One of a Kind: 1959 Lancia Appia Giardinetta

1959 Lancia Appia C80S

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When most of us think of Italian cars, names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo probably come to mind, but one Italian brand that is often forgotten is Lancia. The brand is now known for building rebranded Fiats, but at one time they built some amazing sports car. Those that lived in Italy or just have a true passion for the marque might even remember some of their rather interesting commercial vehicles. Well if you remember seeing Lancia Appia vans running around the streets of Italy or simply appreciate old commercial vehicles, than this extremely rare 1959 Lancia Appia Giardinetta should be of some interest. It is one of only a handful ever built and possibly the only one built for civilian use. Take a look at the listing here on Car and Classic in Torino, Italy. Thanks goes to Simone B for the tip!

Lancia Appia Interior

Lancia has never been a particularly large manufacturer, so it’s no surprise that there weren’t many of these built. Commercial production never exceeded more than a few thousand cars a year and very few have survived the decades of hard use they endured. The seller claims that this Giardinetta (C80S) was the only one ever built as a family hauler. The vast majority of these were built as panel wagons, although there were a few Appia ambulances that came with side windows. It is possible that this one was converted to a family hauler at a later time, but it looks to have been built to a very high level. If it turns out to have been built this way by Lancia, it would make for one amazing story.

Lancia Appia V4 Motor

Lancia was a rather pioneering company. They were one of the first companies to experiment with the V engine layout and are known for their the V4 and V6 engines, although the title of creating the V engine actually belongs to Marmon. The Appia was powered by a 1090 cc V4, which was one of their more popular engines. It was offered in a number of output levels ranging from 40 up to about 50 horsepower. There isn’t much information about whether the various output levels were offered on commercial vehicles or if they were only offered with the base motor. Since this wagon is based on the Appia, parts shouldn’t be too difficult to locate, although most things will have to be imported from Italy.

Lancia C80S VIN

I have always appreciated Lancia, they built high-quality, but unique cars. This wagon might be one of their more interesting offering and if the story turns out to be true, it could be a very significant piece of Lancia history. I would certainly want to do my research before putting out any money, but I’m sure there are a few Lancia fans out there that would be more than willing to help out. And regardless of its history, it would make for one cool parts hauler!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Dan h

    Lancia’s are truly wonderful cars and once you drive one, it will change you forever! Nothing even comes close.
    It’s a shame they are phasing out the brand name. There is a petition to stop this.

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  2. Barry Thomas

    Yes, it is a shame that the Lancia name is going to that great big car graveyard. Realistically though, Fiat has way too many cars under their wing and many are essentially the same. We were in Italy in 2010 and rented a Lancia Muso (not sure which Fiat this approximates). That little diesel manual pulled the four of us up some steep hills without a whimper and it looked good as well.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

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  3. Dan Farrell
    Check out Jay Leno’s Garage for a 1967 Lancia Fulvia Sport 1.3 Zagato.

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  4. jim s

    very interesting car that would be a good project for someone was into the brand. i hope it does not get parted out. maybe if VW does buy Fiat they will bring the Lancia name back. nice find.

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  5. DolphinMember

    Lancia had a V4 engine in production in the Lambda beginning in 1922. Then a few more Lancia models used a V4, and the Appia with a V4 came out in 1953. These were all tiny engines, both physically and in displacement because there was not a lot of capital or industrial capacity in Italy to spare for carmaking, and then it got even worse after WW2. I’ve seen a photo somewhere of a mechanic holding an assembled Appia V4 in his arms.

    The V4s look like an odd, fat 2-cylinder from one side of the car, and look similar from the other side of the car because there are 2 spark plug leads on each side. This is because the V-angles are very small (about 10 degrees in the Appia) and the engines have a single head covering all 4 cylinders. One camshaft works all 8 valves. Probably done to save space, weight, and metal.

    This unique Appia definitely needs saving. There’s no price given in the sales listing but unless the seller has unrealistic expectations it might be bought for somewhere around $15-$20K I would guess—more than a regular Appia sedan in similar condition, but it’s a bit quirky with limited appeal. You aren’t going to do the retro Mille Miglia or the Colorado Grand with it.

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