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Rare Vignale Convertible: 1959 Lancia Appia

I have often opined about the current state of Stellantis’ Lancia brand. Over the years their former glory has diminished to the point of offering only one model, the Ypsilon, a Western Europe-only model. Stellantis claims that it has future plans for this august Italian marque but one has to wonder when you look at its current state and the number of other brands being juggled under this multinational automotive manufacturer. Today, however, we’re going to turn back the hands of time and review a 1959 Lancia Appia. This one’s a Vignale-built convertible and is one of only about 1,500 constructed between ’57 and ’62. It’s located in Southborough, Massachusetts and is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $6,000. Thanks are due to Chuck F. for this tip!

The images of this open top aren’t the best but from what can be seen, the body is in fair condition. There’s lots of peeling paint, surface rust, and a dented header but it’s all there including the trim and badging. What it’s like underneath, from a structural perspective, is unknown but a thorough in-depth inspection is recommended for any interested buyers. While the images regarding the folding top aren’t conclusive, the seller states that it’s included.

One interesting aspect of this stylish Lancia is its 52 HP, 1100 CC V-4 engine, which in this case, is holding court in the passenger compartment. As the seller notes, “motor is out but there“. And that begs the question of its completeness and suitability for future operation. I imagine finding parts, or a replacement, could be a challenge. A four-speed manual transmission is responsible for making the rear wheel connection.

The interior is occupied with engine and transmission components but we’re told that the seats and gauges are all there. The driver’s seat is obviously visible and I imagine that the mostly unseen passenger seat is being obscured by that piece of OSB that’s supporting whatever engine component is occupying its regular perch. The simple instrument cluster, and its gauges, look complete with no unoccupied slots or apparent vacancies though the radio is missing.

The listing claims, “It’s a pretty complete… rare little Italian sports car roadster“. I’m down with the rare and Italian part, it’s the “pretty complete” statement that has me concerned. A potential buyer’s idea of pretty complete and the seller’s may not jibe. Still, this is a great find and it was probably a real looker in its day. Let’s hope an enthusiastic buyer jumps on this Lancia so it can be returned to that long ago day, right?

Comments

  1. Al

    I’m more familiar with the gear shift on the floor, the hump or the column. Lancia must be having problems if the put the transmission between the seats. This makes it too cumbersome to even consider driving.

    Of course its Italian, you have to really consider the styling which often surpasses the mechanical.

    Like 8
  2. Chris Cornetto

    They came to their senses before they even got it off the rental trailer. Cars like this have a special niche and few know what that niche is.

    Like 1
  3. nlpnt

    AFAIK the current Ypsilon is sold only in Italy, although earlier in its’ run it was offered Europe-wide. Probably the only other Stellantis brand riper for the chop is Vauxhall which since the early ’80s has been a zombie brand used on the Opels sold in the UK (only, the Republic of Ireland gets RHD Opel-badged ones).

    Like 1
    • Martin Horrocks

      Yes. Lancia Ypsilon is Italy only, a superannuated Fiat Punto based hatch in surprisingly big numbers at a premium price, mainly because the Punto itself was canned a few years ago. Don’t hold out hope for the return of Lancia as per the game plan, but something will happen.

      I am also baffled but not impressed by Stellantis’s full hand of subprime brands.

      Like 1
      • SubGothius

        Stellantis is allowing each of their combined marques a decade to make a case for their continued survival beyond that timeframe. Lancia is now part of a joint group with Alfa Romeo and DS (heretofore an upscale submarque of Citroen) to develop premium vehicles together (primarily EVs and hybrids), with new models set to launch for the 2024 model year.

        An all-new 4th-gen Ypsilon was set to be unveiled at the Geneva show this February but recently got an early leak — literally, as someone stole a preproduction pilot example for a joyride and then plunged it into a canal. This features many styling elements previewed in the Lancia Pu+Ra HPE concept, and shares a platform with the current Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa. Two more new Lancia models are set to launch in the next few years.

        The outgoing 3rd-gen Ypsilon — only sold in Italy in recent years, where its annual sales still exceeded all Alfa Romeo models together worldwide — was based on the Fiat 500 platform which was also the basis for the current (3rd-gen) Fiat Panda. The 1st- and 2nd-gen Ypsilon were based on the Fiat Punto platform of their respective eras.

        Like 0
  4. John Holden

    The headlight surround looks like a Triumph Herald’s.

    Like 0
    • Martin Horrocks

      Both cars designed by Micholetti. Recognise his regata flags logo as per Herald?

      Like 3
      • stillrunners stillrunners Member

        Thanks…..those flags are on a Herald in a salvage yard I visit….thought I was seeing things again…..

        Like 1
  5. gippy

    At 6K there will definitely be a buyer out there in that nether realm of folks who are hooked on a certain marque. Lancia, Fiat and Alfa Romeo are those brands that pop up on the USA market every so often generating a public “here we go again” roll eyes response. They usually get tossed into some other dealer network along side Jeeps or Dodge mini vans with puzzled salesmen mispronouncing “Alfa ROMERO” or Lan-see-ya”. Eventually tepid sales and terrible service drives a stake through the heart of the whole program, only for it to arise from the grave a decade or so later for another try at sucking the consumer blood.

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Alfa Romero? That’s Cesar’s brother, right?

      JO

      Like 2
  6. Martin Horrocks

    This would be 2-3 times the price in Europe. Parts will be found by the person who wants to take the project over.

    Like 3
  7. Frank Barrett Member

    Very rare and doesn’t look too rusty, so worth saving. Maybe drop in a 1.3 or 1.6 motor from a more common Fulvia. Parts are no problem for my ’72 Fulvia 1600HF; just call “That Guy in L.A.” or order from Europe. The Lancia Club of America is a good source for tech help.

    Like 0

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