2014, the car was presented in June at the 31st annual Colorado Concours D’Elegance and went on to win the event’s top honor, the Best of Show award.
Accompanied by original tools and factory logs, this remarkable early B24S Spider America is a striking example of one of Italy’s most beautifully designed and engineered roadsters. It promises to be enjoyable both for the model’s famous handling and performance as well as competitive exhibition. As an extremely rare B24S, and a pristinely restored one at that, this Lancia will make a fantastic entry for world-class concours or exclusive vintage tours.