Continental Class: 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America

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You promise a lot when you name a car after a whole continent, but this 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America more than delivers. The twice-restored black beauty is another of the legendary cars to be offered at auction in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on May 14. For more information on this gorgeous Italian roadster, take a look a the listing here on RM Sotheby’s website.

A Lancia Aurelia is a very special car regardless of whether it is a coupe, a convertible, or a saloon. The first series, produced in 1950, immediately proved its worth on the race circuit with B20 coupes taking both second and fifth in the 1951 Mille Miglia. The car was revolutionary for several reasons, but the most noteworthy must be the engine: the first modern production V6. The 1991cc V6 in the 1951 B20 was very same powerplant used in the production sedan. It made only 75 hp and beat Ferraris.

Of course, that engine evolved quickly, along with the car as a whole. Racing success virtually demanded that an open car be produced, and the B24 Spider was introduced in 1955. A proper sports car, it eschewed such frippery as windows that rolled down and door handles, opting instead for a more pure driving experience powered by a now-2.5L V6 making 118 bhp. In an unusual move, power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a 4-speed transaxle, and the rear brakes were inboard drums– front drums are more conventionally located. Top speed was an estimated 115 mph, but, powerful as it was, most sources emphasize its responsive handling and agility.

The “America” was added late to the name, apparently in an effort to appeal to the car’s largest overseas market. This is reflected in production numbers– of the 240 B24 Spiders built, only 59 were right-hand drive. The listing notes the body, built by Pinin Farina just a few years before they opened the new plant in Grugliasco. And the body is worthy of note; the car is singularly attractive, with lines that draw the eye inexorably over the front fenders, past the sweeping doors and on to the elegant rear quarters. As beautiful as it is rare, it will be a treat to see how the auction plays out for this incredible piece of automotive and engineering history.

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Comments

  1. Mark MitchellMember

    I owned one of these several years ago and REALLY regret selling it!

    Like 5
  2. Araknid78

    Gorgeous

    Like 4
  3. Gerard Frederick

    Looking at this and seeing what became of this iconic make, gives me the blues.

    Like 2
  4. Sfm5

    Just about as far from a barn find as you can get.

    Like 2
  5. Ken

    I love how the coolant return line is split in two. The only possible reason they did that is because it looks so damn cool.

    Like 1
    • LD71

      “I love how the coolant return line is split in two. The only possible reason they did that is because it looks so damn cool.”
      Ken, it’s Italian, I’m guessing they needed that casting to provide the return spring mount ;)

      Like 0
  6. LD71

    ld71 :d

    Like 0
  7. Pietro Bertollo

    This model was named after America because of the wrapping windshield. Models sold in other markets had regular windshield with side panels.

    Like 0
  8. John PrillMember

    And the word for today…Frippery!

    Like 0
  9. Pietro

    The model listed was named America after the wrapping winshield mounted on car for the US market. Models for continental Europe had a standard windshield with side panels (as you can see on the movie “Il sorpasso”).

    Like 3
    • Andy Parrish Andy ParrishAuthor

      Ah, but that would have been the Convertible, not the earlier Spider. It has roll-down windows!

      Like 1
  10. CeeOne

    A friend of my grandfather’s had one of these. He took me for a ride once in Altadena, CA. I was 20-25 and he was around 65. He did not drive like my grandfather! He hit some sand and just beautifully corrected the slide. I will never for that ride.

    Like 2

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