18 January 2013
1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S America Spider by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina
Sold for $825,000
- Chassis no. B24S-1131
• Arguably the most desirable postwar Lancia
• West Coast car since new
• Fitted with the desirable Nardi package
As Lancia’s notoriety spread stateside following World War II, the time came for the company to offer an open sports car to the boom market in the United States. This model would have to have more power, as well as open coachwork better-suited to the warm climates of Florida, Texas, and, most of all, California.
The result was the Aurelia B24S America Spider, “S” signifying sinistra or “left,” referring to the left-hand-drive chassis. Built to a design by Pinin Farina, it ranks among the most striking open automobiles of the period, boldly challenging Ferrari with its aggressive hood scoop, flowing front fenders, and softly curving rear fenders with mild wheel flares. The windshield wrapped around to removable side windows and under a well-fitted convertible top. It was muscular yet restrained, sporting yet elegant – everything an aristocrat’s high-speed summer transportation should be.
The Spider’s advanced specification, semi-custom bodywork, and superb build quality made it expensive to build. It is believed that only 181 left-hand-drive America Spiders were built by the factory, of which approximately 150 survive today and even fewer are in excellent restored condition.
The example offered here, chassis no. 1131, is among the rare survivors, having resided for its entire life in the forgiving Western United States. In 1992, it was owned by the president of the U.S. Lancia club and an avid vintage racer. He had the car cosmetically restored by Italian Lancia expert Franco dePiero, and his full-time mechanic restored the car’s numbers-matching drivetrain.
During the restoration, the original Weber carburetor was replaced by a period correct Nardi twin-carburetor conversion set-up – which, along with the Borrani center lock wire wheels and the signature Nardi steering wheel, completes the highly desirable Nardi package.
This lovely Lancia B24S was painted in dark Navy Blue and is equipped with removable side glass, which was painstakingly restored. When removed, they are easily stored in the trunk along with the car’s original lug wrench and jack. The convertible top was also replaced and despite being a fifties design is very simple to erect and seals nicely – and when lowered disappears completely from view.
Today, this remarkable Spider remains in high point condition, a testimonial to both the quality of the car before restoration, and caliber of the restoration itself. Only minor evidence of aging can be found upon close examination, but with careful use the car will mellow gracefully, gradually acquiring the patina of a lovely, untouched original.
These stunning Spiders are highly prized by their intensely loyal owners. They offer a nearly ideal combination of desirable characteristics: they are fast, with delightfully nimble handling, quick and responsive steering, and undeniable grace and beauty. Their racing bloodlines and thoroughly sporting manner makes them not only eligible for, but ideal candidates to participate in, any important driving event worldwide.
They are seldom, if ever offered. Within the U.S, only a handful survive in this quality. The competition for it may be expected to be intense – exceeded, perhaps, only by the rewards the car will offer the winning bidder.
AddendumIt has come to our attention that some facts stated in the catalogue description regarding the general history of the America Spiders are incorrect. Please refer to rmauctions.com for the amended description.
Note that this vehicle is model year 1955, however titled as a 1956.
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