1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda
Lot 590
Formerly the property of the late George Milligen,1928 Lancia Lambda 8th-Series Coupé Chassis no. 20354 Engine no. 10370
Sold for £59,740 (US$ 77,567) inc. premium

Lot Details
1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda 1928 Lancia 8 Series Lambda
Formerly the property of the late George Milligen
1928 Lancia Lambda 8th-Series Coupé
Coachwork by Albany Carriage Company

Registration no. XV 9930
Chassis no. 20354
Engine no. 10370


  • 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 'monocoque' body and the first to be powered by a V4 engine. The absence of a separate chassis meant that the engine, drive train and driver could by positioned lower, enabling a more aerodynamic body line to be achieved, while Lancia's patented sliding-pillar independent front suspension gave the Lambda ride and handling qualities unmatched by anything in its class. It would remain a feature of Lancia cars well into the 1950s.
    The engine, an overhead-camshaft unit of 2,120cc, was progressively enlarged, arriving at its final 2,570cc, 68bhp configuration in 1928. Production of the Lambda lasted from 1923 to 1931 in nine series; this car is one of the sought-after 2,570cc 8th Series (introduced at chassis number '18601' in 1928) which came with a four-speed gearbox and was offered with an alternative separate frame, thus enabling independent coachbuilders to meet the demand for bespoke creations. By the time production ceased in 1931, a total of some 13,000 Lambdas of all types had been made.
    First registered on 1st January 1929 to renowned collector, the late George Milligen, chassis number '20354' carries beautifully proportioned Weymann coupé coachwork by the Albany Carriage Company of Hanwell, West London. Albany specialised in fitting this ingenious, flexibly-jointed system of body construction - devised by aviation pioneer and accessory manufacturer, Charles Terres Weymann - to high-quality chassis such as Bentley, Voisin, Delage and Humber. The firm also bodied Lancia Lambdas under contract for London dealer, Charles Follett.
    Right-hand drive, like all Lancias into the 1950s, the Lambda was returned to George Milligen in the mid-1970s by his old friend Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Gordon, Royal Artillery (retired) who had had given up driving because of his advancing years. Lt-Colonel Gordon had owned the car since the 1930s, and a letter on file from the Bombay agents, Metro Motors (Automobile and Aero Engineers) indicates that Lt-Colonel Gordon took the Lancia to India with him when on service in Waziristan on the Northwest Frontier in 1934, as confirmed by various receipts.
    Gordon had bought the Lancia from its second owner Arthur Arnell, who had covered 20,000 miles with it and recalled, 'I once followed Earl Howe's racing car from Gloucester to London after the hillclimb and we actually covered 100 miles in 1hr 58min, slightly over 50 mph average... the car was undoubtedly something special among Lancias.'
    George Milligen covered some 4,000 miles in the Lambda, which he referred to as 'a fantastic car' and was still using as a daily driver for local trips in the early 1990s. He had much work done to it, including an engine overhaul and crack testing of the crankshaft and con-rods by Arthur Archer in 1978 and a re-bore and the fitting of new pistons as recently as 1991 by engine specialists J C Quantrell of Norwich.
    In September 2004 the Lambda was purchased by its fifth owner, John Malyan, the well-known Vintage car enthusiast, when the George Milligen Collection was dispersed at Bonhams' Goodwood Revival Sale (Lot 165). Over the next six years John, together with his motor engineer, David Cooper, mechanically maintained and improved the car, which was facilitated by the availability of spares through the Lambda Consortium. However, the Albany coachwork needed no work and remains original.
    'XV 9930' was driven for over 4,000 miles, including trips to many VSCC meetings, while in John Malyan's ownership, and benefited from considerable mechanical refurbishment. This work included renewal of the prop-shaft bearings, clutch plates and linings, gearbox bearings, camshaft bevel gears, radiator core, water jacket side plates, front road springs, brake linings and air filter. In addition, the cylinder head has been skimmed and rebuilt with new valves and guides; the cam bearings reset; the electrics rewired throughout; indicators installed; thermostats fitted to the top hoses; the carburettor overhauled; and the wheels rebuilt and fitted with new tyres. This car has one of quietest running Lambda engines on the road today.
    The current (sixth) owner bought the Lambda from John Malyan in September 2010 and has used it locally around Surrey and Sussex. However, age and his doctor's advice have led to this sale. Presented in delightfully original condition, never repainted or re-trimmed, 'XV 9930' is taxed/MoT'd to August 2013 and offered with Swansea V5 document, a few tools, sundry spare parts and three large files of records and receipts. A wonderful opportunity to acquire a fine, low mileage example of one of the most outstanding automotive designs of all time, possessing full ownership history from new.

Saleroom notices

  • Due to a printing error, the description in its entirety is absent from the printed catalogue. It is present and correct in the online catalogue, and available to view at the sale venue.
Auction information

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
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

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalog for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

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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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