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Lot 44

2015   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2015

1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America

Coachwork by Pinin Farina

Estimate

$1,200,000 - $1,500,000

Chassis

B24S 1115

Engine

B24 1138

Car Highlights

One of Only 181 Left-Hand-Drive Spider Americas Built
Engine Rebuild Completed in 2015
Engine Number Corresponds to This Car’s Lancia Registry Entry
Displayed for Years in the Pininfarina Museum in Torino
One of the Most Beautiful Sports Car Designs of All Time

Technical Specs

2,451 CC OHV Alloy 60° V-6 Engine
Single Weber 40 DC 5 Carburetor
125 BHP at 5,300 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
Front Drum Brakes and Rear Inboard Drum Brakes
Independent Sliding-Pillar Front Suspension
De Dion Rear Axle with Leaf Springs and Shock Absorbers
Register to Bid

Formerly Part of the Pininfarina Museum CollectionThomas Sheehan, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaRichard May, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above in 1988)Pininfarina Collection, Cambiano, Italy (acquired from the above circa 1990)Current Owner (acquired from the above)

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 Giovanni Bracco and Umberto 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 24 Hours of Le Mans.

At the Brussels Motor Show in January 1955, Lancia unveiled its 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, and a splendid panoramic wraparound windscreen 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 the 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 rareness and performance, the Spider Americas are widely regarded as the most desirable road-going Lancias, and counted by many as one of the most beautiful sports cars ever created.

This Spider America, originally finished in Grigio Forte dei Marmi, has been traced to well-known Lancia collector and authority Thomas Sheehan’s ownership in the late 1980s. Sheehan, who is said to have collected Lancias like some people might collect hats, sold 1115 to Dr. Richard May in 1988. Dr. May, also a multiple Lancia owner, enjoyed driving the Spider around Southern California until about 1990, when it was sold to the Pininfarina Museum in Italy.

After making the trek back to Torino, it was determined that 1115 was in need of a restoration before it could be placed on display. Pininfarina contracted with renowned Lancia restorer Giancarlo Cappa of KCA, near Milan, to refurbish the car. The Spider America was repainted in its original color and green leather was fashioned for the interior, with the wheels accented to match. After over two decades in Pininfarina’s care, the B24S was acquired by the consignor, who immediately set about returning it to the road. The interior shows an inviting patina and the chassis undercoating is thought to be factory original. The engine – whose number corresponds to this car’s Lancia Registry entry – has received a comprehensive rebuild by the esteemed Spencer Guder of Spencer Restoration in Canterbury, Connecticut, and the work was finished just this year.

Today, Spider America 1115 is a shining example of Lancia’s flagship model for 1955. Its inspired design displays the finesse and attention to detail that only Lancia could achieve. Offered publicly for the first time in over 30 years, this Spider America represents an opportunity not to be missed.