Timewarp, unrestored example
1927 Lancia Lambda Seventh Series Short Wheelbase Roadster
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Casaro of Turin
Chassis no. 16140
Engine no. 6185
No Bonhams auction would be complete without a 'barn find' automobile, and this remarkable Lancia Lambda must be one of the most perfect, complete, unmolested and original automobiles that have surfaced in recent times. It is a late, Seventh series, variant of the model, by which time Lancia's ingenuity of the monocoque formula had been deemed a little too ahead of a time when most buyers of automobiles expected to be able to tailor cars to their own requirement and they had begun to offer a platform option which could carry coachwork of the buyers desiring. In this case, its owner acquired a beautifully proportioned, compact two seater roadster with vanishing rumble seat from the local coachbuilder Casaro of Turin. The name Casaro itself is hallowed when associated with the Lancia brand as they were also to pen the bodywork for the three unofficial Lancia team Mille Miglia entries in 1928 and 1929.
Pre-dating those automobiles, it matches period advertising by the coachbuilder in each detail, although few photos be they period or contemporary today prepare the enthusiast for seeing the car in the flesh. This is a very interesting experience for any aficionado of originality or of Lancia/Lambdas. The car retains many original features that are frequently lost over time on these cars, such as the carburetor and Autovac, its Bosch lighting and switchgear are all present, as are its radiator and 'eared' gas caps. The interior fabric, itself a period grained leather is complete, albeit with some splits to the front seat squab seams which may well be repairable, the door panels and even wood trims with beaded inlay remain. Underneath the front seats are neatly arranged trays for spares, which still include some original tools, while lifting the rumble seat reveals a near perfectly intact interior.
Of course, finding a car in this extraordinary order begs an answer to the question, how did it survive the ravages of time - particularly, when so many Lambdas have been butchered for competition? In fact this one too had a narrow escape, back in the 1940s it was acquired by its former owner in New York State from a gentleman who had bought it with the intention of turning it into a trailer! Realizing that the car didn't have a conventional chassis and was therefore no use to him, his intention had been to scrap the car and keep the wheels for such a project. The previous owner stepped in at this point and managed to negotiate an exchange with for some Ford Model A wheels, which were of more use to the owner for a trailer. Amazingly from that period onwards having saved the car, it actually was used very little and thereby accounting for its condition today. Since its unearthing, an attempt has been made to run the car, which was successful, but naturally it must be considered in need of thorough work before use.
Arguably a candidate for some light attention before showing in preservation classes, or alternatively the basis for a sympathetic restoration, whether these or a concours rebuild await the car it will provide its next owner with one of the rarest and best looking Lambdas and an eminently usable touring car.
- We are advised by a marque expert that factory production records confirm that this car was produced in November, 1926. The original gearbox number was 3066 and the original rear axle was number 6009.