1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider AmericaSOLD

Gooding & Company Classic Car Auctions

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To be sold at the Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auctions on January 18 and 19, 2013. For further details please visit www.goodingco.com or contact a vehicle specialist at 001.310.899.1960 or specialist@goodingco.com. Engine Specifications: 2,451 CC V-6 Engine Weber 40 DCZ5 Carburetor 125 BHP at 5,300 RPM 4-Speed Manual Transaxle Front Drum Brakes, Rear Inboard Drum Brakes Independent Sliding-Pillar Front Suspension De Dion Rear Axle with Leaf Springs and Shock Absorbers About this Car: The Lancia Founded in 1906, Lancia built a reputation for engineering excellence and imagination from its earliest models. Its engineers regularly searched for and found the best solutions, even if they were not the most cost effective. As Europe came out of the devastation of WWII, most manufacturers, including Lancia, looked to their pre-war models to develop their new products. It was not anticipated, however, that their first post-war car would be revolutionary. The Aurelia B10 sedan was unveiled in 1950 to an astonished world. The specifications, V-6 engine, four-speed rear transaxle, and inboard brakes appeared to be the imaginings of the future and are still impressive today. The sedan was joined first by the B50, a chassis for coachbuilders, and then the B20 GT coupe in 1951. A sporting open variation followed in 1955. The intended market for this car was made clear with its name – the B24 Spider America. Its smoothly sculptured body by Pinin Farina was combined with a very “American” wraparound windshield. It did without roll-up windows and external door handles, as was the style of the time for roadsters. Of the 240 Spider Americas built, 181 had a left-hand-drive configuration, reflecting the US market emphasis for the model. In late 1956, the B24 convertible replaced the Spider America. Though they were more conventionally appointed, these rare early Spiders remain some of the most beautifully designed and engineered sports cars ever built. In summer 1956, John Jang walked into British Motor Car Distributors, his favorite sports car dealership, on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. Inside, he was greeted by two salesmen he knew well; they were eager to show him the new Lancia that was displayed on their showroom floor. The car was tilted sideways at a high angle, with mirrors placed underneath to show the B24’s innovative inboard rear brakes and distinctive suspension design. Fascinated, Mr. Jang asked that the car be taken down for a test drive. The drive went so well and he found the Lancia Aurelia’s performance so appealing that he traded his $3,000 1953 Porsche Cabriolet, which he had bought only a month before, toward the purchase of the $5,600 Lancia and drove it home to Oakland. His red Lancia was still in his Northern California garage 56 years later. In the early years of his ownership, Mr. Jang recalls curious admirers asking, “What kind of car is that?” He eventually became known around town as the “guy driving the little red sports car.” In 1957, Mr. Jang took the Aurelia on its longest-ever trip to Los Angeles for a golf tournament, stopping at Disneyland while he was in town. The following year, he went to visit family in Suisun Valley in California’s wine country. He recalls driving numerous cousins through the countryside in the Spider America, though one swore never to ride with him again because of the speed at which he drove. In 1961, Mr. Jang and his new bride drove the Lancia on a vacation through Sausalito and continued up the California coast on Highway 1. Along the way, he took a series of photos, which were the only pictures ever taken of this car until just a few weeks ago. In 1963, the young couple moved from the Bay Area to Sacramento, where life became very busy with a new business opening and a baby on the way; the Lancia Aurelia made the move to the new house but was never driven again. When California license plates changed from yellow to black, the new plates were installed, but registration tags were never affixed. A padlock was placed on the wooden overhead garage door, and the Aurelia was kept under a cover for the next 49 years. In December 2012, the Jangs made the decision to sell the red Spider America, asking a trusted family friend to assist them in bringing it to market. The Jangs’ Spider America showed just over 28,000 original miles at the time of cataloguing. The original gray leather interior is dry but mostly intact. The engine turns over freely in its dusty compartment and appears absolutely complete and original. The electrical system functions as it did in period, numerous factory markings have been found, and the entire car presents as only an undisturbed, low-mileage car can. The rare Plexiglas removable side windows were found stored along with the original tools, jack, and spare wheel. The original rearview mirror and even the headlight rings, which have not been mounted on the car in over 50 years, were found in the lower recesses of the trunk. This sequestered Spider America has re-emerged into a world where it is one of the most sought-after 1950s sports cars. When it is seen up close, one is reminded of the astute adage of car collecting: “What was special then is special now; what was ordinary then may be rare now, but it’s still ordinary.” One of the most refined and beautiful sports cars of the era, and never ordinary for a day since it was built, the Jangs’ Lancia Aurelia is a treasure of the most legendary kind. Collectors should take note that an opportunity of this importance is unlikely to present itself again.

Reference Number 206504

as of 2/15/2013

Overview
Car 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America
VIN B24S 1123 
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