Pop-eyed Italian: 1961 Lancia Flaminia Cabriolet


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When we first saw this 1961 Lancia Flaminia Touring Cabriolet, we were rather confused by the protruding headlamps. The coachbuilt Carrozzeria Touring body featured four distinctive headlights, but they didn’t protrude this far out of the body. Apparently a previous owner felt this rare Italian convertible needed more flair and character, so they extended the headlight housing and grill opening by five inches. It was recently discovered in a barn, where it had been hiding for the past 45 years. It has been pulled out of the barn and is now being offered here on eBay.


The Flaminia was the successor to Lancia’s previous flagship model the Aurelia, but offered improved handling, performance, and comfort. While it was based on the Aurelia’s chassis, it was updated and improved. Being the flagship model meant offering the luxury and performance that had come to be expected of a hand built Italian. Even after 50 years, this interior still looks fantastic and has weathered the years well.


The engine on the other hand, is showing its age and is going to need considerable work. The seller claims the 2.5 liter V6 turns over, but obviously isn’t running. This isn’t a power house motor, but its 120 horses were more than adequate for spirited driving and offered a fantastic exhaust note.


The extended front end is an interesting addition to an already unique little car, but we aren’t sure if this modification should be left as is or if the car should be returned to its original condition. Given the rarity and significance, this convertible needs to be put back on the road, but do you think the lights and grill should be left as is or should it be completely restored back to its original state?

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  1. Justin in indy

    Depends on the craftsmanship of the mod.If its a quality, period mod…I say lave it and have an odd looking one of a kind. if its cardboard and bondo, Then lose it.

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  2. Connor

    I would restore this but leave the custom lights and grill as is.

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  3. Just John

    I have to agree with Justin,
    If the Mod is junk, restore it to dead stock, but only if it is a junk addition.
    I’m a big fan on the ‘one-of’ rarity and oddball stuff. if the mod is metal and/or of decent quality, let it alone.

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  4. araknid78

    OMG! What did they do to this poor thing? This is what it’s supposed to look like: http://bit.ly/13JYeXZ

    How is this better than what the craftsmen at Touring designed?

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    • Alan

      I don’t understand the reference to a headlight extension – aren’t the lights in the same place, with the wings cut away and tubes added?

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      • Justin in indy

        Nah. Look at the distance from the hood edge to the tip of the front fascia. Its extended. Also, The headlights are flush from the factory, these are offset. The eyebrows may have been sectioned and moved back, But the headlights are certainly not in the factory place. Its an extensive mod, making it all the more curious how one dumps so much time into a car and then just parks it. But Im glad they do, so we can all enjoy the unearthing decades later…

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      • Justin in indy

        The nose also got a forward angular tilt.

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    • MadHungarian

      Good lord, now that I know what it is supposed to look like I cannot tolerate looking at that abominable bodge job another second. Fix it!

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  5. paul

    Well as always with these type of mods what one mans idea doesn’t always work for the next guy so basically all the value is lost as for the rest of it , not for the faint of hart.

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  6. Robert J

    With a face like that it’s no wonder she was hiding in a barn all these years. :)

    All kidding aside, the Lancia Flamina captures the essence of early 60’s Italian design. This one is already bidding higher than I would go on it.

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  7. twwokc

    Front end looks like a Packard Hawk. I would do everything I could to take it back to stock.

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  8. Patrick Calhoun

    For god sakes put it back to stock…. looks like a botched boob job.

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  9. hwj

    Wonder how much profit this flip will yield…

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  10. DolphinMember

    These were very classy Convertibles (not a ‘Spider’, as in the listing), just a notch or three below Maserati and Ferrari. But all three makes were briefly caught up in the fad of doubling up on headlights, which added nothing to the looks or current desirability. In fact, the 4-headlight Ferrari 330 GT headed straight to the bottom of resale valuations fairly soon after they were made, and still linger there today, relatively speaking.

    The original Touring design isn’t the best in the front, but this car’s re-“styling” takes the 4-light design to a new low. This is so far from original at the front that I can’t imagine that anyone who would come up with the considerable resources to buy and then completely restore this poor Flaminia would not want to bring it back to it’s original state. These are valued in the $100-$120K range now, and you would be very hard pressed to buy this for anything reasonable (say, under $25K) and then completely restore it anywhere close to a #1 for that much. These were hand built (847 made) and are expensive to restore. They have alloy bodies, which corrode over the years and require lots of time and skill to bring back, especially if any panels need replacing. I don’t think anyone is likely to sink more than the car will be worth at the end of the process only to have it look like it does now, only shiny.

    These followed the Aurelia, which had the first production V6 engine. They are little jewels when they are right, and I hope that this one is saved by a sympathetic restoration.

    Beautiful photo, araknid. Thanks.

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    • paul

      Dolphin, well said!

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  11. Charles

    Fuggly!!! What was that dude thinking?

    From the picture is looks like the bondo is cracking.

    Since the car is so rare and valuable it should be restored to original as built condition, even though it probably was no beauty queen to begin with.

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  12. ted

    This car is unique,its the first time Ive ever seen one of these on here,As for the headlights ? I wonder what do you have to got to do to replace one thats ‘burned out”?Looks like it would be complicated, Also looking at the body from a side angle,puts you in mind of the early 50s Tbird?

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  13. Chris A.

    Dolphin’s comments really apply to this rough jewel. It appears to be all there, so I hope it doesn’t end up as a parts car.araknid76’s picture doesn’t give you a feel for the size, these are not a big car. However with the transaxle they were reputed to be one of the best handling cars of their day. The interior is larger than you’d think as it lacks a transmission hump. Coming from all those years in Mass, I don’t even want to think of the extent of corrosion under that alloy skin, especially if it was ever driven in northern winter salt. I still remeber sitting in a early 60’s V4 Appia and marveled at the room inside and the unbelievable build quality.

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  14. Steve

    Last time I saw a face like that, it had a hook in it.

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  15. Richard

    Return it to stock. PLEASE. That nose is horrifyingly ugly compared to what a Flaminia is supposed to look like.

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  16. Henk3

    Now for sale at Motorcar Gallery in Ft Lauderdale.
    Come on, someone save this car!

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  17. Chris A.

    My guess is the person who bought this over a year ago is still recovering from the sticker shock cost of a restoration together with rhinoplasty on that pig snout and four eyes. Perhaps he is cutting his losses or has placed the car with Motorcar Gallery on consignment, but that nose must really turn off prospecitve buyers. What a jewel of a car if it can be restored to the original Touring design. I’ve been in one of the V4s and they are just a wonderful car. The v6 engine and chass is one of Vittorio Jano’s masterpiece designs for sure.

    Like 0

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