A Class Of Its Own

Experimental 1951 Lancia Aurelia restoration took 4,000 hours

Released in 1950, the ground breaking Aurelia is a single of the most sought-soon after...

Released in 1950, the ground breaking Aurelia is a single of the most sought-soon after Lancia designs created soon after Entire world War II. Collectors fork out a quality for vehicles with a documented racing historical past, and a single-offs designed as in-home experiments are fascinating, so it can be no surprise a 1951 coupe that ticked each bins deserved a four,000-hour restoration.

United Kingdom-based mostly shop Thornley Kelham explained a rich privateer racer named Giovanni Bracco obtained this 1951 Aurelia new in Italy and took it racing nearly right away. It concluded 2nd over-all in that year’s Mille Miglia, initial at the Caracalla Night Race, and it gained initial in its class (and twelfth over-all) in the 24 Hrs of Le Mans. These ended up impressive results for the Aurelia, whose major assert to fame was being the initial common-generation car or truck geared up with a V6 motor, but Lancia was no stranger to podium finishes.

Its story took an intriguing switch when it confirmed up at the 1951 version of the Carrera Panamericana with a markedly lower roof line. Bracco knew the Lancia family perfectly, and he organized to have its prime chopped at the factory to make it far more aerodynamic. He crashed on the fourth day of racing, offered it to a Mexican architect, and returned property. It re-appeared at the next year’s Carrera Panamericana and concluded ninth prior to disappearing. Some speculated it was concealed in The us some others assumed it experienced been crushed and recycled.

The initial hypothesis was accurate, but proving it was less difficult explained than accomplished. The car or truck experienced acquired a redesigned rear conclusion Thornley Kelham explained as hump-backed and Volkswagen Beetle-like. Some of the unique elements experienced been minimize out and discarded, which created the restoration course of action exponentially far more complicated.

The shop fabricated a new, period-accurate rear conclusion utilizing 3D scans and fiberglass molds. It then painted it black, its unique shade, prior to offering it a coat of purple, the shade it wore when it was entered in the 24 Hrs of Le Mans, and ultimately spraying a 2nd coat of black, the shade it was painted in when it raced in the Carrera Panamericana. It was equipped with seats from an Ardea — Lancia’s V4-driven entry-degree model — when it raced, so Thornley Kelham sourced a pair and re-trimmed it. Interval-accurate lettering added a finishing touch to the restoration.

The V6 motor and the four-speed guide transmission ended up entirely rebuilt. All informed, resurrecting this a single-of-a-variety Aurelia necessary four,000 several hours of do the job distribute out over a a few-calendar year period.

“Many years of modifications and misuse created this potentially a single of the most difficult restorations we’ve at any time accomplished,” explained Simon Thornley, co-founder of Thornley Kelham, in a assertion. The shop is at present doing work on a challenge that appears to be like even far more ambitions than reviving the Lancia. It really is in the course of action of bringing a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 obtained new and raced by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini back again to lifetime soon after a long time of neglect.