Real Barn Find: 1958 Lancia Appia Coupe

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

If you are a fan of obscure Italian cars with unusual engines that are truly barn finds, then this is the car for you! Offered for sale here on eBay at no reserve, there’s not that much time left in the auction so you’d better hurry and place a bid. As I write there’s one day and 22 hours left and bidding is only up to $6,105. The barn is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I wish the Triumph TR3 poking it’s rear out from under the tarp were up for sale as well.

The seller tells us that there were only 302 Series II coupes like this one produced. This one looks like it was last licensed for the road in 1976! Forty years in a barn? Based on the dirt, I could believe that. The seller tells us that they think the paint would actually look nice once it was washed and waxed. If that’s truly the case, why not go ahead and do it?

The rather unique roofline is shown nicely in this shot. One thing that is great about this car is that every piece of trim appears to be present.

Here’s that bicentennial license plate. One thing that’s cool is that the the fragile rear bumper (it’s thinner than you think) has maintained that perfect gap between itself and the body shell. In other words, it hasn’t been hit in the rear. Actually, I’m amazed at how nice the panel gaps look.

The seller tells us that there’s undercoating under the car, and while I was a little put off by the surface rust in this picture, but they have included a link to a lot more pictures of the underside that makes me feel better. By the way, that thing hanging down is a wire…I think.

Look at how tiny this little V4 engine is! The seller is telling us it’s ‘stuck’ but they haven’t tried hard to free it. There are also some parts missing like the carburetor, but the seller has conveniently included links in the auction to other eBay auctions (not theirs) for the necessary parts.

The transmission tunnel has been carved up for some reason–the seller doesn’t know why either. They do characterize the interior as a source of patterns, so at least there’s enough of it that you could go there. However, something in me would like to show up at a show pretty much as-is cosmetically. However, I would wash and wax it first!

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Comments

  1. lawrence

    Nice little rare car….maybe why it’s been sitting – parts sources ?

    1+
    • Klharper

      For parts see Mike Kristick who I think lives close to Lancaster.

      Mechanical parts are all pretty much available, but the trim pieces will kill you. Which is why this one is good to look at as it appears to have everything. Parts prices are higher than Alfas but less than Ferrari.

      To work on it you will need special tools that only work on this model Appia and no other Lancia. This will drive you nuts, but it is an enjoyable nuts.

      KL Harper
      BIF motors

      0
  2. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    This Lancia has a tiny V4 engine, about 1100cc IIRC, with overhead valves and excellent materials and machining. I heard it described as being small enough to have on your lap while you worked on it, but I don’t think anyone took that seriously enough to actually do it.

    It’s a very narrow angle V4, with staggered cylinders to make it very short and light. The photo shows the underside of the one-piece cylinder head with staggered combustion chambers to match the staggered cylinders.

    I saw another Lancia coupe at a Father’s day show ‘n shine the other day, and the owner described these ’50s Lancias as little jewels that had so much design work and high quality materials and workmanship lavished on them that Lancia never made any money.

    I think that comment describes the situation for Lancia, and explains why FIAT had to step up and buy the firm to save it. With only 300+ Series II Appia coupes made, that kind of outcome was inevitable.

    Lancias then pretty much became badge-engineered FIATs, and the little jewel-like Lancia V4s and V6s—the first ever production V6— disappeared.

    This car is bid to $6,600 with almost two days to go, so it looks like the car will be bought—-I hope by a Lancia enthusiast who will save and hopefully restore this little jewel so people can continue to see one of the last true Lancias.

    10+
    • Tony S

      “Little Jewel” is an accurate description. Lancias were designed and manufactured to the highest standards. I’d like to take a closer look at that head – I have no idea how the intake charge is routed to the far cylinder bank. That is the carb flange on the left – carb was not on top.

      1+
      • Tony S

        * intake manifold flange

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  3. ccrvtt

    Beauty, eh? Dolphin is right. Car deserves someone to love it.

    6+
  4. Pablo

    According to the book La Lancia, it looks like the engine in this car is the sedan version. It looks like the sedan is about 50 pounds lighter than this car. The sedan engine had 43hp. The engine specified for this heavier car was rated at 53hp. Getting your hands on the rarer “high performance” engine might be difficult.

    2+
  5. Scott

    vr4

    1+
  6. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    These are amazing cars, especially the engines.

    The metal unfortunately is typical Italian fare, and while there are specialists, there are not many people with sheet metal parts.

    The hardware, usually shockingly good, making you wonder why the sheetmetal could not have been better.

    This one looks great, need a different superlative.

    This will garner some serious jing.

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  7. Black Cat

    Marvelous cars, just now becoming appreciated for what they are: as already said, jewels.

    Reluctantly, a little over a year ago, I sold an Appia Convertible that I’d rescued twenty years prior. Perhaps like this car when it went into the barn, the one I saved had intrinsic value to car people, but little economic value at the time. The metallurgy, body craftsmanship, interior opulence, and engineering detail are all more “Ferrari/Maserati/pre-war Alfa”, than the perceptions of Fiat-era Lancias. Last of the sliding pillar Lancias, the only shortcoming is that performance is limited by the diminutive jewel of an engine.

    As said by others, the important trim bits appear to be there. Front seats look wrong. The carb on these coachbuilt cars was unique (Weber DCLD if I remember right), and will take some hunting and $$$ to replace.

    These coupes were bodied by Pinin farina, the convertibles by Vignale, and there was another coupe execution bodied by Zagato. All three of the coachbuilt variants received a dedicated Appia chassis that included the slightly more powerful engine.

    Were it not for too many projects and too little space — the same reasons I let my Convertible go — I’d chase this one, myself. Good luck to the lucky new owner/restorer.

    2+
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Black Cat, careful, the European market had a bunch of quirks that the US would find odd to say the least.

      Europe had a love affair with plaids and cloth interiors in the 50’s that spanned many a Marque.

      Lancia lived hand to mouth and their accessories for their vehicles varied with availability and price, plus they also catered to the individual if you asked and came up with the money.

      0
  8. Gaspumpchas

    Yeah- its a Hemi!!!!

    1+
  9. Joe Muzy

    If they are going to sell why wouldn’t they at least pull it out and wash it ? Taking pictures in the barn when they are cover with dust and cars on trailers are two things that bug me about sellers (flippers).

    1+

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