1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider Coachwork by Pinin Farina Registration no. 3 AMJ Chassis no. 1097 Engine no. to be advised
Race developed V6 engine, superlative handling and sensational Pinin Farina styling: these are the ingredients of a sports car classic and the Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider has them all. The B24 represents the ultimate development of one of the most influential designs to emerge from Italy post-WW2: the classic Aurelia. First car ever to employ a V6 engine, the Aurelia was launched at the 1950 Turin Motor Show. Designed in wartime by Francesco de Virgilio, the 1,754cc 60-degree V6 was of all-aluminium construction and used overhead valves operated via short pushrods instead of Lancia's traditional overhead camshafts. An advanced unitary construction design, the Aurelia retained Lancia's 'sliding pillar' independent front suspension, first seen on the Lambda, but used a novel semi-trailing-arm layout at the rear, another world first. The transmission too was unusual, comprising a two-piece prop-shaft and combined gearbox/rear transaxle on which were mounted the inboard brakes, though for once this was not an entirely new departure The B10 saloon was joined the following year by the landmark, Pinin Farina-styled B20 Coupé, a fastback '2+2' on a shortened wheelbase which, with its combination of sportscar performance and saloon car practicality, can be said to have introduced the Gran Turismo concept to the world. The Aurelia engine had been increased to 1,991cc in 1951 and it was this unit in up-rated form that went into the B20. Lighter and higher geared than the saloon, the B20 coupé was good for a top speed of over 100mph. Introduced in 1953, the 3rd and subsequent series B20s were powered by a 2,451cc, 118bhp version of the pushrod V6, and this unit was adopted for the Pinin Farina-styled B24 Spider (also called the 'America') launched in 1955, by which time the Aurelia had gained a leaf-sprung De Dion rear axle. Acknowledged as one of Pinin Farina's masterpieces, the Aurelia B24 Spider combined sporting characteristics with an elegance that presaged another of the Torinese carrozzeria's great works, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder of 1955. For the B24 Spider the Aurelia B20 chassis was further shortened and came with a floor-mounted gearchange as standard. Its performance equalled that of the B20 Coupé, top speed being in the region of 115mph (185km/h). Unusually clean lines enabled the Spider to achieve what was an exceptional performance for an open car of the period, being unencumbered by external door handles (there were internal pull-cords) and benefiting from a gracefully curved wraparound windscreen. Only 240 B24 Spiders were manufactured during 1954/55 and today the model is one of the most sought-after of post-war Lancias. The car offered here is among the best B24s around, possessing a large history folder dating back to 1970 confirming that it is an original car (at least 12 soft-top Aurelias are 'cloned' cars built up from saloons). Chassis number '1097' has been in continuous enthusiast ownership including the Mazjub family (father and son) and The Hon Colin Buckmaster. It was privately imported into the UK around 1958, having been supplied new on export plates in Italy. The current vendor (a long standing Lancia fan) purchased the Aurelia in 2004 as a running, MoT'd but tired car. Between 2005 and 2011, '1097' was subjected to a full 'last nut and bolt' restoration with the aim of returning the car to its condition on the day it left Pinin Farina's Corso Trapani works in 1955. The restoration was carried out mainly by ex-Crosthwaite & Gardiner employees and also by marque specialists Orchard and Omicron, using many new-old-stock parts supplied from Italy. Since completion, this B24 Spider has completed 3,000 running-in kilometres and drives without fault. Restoration works carried out include removing all components from the car and mounting the body on a specially-made jig. All paint and under-seal was removed to reveal corrosion and previous repairs, followed by media blasting of the entire body. Half floors and complete sill assemblies were remade with correct pressings in steel. Repairs in steel were made to all wheelarches, the front valance and lower quarter of the wings, and a new battery box fabricated and fitted. Complete new doors were fabricated in aluminium and all panel gaps made perfect. The underside was painted in black body guard with matting agent matching the original finish. (This car really is as clean underneath as it is on top). Research revealed that the Spider been delivered finished in grigio (off white) with maroon leather interior (traces of original grigio paintwork were found on the filler neck). The entire car was repainted and flatted by hand, and the dashboard top painted to match the colour of the leather sample (as per the original factory colour scheme). Remanufactured alloy side trims with concealed mountings and new-old-stock badges were fitted, and the bumpers repaired and re-chromed. The hood frame was repaired and remade as required, and a new mohair hood made in black. The side screens were dismantled, the Perspex polished, the brass surrounds and knurled fasteners re-chromed, and new sealing rubbers fitted. All new body-sealing rubbers were fitted, all brightwork repaired and re-chromed, and the entire body Waxoyl treated. On the mechanical side, the engine underwent a full rebuild with new pistons and cylinder liners, flywheel balanced and cylinder heads converted to unleaded compatibility. Manifolds were cleaned and correct finishes reapplied throughout (for example: the oil filter assembly is the correct colour and complete with new Fram sticker). A complete new exhaust system was made up and fitted with correct hangers. The Marelli distributor is a new-old-stock component, fitted complete with new HT leads and caps. All new fuel lines were made up in copper, the fuel pump rebuilt, and the Weber carburettor overhauled and refinished. The fuel tank was trimmed as original and the sender refurbished. The air cleaner was dismantled, the gauze element checked and cleaned, new filter outer bands made up and fitted, the fastener bolts re-chromed, and the body repainted in crackle finish, which was also applied to the rocker covers, HT lead conduits and wiring covers. All new cooling hoses were fitted, together with correct clips, and the radiator re-cored and refinished. A temperature activated Kenlowe electric fan is discretely fitted beneath the top radiator louvre for improved cooling; a departure from original but it does eliminate anxiety in traffic. Refurbishment of the running gear included removal, checking and repainting of the front suspension sliding pillar assembly. The prop shaft couplings and bushes were replaced and the shaft balanced, likewise the clutch. Checked and found to be quiet, the transaxle was cleaned and reassembled with new gaskets and fastenings. New pot joint rubbers were fitted. The axles and leaf springs were taken apart, checked, cleaned, repainted and refitted, as was the De Dion. A new brake master cylinder and all new copper brake lines were installed, and the rear brakes re-shoed. Rebuilt Flaminia saloon brakes have been fitted at the front, the drums being outwardly identical but of superior performance thanks to their twin-leading-shoe design. We are advised that these are powerful and that the Aurelia stops like a modern car! A rare and expensive Spider option, the Borrani bimetal wheels (spare included) were refinished in original colours with polished alloy rims, new hubcaps and new Michelin tyres. Turning to the electrics: the starter motor was rebuilt and a complete new wiring loom made up and installed, sheathed in black as original. For better reliability, a new alternator was fitted within the original dynamo casing together with matched voltage regulator inside the original outer. The fuse box mounting plate was remade and a new-old-stock CEAM relay and fuse box fitted, together with a reproduction legend plate. Only one Spider is recorded as having been supplied with a temperature gauge (a South African market car). When an after-market gauge has been fitted, it is usually beneath the dashboard as there is no room on the dash for a circular instrument, which is not ideal. This particular car is fitted with a period Italian octagonal temperature gauge of the same type as the South African car's, which is set into the dashboard in the same place. New glasses were fitted to the original instruments after they had been cleaned and restored. New-old-stock electrical components fitted include the Carello headlights, rear lights, number-plate lights and most of the switches. The windscreen wiper boxes were rebuilt, new-old-stock Carello windscreen wipers fitted, and the horns cleaned and repainted. Although non-original, the provision of windscreen washers is a sensible modification. The battery is a new heavy-duty item. Italian supplier Ferraresi sourced hide with correct vinyl pattern marks (a one off production) for the interior, while correct diamond-pattern rubber matting has been used throughout the cabin and in the boot where it is fitted on new hardboard (as original) over the spare wheel and battery cover recesses. The jack was cleaned and repainted in the correct blue, complete with reproduction sticker. A re-lacquered Nardi steering wheel and handmade reproduction rear view mirror completed the interior. Offered with restoration invoices and Swansea V5 document, '3 AMJ' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a painstakingly restored example of the most rare and desirable Aurelia B24 Spider, epitomising the very best of Pinin Farina styling and 'old school' Lancia design.
The numbers found on the engine are as follows:
Heads: B24 1174; Block: B20 3637