Lancia Lambda
Lot 588
1930 Lancia Lambda 8th-Series Tourer Chassis no. 21698 Engine no. 11712
Sold for £68,700 (US$ 84,054) inc. premium

Lot Details
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1930 Lancia Lambda 8th-Series Tourer
Registration no. GH 1238
Chassis no. 21698
Engine no. 11712


  • One of the most gifted automobile engineers of all time, Vincenzo Lancia founded his own company in 1906 having previously been in FIAT's employ as chief test driver. Introduced in 1907, the first Lancia car showed an independence of thought and defiance of convention that would remain associated with the marque well into the modern era. Military vehicles, lorries, vans and aero engines followed, the latter enabling Lancia to accrue valuable expertise in the design and construction of 'V'-configuration power plants.
    Apart from a solitary six-cylinder model, the relatively unsuccessful Dialfa of 1908/1909, all early Lancias had four-cylinder engines and were only supplied in chassis form, there being no in-house coachworks at this time. Lancia's very first offering, the 18/24hp Alfa, embodied the principles that its maker had come to consider essential: low weight, a high-revving engine, shaft drive, a pressed steel front axle and worm-and-screw steering. New models were introduced on almost a yearly basis – all named after letters of the Greek alphabet – and production increased sufficiently for Lancia to move to larger premises in via Monginevro, Turin in 1911.
    Lancia's first V-engined model - the V8 Trikappa sports car - appeared in 1922 but it was the Lambda, launched soon after, that would prove to be of even greater significance. A milestone in automotive history, the revolutionary Lambda was the world's first car to have a stress-bearing body and the first to be powered by a V4 engine. The absence of a separate chassis meant the driver could sit lower, enabling a low aerodynamic body line to be achieved, while Lancia's patented sliding-pillar independent front suspension endowed the Lambda with ride and handling qualities unmatched by anything in its class. The engine, an overhead-camshaft unit of 2,120cc, was progressively enlarged, arriving at its final 2,570cc, 68bhp configuration in 1928. Although not designed with competition in mind, the Lambda in modified form proved extremely capable in that role, one finishing 4th overall at the inaugural Mille Miglia of 1927, a class-winning achievement repeated the following year. Production of the Lambda lasted from 1923 to 1931 in nine series, some 13,000 being built.
    This car is one of the sought-after 2,570cc 8th Series (introduced at chassis number '18601' in 1928) which was offered with an alternative separate frame thus enabling independent coachbuilders to meet the demand for bespoke creations. Its previous owners include John Vessey (who runs the Lambda Consortium), John Turner, Lambda expert Anthony Morse (1967-1968), Robin Baraclough (1968-2003) and the current vendors from 2003 onwards. The engine is all matching numbers (block and head) as are the axles and gearbox. Both the carburettor and air filter are original and the car retains correct twin scuttle/engine bay fuel tanks with Autovac and Zenith fuel filter.
    Originally bodied as a saloon, chassis number '21698' was dismantled by its previous owner, Robin Baraclough. The original body being beyond economical repair, the current owners decided to have a touring body made. Nick Jarvis constructed the ash frame, which was panelled and painted (circa 2006/2007) by the vendors.
    The car was completely dismantled and everything overhauled and painted, including the engine bay in correct blue/grey. Rebuilt in 1986 (invoice on file) the engine was dismantled again in 2007, new Accralite forged pistons fitted (one spare goes with the car) and the cylinder head overhauled with new roller rockers. At around the same time the instruments were rebuilt by Vintage Restorations, new interior trim, hood and side screens fitted, and the wheels rebuilt and shod with new tyres. In 2011 the rear axle was rebuilt with new 3.9:1 ratio crown wheel and pinion set and all new bearings. The brake shoes were relined that same year.
    An expired MoT on file dating from September 1970 records the mileage at that time as 40,226 while the current odometer reading is a believed genuine 42,968, indicating that the car has covered only 2,742 miles in 42 years. The car also comes with an old-style RF60 logbook, expired MoT certificates dating back to 2007, current MoT/tax and old/current Swansea V5/V5C documents. Described by the vendor as in generally excellent condition, 'GH 1238' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a fine, low mileage example of one of the most outstanding automotive designs of all time.
Auction information

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

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A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:

25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

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  1. Rob Hubbard
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5805
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