11-12 May 2012

Lot 305

1949 Lancia Aprilia

To be auctioned on Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sold for €31.360

  • Chassis no. 438/27130
  • Engine no. 28873

48 bhp, 1,486 cc V-4 single overhead cam engine with four-speed manual transmission, sliding pillar independent front suspension and swing arm, torsion bar, transverse leaf spring independent rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,750 mm (108.3")

• Matching numbers; original engine, gearbox and body
• Only two owners from new
• The last vehicle conceived by Vincenzo Lancia

As automakers, airplane designers and engineers alike began to realise not only the physical appeal of streamlined designs but also their dramatic effect on performance, wind tunnel engineering became increasingly commonplace. In 1936, Vincenzo Lancia’s marque, now 30 years old, premiered one of the very first results of development using the revolutionary wind tunnel at the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Lancia Aprilia.

The last vehicle conceived by Vincenzo Lancia himself before his passing in February 1937, the Aprilia, like every Lancia before it, possessed a tremendous level of technology in an attractive, sporty package. With a remarkably low drag coefficient of 0.47, the monocoque Aprilia was an immediate success. Adding to its appeal was a unique, fully independent suspension. Its fastback shape and pillarless coachwork ensured that it was a remarkable sight on the roads. The Aprilia featured Lancia’s compact and capable V-4, initially in 47 horsepower, 1,352 cc tune, and later, as a 48 horsepower, 1,486 cc displacement engine.

The right-hand drive 1949 Aprilia offered here is from the last year of production of the second series, which was introduced in 1939. It sold new to the first owner on 19th January 1949 in Turin and has remained in the area ever since. This Lancia Aprilia has only had two owners from new, each maintaining the vehicle for decades. A restoration was carried out 20 years ago and a photo documented engine rebuild was executed earlier this year. The owner asserts that the car is all matching numbers and still retains its original engine, gearbox and body.

With its innovative and aerodynamic body and sophisticated suspension, the Aprilia’s importance in Italian automotive engineering is unquestioned. This example, with continuous ownership history from new and Mille Miglia eligibility, is certainly one of the more desirable examples.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

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