2,451cc OHV All-Alloy V6 Engine
Single Dual-Throat Weber Carburetor
118bhp at 5,300rpm
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes – Inboard at the Rear
*Exquisitely restored example of the legendary Spider America
*Just five private owners and less than 63,000 miles from new
*Displayed and awarded at numerous regional concours d'elegance
*An outstanding Lancia ready for top events such as the Mille Miglia Storica
The Lancia Spider America
Race developed V6 engine, superlative handling and sensational Pinin Farina styling: these are the ingredients of a sports car classic and the Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America has them all.
Lancia's classic Aurelia, the first car ever to employ a V6 engine, was launched at the 1950 Turin Motor Show. An advanced unitary construction design, the 1.7-liter Aurelia featured all-independent suspension and a combined gearbox/rear transaxle on which were mounted the inboard brakes.
The sedan was joined the following year by the Pinin Farina-styled B20 Coupé, a fastback '2+2' on a shortened wheelbase which, with its combination of sports car performance and sedan-like practicality, can be said to have introduced the Gran Turismo concept to the world. Introduced in 1953, the 3rd and subsequent series B20s were powered by a 2,451cc, 118bhp version of the OHV V6, and this was adopted for the B24 Spider, also called the 'America', launched in 1954.
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 Spider of 1955. For the B24 Spider the Aurelia B20 chassis was further shortened and came with a floor-mounted gear-change as standard. Its performance equaled that of the B20 Coupe, 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, and the model's signature styling feature, split bumpers front and rear. 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 Motorcar Offered
Chassis no. B24S-1094 claims a minimal chain of just five owners throughout the course of its life, less than 63,000 miles from new, and a comprehensive restoration. Also boasting a high degree of authenticity, this mid-production Spider America showcases the beautiful design and advanced mechanicals that made the open Lancia so captivating.
This Aurelia was originally finished in pale green pastel paint and upholstered in dark green vinyl, initially taking delivery to a physician in Duchess County, New York. In 1971 the car passed to his mechanic, whose garage was across the street from a camping trailer dealer. The mechanic then traded the Spider to the dealer as a partial deposit on a camper, and the dealership offered the car for sale. The B24S was soon discovered and purchased by James Steerman, an ardent Lancia enthusiast and college professor who founded the film studies program at Vassar College in nearby Poughkeepsie, New York. Prof. Steerman and his son, James, would eventually become some of the foremost Spider America enthusiasts in the nation, owning at least one more example, as well as several other Lancias.
While Steerman frequently used the Spider in his short bouts around the Vassar campus, he also meticulously maintained the car, keeping it jacked up in a rented garage where he changed the oil and spark plugs regularly, and routinely greased the axles. He estimates accruing roughly 1,000 miles per year, as he sometimes drove the car to American Lancia Club meets around the northeast. Steerman maintains it was "a moment of weakness" when he sold the B24S in 1980 to Walter Eisenstark and Richard Klein of Yorktown Heights, New York. Even though the Aurelia still presented well and displayed an overwhelming state of originality, the new owners nevertheless opted for a full restoration, which they entrusted to the Wills Garage in Oakdale, Pennsylvania.
A majority of the photo-documented refurbishment was performed by the late Walt Spak, one of the most respected Aurelia experts in the niche (who solidified his expertise as a longtime employee of the American Lancia Parts Consortium in Pittsburgh). His refurbishment most notably featured a refinish of the exterior in a handsome shade of rosso scuro. Following completion of the restoration, Mr. Eisenstark presented the Spider at several regional events, including the 2002 Concours-Italian Style in Dearborn, Michigan, and the 2005 Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, where the car won the Best Italian Sports/Touring Car of 1956-57.
Later in 2005, the Spider America was acquired by the consignor, a collector in Southern California who undertook some further measures to heighten the restoration's authenticity. This work included re-chroming and straightening the brightwork, color-sanding the paint, and installing new wire wheels sourced from Borrani. A correct rearview mirror was custom-fabricated, a proper wraparound windshield was ordered from Finland, and the interior was reupholstered in blue, with proper black rubber floor mats, and original carpeting over the gas tank. Since the freshening, B24S-1094 has been presented at numerous events on the West Coast, including the Palos Verdes and the Los Angeles Concours d'Elegance, with best-in-class awards routinely bestowed. At the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance, the car also won special awards for color design, finish, and styling.
Accompanied by its original manuals (including a rare factory parts catalog) and a full set of tools, this outstanding B24S has been registered with the Aurelia Club of Italy. It claims an airtight chain of ownership extending to 1971, when it was reportedly sold by its first owner. It also boasts strong authenticity thanks to the recent freshening, and is believed to feature its original Aurelia motor, the groundbreaking powerplant that is generally regarded as the world's first production V-6.
Documented with some restoration invoices and photographs, this intoxicating Spider America is among the finest examples offered, and would beautifully complement any collection of Italian coachbuilt sports cars. With details like the delicately curved one-piece windscreen, the artfully pounded coachwork from Pinin Farina, and the revolutionary chassis design, this car exemplifies the finest in 1950s sports car design, and would constitute an ideal entrant for events such as the Colorado Grand and the Mille Miglia Storica.