Chassis No. 439-11844
The Aprilia was an important model for Lancia and the last model completed before Vincenzo Lancia’s death in 1937. Entering production that year, the cars right out of the factory had an advanced uni-body, four-wheel independent suspension, and a very advanced and compact narrow-angle V-4. The 1939 Series II saw the engine enlarged from 1,352 cc to 1,486 cc, with the emphasis on increased torque and smoothness. As was Lancia’s practice, the factory offered a platform for coachbuilders. With a structural engine bay and cowl, and a unitized sheet steel floor and rear, the platform provided torsional stiffness while allowing enormous design freedom for coachbuilders such as Pinin Farina. Remarkably, although late-war production was greatly reduced by Allied bombing, Aprilia production continued throughout the conflict.
As a result, when Aprilia chassis number 439-11844 was delivered to Pinin Farina in 1946, they were intimately familiar with the model and its design potential. It was fitted with beautiful one off cabriolet coachwork and fitted with two seats plus rear jump seats in case of passengers. The driver and passenger face a dashboard color-matched to the upholstery and set with a striking composition in bakelite and chrome. It is, however, the cabriolet’s exterior that sets it apart – a beautiful exercise in clean lines and details. With the lines of the windshield pillar and side window extending into the door cuts, it is as beautiful with the top up as with it down.
With few opportunities to show the car in war-torn Italy, and the 1946 Paris Salon d’Automobile closed to the former Axis countries, Battista Farina was determined to ‘crash the party.’ Joined by his son, Sergio, age 20, at the wheel of a Pinin Farina-designed Alfa Romeo 2500, Battista drove this car from Turin to Paris personally. Upon arrival they were barred from entering the Grand Palais so he displayed his two cars outside the Salon in the courtyard, which saw them featured on the cover of the widely read magazine, L’Illustration. Battista Farina recounted the magic of the trip in his memoirs as the first and one of the most memorable with his son. Following this publicity stunt, the Aprilia was acquired by Roblou, a Lancia importer in Neuilly sur Seine, where it remained until 1965. The car was discovered in northern France in 2010, and subsequently underwent a thorough restoration in Italy and still shows beautifully today.
This Lancia Aprilia is a very significant Pinin Farina post-war design and significant one off show car. It is featured in the Catalogue Raisonné by Pininfarina and is exceptionally good looking. The advanced V4 engine runs and drives really well making this car not only pleasurable to look at, but to drive as well. If you are looking for an exceptional one off significant Italian car then look no further. This would be a great car to show on the lawn at Pebble Beach or any other Concours event. Contact us today for more information.
Price upon request.