1929 Lancia Lambda Torpedo Tourer series 8SOLD

Christie's Retromobile Paris Auction - February, 16 & 17th, 2007

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Estimate 45,000 - 55,000 Euros
Result (incl.) 45,825 Euros

Engine: Tipo 67, four cylinders in narrow Vee, overhead camshaft, 2,570cc, 69bhp at 3,500rpm, Zenith Triple Diffuser carburettor; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: front, Lancia patented independent with sliding pillars, rear, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel mechanical. Right hand drive.

Model history

When announced in 1922, the Lancia Lambda was without doubt the most advanced motor car design of its day, incorporating design features which are still modern. Including a rigid monocoque hull structure instead of a conventional flexible chassis frame, independent front suspension and a compact narrow Vee engine with aluminum cylinder block and single overhead camshaft. The Torpedo Tourer went on sale in 1923 and soon became renowned for its performance, handling and safe road holding. It was lower, more spacious and comfortable, lighter to drive and therefore faster and safer. Designed as a tourer it has sports car handling and road holding and achieved standards and solutions to car design decades before other manufacturers thought of them.

"The Best Medium Powered Car in the World" says 1925 Lambda advertisement. "Not built to a price but as a masterpiece of advanced design and engineering skill-to satisfy the most discriminating Motorist who demands the utmost in quality, appearance and performance". True today as proven by the enthusiastic following Lambdas have Worldwide.

But history and development in particular is not always well-timed; while some manufacturers find their timing to be fortuitous others are often well-ahead of their day. The same was certainly true for the Lambda for, in a time when customers were used to buying their chassis and choosing their own particular type of coachwork, the standardised bodywork made necessary by the monocoque design limited their appeal. So much so that remarkably, by the later series such as this car, Lancia were forced to offer a platform chassis to allow their clientele this choice.

Specific history of this car

On file is a letter from the Lancia works archive that this Eighth Series Lambda was originally supplied on the 28th January 1929, and that it was a long chassis car with no boot and a custom built, non-factory body, since it was bodied outside the works they state that they do not know the type of bodywork, or the colour. It details that the car would originally have had engine number 10186, so this must have been replaced at some stage by an earlier unit.

It is known that by the 1960s the car was found in somewhat dilapidated form and missing the rear of its bodywork.

At this time the car was sold to the Isle of Man where it was to be restored and form part of the Manx Motor Museum, however this plan never came to fruition and the car was sold to the U.K. some 15 years later. The car passed through a series of hands in the U.K. including noted dealer David Howard (now France-based).

It was at this time that the car was finally restored, receiving a new tail section built in period style and to retain the compact torpedo lines associated with the model. It was subsequently sold at auction in the U.K. at the Honourable Artillery Company in London in December 1988, when it was purchased by noted collector Chris Thomas.

The car later passed into the ownership of Nick Mason's Ten Tenths company, from whom the present owner acquired it in the late 1990s.

Specific details of this car

The Lambda has seen nearly 20 years of regular and active use by enthusiasts with the result that its mid-1980s restoration has now worn commensurately with this use, though not excessively. There are therefore paint chips, scuffs and wear to the bodywork and upholstery and the engine bay is a working environment rather than being in show order.

Over the years the Lancia has had the sensible improvements of a modern prop shaft, modern starter motor and oil filter fitted to enhance its usability, while it is currently aspirated through a Zenith carburettor. The car retains a period though slightly earlier engine which has its original cylinder head, and that has been stitch welded at some time.

A Lancia Lambda remains a very usable car, it has the ability to keep up with the pace of modern traffic and accommodate four passengers comfortably, while the solid survival rate of these cars, together with the support of their owners clubs ensures the availability of spares and advice to maintain and enjoy them. As such they are to be recommended and this example would provide an entry to those circles, which could be used as is or gently refurbished over time.

Reference Number 6941

as of 2/1/2007

Car 1929 Lancia Lambda Torpedo Tourer series 8
VIN 20380 
Exterior / Interior Color      Bordeaux /      Black 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Options Exterior: Two-tone paint, Wire wheels
Interior: Leather interior 
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