Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
Designed by Gianni Lancia and Vittorio Jano, Lancia’s Aurelia stands as the world’s first series-production automobile powered by a V-6 engine. The inspired brainchild of Francesco de Virgilio, this sophisticated engine was an all-alloy unit with pushrod-actuated overhead valves and hemispherical combustion chambers with impressive power output and plenty of scope for development. Equally sophisticated underneath, the Aurelia was prized for excellent road manners by virtue of the near-perfect weight distribution afforded by its rear transaxle assembly.
The B20 GT featured handsome fastback coupe bodywork initially designed by Ghia stylist Felice Mario Boano, with refinements by Pinin Farina, which took over B20 GT production completely with the arrival of the Series 2 for 1952. Competition success came swiftly with the B20 GT finishing 2nd with Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli at the 1951 Mille Miglia, followed up by a class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A stunning podium sweep in the 1952 Targa Florio and victory in the grueling Liège-Rome-Liège Rally of 1953 enhanced the impressive racing credentials of the B20 GT.
Significant changes heralded by 1953’s third series included a displacement increase to nearly 2.5 liters, followed by replacement of the original semi-trailing-arm rear suspension with a De Dion arrangement from Series 4 onwards. By 1957, when the sixth and final-series cars arrived, engines were tuned for additional torque and improved drivability. Just 3,781 Aurelia B20 GTs were manufactured in total, with the remaining survivors cherished today.
Bearing chassis number 1763, this original left-hand-drive car is a particularly desirable sixth- series Aurelia B20 GT and one of just 312 examples built for the final 1958 model year. Accordingly, it incorporates all ongoing improvements made during the Aurelia’s production run. According to its known history, the Aurelia was sold new in Florida and then eventually acquired during the 1980s by a collector from Toronto, who in turn sold it in the late 1990s to New Jersey collector Frank Allocca. Under Mr. Allocca’s care, the Aurelia’s interior was restored, the transaxle refurbished, and the vehicle’s systems were inspected and freshened as needed by the esteemed Paul Russell and Company of Essex, Massachusetts.
In 2003, a New York-based collector of rare Italian sports cars purchased the Aurelia from Mr. Allocca. It was from this collection that the consignor acquired the Lancia. As offered, the Aurelia is best described as an exceptionally honest and original vehicle. A recent viewing confirms that the Aurelia displays excellent body and panel fit and a solid original undercarriage that still features its original undercoating. The paint finish is believed to be largely original and the Aurelia retains its original Sekurit side glass and rear window. The majority of the vehicle’s mechanical equipment remains original and intact, with the engine believed to be the vehicle’s original matching-numbers unit, complete with its single Weber 40D0L5 twin-choke carburetor and air-cleaner assembly.
The consignor reports the driving performance of this B20 GT is superb, with a remarkably tight feel and smooth operation through all the gears. The steering, braking, and suspension continue to provide a great experience, making it easy to understand why these cars remain so highly regarded as grand touring sports cars today. While the Aurelia’s exterior paint finish has indeed aged and shows some crazing throughout, it nonetheless retains an attractive patina. The sale of the Aurelia is accompanied by a vintage helmet, European tourist license plate, original jack, driving gloves, and workshop manuals. As offered, 1763 provides an outstanding opportunity to obtain an example of the Aurelia B20 GT – the original series-production Italian GT car – a wonderful and sophisticated driving machine clothed in a finely tailored Italian suit.