The Lancia Aurelia is one of Lancia’s great cars and the pride of Joost and Ben, two genuine Lancia adepts with a pair of magnificent cars. Lancia is famous for its heritage with the Aurelia being Lancia’s post war flagship.
Like for instance the Appia and the Flaminia it was called after one of the Roman roads connecting the city of Rome to other parts of the former Roman empire. The Aurelia is a very innovative automobile, packed with new and carefully thought out concepts. For example the worlds very first V6 engine, a transaxle gearbox for better weight distribution and the famous sliding pillar front suspension. A comfortable yet sporty construction combined with a powerful engine. It made the Lancia Aurelia very successful in races and rally’s like the Mille Miglia.
The Aurelia was produced in various forms, with the 2 door coupé and the convertible versions being the base for this very story. Of course a saloon model was available as well, characterised by the non-existence of a B-pillar. Opening both the front and rear doors left a gaping gap to the very luxuriously finished interior. It gave these cars their signature look. Lancia even produced a rolling chassis with all the running gear. Based on these various cars were built by famous Italian coach builders during the nineteen fifties. Back to the GT and the Convertible, both sought after vehicles these days.
Ben owns an Aurelia B20 GT. Bought in the seventies for the equivalent of less than 50 Euro’s. It did need a full restoration though, Which Ben took on with pride. The result still visible in his pristine Aurelia. It took part is various local and international events like the current Mille Miglia. He proudly presents his Gran Turismo, telling us everything on the history of the car.
The Aurelia sure never was a cheap Lancia. The modern engineering and the way it was finished made it a high end car from the beginning. Expensive to buy, but equally costly to produce. It shows in the used materials and parts. Everything is there for a reason, every technical component is constructed in a particular way. That’s mostly why production number of the Aurelia are relatively low and almost every example of the Lancia Aurelia has become rare.
Joost just loves his convertibles. As such he owns a Lancia Aurelia B24 Convertible, the successor of the famous Spider. Like the B20, this car is restored as well. As things go with rare vehicles, it hasn’t been an easy process. Finding the right parts has been a true quest throughout Europe. Leaving Joost as happy as a kid in a candy store whenever he discovered the original parts he was looking for. It shows the feel for quality and originality that was put in the restoration of this car. At the very start it became very clear the car must have had every possible colour known to mankind. The very last layer they peeled of appeared to be grey, which became the colour of choice for the finished car. Rebuild to original specifications, a story with ups and downs that took seven years.
With pride Ben shows the engine compartment of the GT. The full alloy V6 is a relatively light construction and combined with the gearbox in the rear and the refined sliding pillar suspension the car is made for a comfortable though fast driving experience. The impressive number of races and rallies won by the Aurelia speak for themselves. Ben’s explanation on the ingenious cooling systeem based on slats just shows how far Lancia’s engineering went. Beautiful constructions made by engineers that weren’t held back by the accountants of the Lancia factory.
Whenever possible Joost drives the Aurelia convertible with the top down. With the dop folded down the pure lines of Pininfarina’s bodywork show best, but even with the top in situ the convertible looks stunning. Stylish, modest and extremely well balanced is what describes the design of the GT best. Two icons of style made by Lancia. Both showing the rich heritage of the manufacturer at very first sight. Equipment and engineering, history and build quality are what make every Lancia Aurelia a desirable car. A real gentlemens express, or, as the Italians would put it, una machina per signori.