Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
*Please note this vehicle is titled 1955.
Never Before Offered for Public SaleBob Heisey, Lehigh Acres, Florida (acquired circa 1986)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance, Beverly Hills, California, May 2014
Upon its debut at the Turin Motor Show in May 1950, Lancia’s Aurelia was 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.
The sporting potential of the Aurelia was realized with the introduction of the B20 GT. At the 1951 Mille Miglia, a factory-prepared GT 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 were the foundation for Lancia’s first purpose-built sports racing cars. These magnificent machines were some of the most technically advanced and successful competition cars of the early 1950s.
At the Brussels Motor Show in January 1955, Lancia unveiled 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.
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 US market.
In total, just 240 Spider Americas were built before Lancia replaced the model with the B24 Convertible in 1959. Of these, only 181 were specified in left-hand-drive (B24S) configuration. To put context to these figures, the total number of B24S Spider Americas accounts for less than 1% of the entire production of Lancia Aurelias. Due to their exceptional rarity, beauty, and performance, the Spider Americas are widely regarded as the most desirable road-going Lancias ever built.
The Lancia Aurelia presented here is a most exciting find – a remarkably complete, unrestored B24S Spider America that has just re-emerged after decades in static storage.
Though little is known of the early history of this late-production Spider America, it was once registered in the UK, as “WYA8,” and possibly later in Italy, before being exported to the US in the mid-1980s.
Virtually untouched for over 25 years, this unrestored Spider America is an ideal candidate for a concours-quality restoration. Many original features are present, including the correct Veglia gauges, Carello lights, Pirelli diamond mats, Plexiglas side curtains, and even the Aurelia specifc ignition key. In the engine bay, the proper carburetor, distributor cap, air filter, and radiator blind mechanism remain intact, as do the original chassis and service tags.
The Spider America also features some charming period accessories, including beautiful Marchal driving lights, Touring Club Italiano and American Lancia Club grille badges, as well as a Sports Car Club of America sticker afixed to the passenger side curtain.
At the time of cataloguing, the odometer displayed approximately 51,210 miles. An Italian oil service sticker indicates that the car covered 49,062 km by August 20, 1982, suggesting that it was driven sparingly before being placed in storage approximately five years later.
Offered for public sale for the first time, this B24S Spider America is an absolutely thrilling discovery. We have no doubt that this rare Italian sports car will spark tremendous interest as it finally returns to the public eye.