Cute & Cheap! 1960 Lancia Appia


This cute and cheap Italian backyard find is just waiting for you to rescue it and put it back on the road! It’s located in Oakland, California and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the buy it now is $1,850 but even lower offers are being considered. 


Can you hear it saying “rescue me, come rescue me and I will purr up and down the local hills like I was designed to go up and down the Italian Alps”? Ok, maybe it’s just Scotty and I that hear carspeak? No, there have to be more of you out there! Anyway, the black plates are real, and so is the crooked grin!


Perhaps your eyesight is better than mine and you can distinguish the date on the blue tag sticker; I’m thinking it reads ’87, but I’m not sure. In any case, the seller tells us that the previous owner took the car off the road after the starter quit and the clutch began to slip. Now it’s been off the road long enough that the brake shoes had to be removed to allow it to roll. The seller also tells us that someone jacked the car incorrectly and damaged the steering rods. I hope they can be straightened–I’m guessing spares may be difficult to find!


The distinctly Italian interior actually looks in pretty good shape, apart from the epic cobwebs. I love that steering wheel!


The Appia featured Lancia’s famous V4 engine, in this case in a conventional front engine/rear wheel drive configuration. I found some information that stated that in early 1960, the 1100 cc engine specification was upgraded to 60 horsepower from the previous 48, but I could not confirm this. The engine compartment looks pretty original, and I don’t imagine it will be too difficult to get that little V4 out to start to fix things. I found a starter in the UK here, but I suspect the smartest thing to do would be to take the one in the car to an old-style rebuilder. The closest thing I found to a clutch was a pedal pad set here, but I’m hoping someone out there could help. So what do you think? Could you find a spot for this cute and cheap Italian sedan? And if the 1958 Saab in the background has you intrigued, they are selling it here. It doesn’t look like they are selling the Sonnett, though, at least at the moment.


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  1. pieter

    Holly macaroni! It’s a shame that I live on another continent, ’cause this is my dream car and as old as I am!

  2. Marcel

    For about another 1200 dollar it will be shipped to the Netherlands…

    • Jesper

      With witch shipping co?

  3. Howard A Member

    Maybe some of our friends from Europe might see some worth in this, but to me, this has little, if any value. It’s unusual, and relatively complete, but unless you have some kind of connection with a car like this, I’d think there are better places to spend your money. It looks like it was a pretty nice car at one time, and it has plenty of wear, so someone drove this. I wonder what the story was. That engine looks odd too. A V4, but the carb is on one side. You’d think it would be in the middle. I’d think, generally, parts are non-existent, so you’d have to do an upgrade. Just not sure why.

    • cyclemikey

      Oh, Howard, for heaven’s sake, you can’t be serious. The Lancia community is one of the most vibrant around, and that Lancia V4 engine is legendary.

      Now, whether or not this particular Appia will get restored is a valid question, but with all due respect the rest of your comment is uninformed. There’s no rule that you HAVE to comment even when you know nothing about the car being featured.

    • z1rider

      Howard, that V4 is a narrow angle V as in somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees. Similar to the VR6 Volkswagen uses today. There is only one head for both banks although calling them banks is a bit of a stretch. Lancia built aircraft engines during WW1 and the narrow angle design allows for a very minimal frontal area which improves the aerodynamics of the plane and also makes for a shorter lighter and more compact engine. All good for improving the performance of aircraft.

      It would seems they decided to continue the narrow angle concept into auto production. The two valve covers are not enclosing the valve mechanisms of a right and left bank but rather they enclose the exhaust valvegear of the exhaust on one side and the intake gear on the other. That’s why the carb is on one side and exhaust manifold is on the other. I’m surprised a motorcycle manufacturer has not tried it for the same aerodynamic benefits enjoyed by aircraft. It may be that it does make for a rather tall engine.

  4. Steven C

    I want all the cars in the picture!

  5. charlie Member

    In 1962, I was in Italy for the summer, and this was a great car, especially in comparison with the thousands of Fiat 500’s, 600’s and as I remember it, 1100’s. But that was more than 50 years ago. Now, it is nothing special, at least to me.

  6. Black Cat

    Looks like a thoroughly viable restoration candidate. Last year, with too many project cars in the queue and not being able to provide proper ongoing storage, I let my Appia Vignale convertible go to someone in a position to move forward with restoration.

    These are incredibly well engineered and assembled cars, from the period when Lancia stood on its own. Quality was more Bentley than Fiat, and the engineering second to none.

    The little V4 is a jewel, With an extremely narrow angle V. Dual camshafts are mounted a amidships, so to speak, with pushrods actuating the overhead valve gear. The compact V in many was is more “I” than the “V” with which most are familiar, such that the porting does, indeed,Mohave the intake on one side, and a single, beautifully cast exhaust manifold (no crude domestic log) on the opposit side. Again, it’s all top-notch metallurgy, from head, block, manifolds, valve covers, finned sump, etc.

    If I hadn’t sold all my spares, including a gearbox, with my convertible, I’d be tempted by this one. As a sedan, I could store it outside with less attrition than my convertible would have faced. But, my yard would then look like the seller’s, and my wife would not be amused.

  7. chad

    I’ll take the yellow sonnet behind
    a Lancia Beta Coupe

  8. John

    Only the 2- seat coachbuilt variants got the 60 hp engine. Parts are readily available from a Lancia specialist in exotic Pennsylvania and from a close-knit group of Lancia aficionados here and abroad. Some of the most jewel-like engineering can be seen in unexpected places like inside the master cylinder. Worth fixing, but for love, not profit.

  9. Hewson

    I had one of these, gold with white interior, my first car when I was about 17, bought from my sister’s friend’s mother. Loved the way the doors opened. 14 degree v4, which for me anyway seemed to mean that I kept blowing head gaskets. There’s only one head for the two halves of the v, by the way. Loved the 4 on the column. Also had a parts car, better looking with red leather and silver paint. Lots of fond memories, though the ratio of time spent messing with the thing vs. the time it actually ran was poor.

  10. 4-Doors-for-my-Tuba

    My uncle bought a Lancia Appia new in 1959 because he understood the fine workmanship and excellent engineering that went into Lancia automobiles.

    He passed away about 1969 or 70, and my aunt sold my sister his 1959 Lancia Appia. After my sister moved away to college I got the car. I couldn’t drive yet, but it was mine. A beautiful slate with slightly lighter gray interior.

    It was like a fine watch the way it was built. It ran like a smooth sewing machine until the engine blew a head gasket and a drive line rubber “U-joint” fell apart. Up until that time it would cruise along at 70 miles per hour all day long without any issues, smooth as glass.

    My favorite thing about the car was the dual doors without a pillar between them. It made getting in and out very easy.

    I was out of state for a few years and my dad sold it for a pittance when I was away, coming back to find it missing. Yes, I was sad. I still miss that car.

  11. steve mccutcheon

    I am so intrigued by this car. I love Italian cars and newer Lancia’s in general, but I know nothing about this model. It is beautiful. My first thought was how to make it go fast with such a small engine compartment, and I thought mazda rotor. After reading more about the badd ass v4 I wonder what you could make it put out? Modern FI, a turbo, modern machining, Megasquirt ECU. I bet you could double the HP 130ish would be a blast in this car if the drivetrain could take it.

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