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1956 Lancia Aurelia B12

Make: Lancia
Model: Aurelia B12
Year: 1956
Registration Number: 409 UYW
Chassis Number: B12 2052
Engine Number: 2475
Transmission: Manual
Steering: Right Hand Drive
MOT Test Expiry: Exempt
Mileage: 69123
Price: £25000
Road Tax Exempt

Shame if you have already dismissed this as just another boring fifties saloon. Given that individual people have recently spent eye-watering sums of money to be taken on an ‘out of world experience’ to the edge of space and back, they really could have spent very much less on this Lancia and maybe had more fun. So what is so special? Herewith the technical bit.

Designed by Vittorio Jano, the Aurelia was launched in 1950 and continued to 1958. The 60 degree V6  engine was developed by Francesco de Virgillio, initially as a 1.8 litre unit but rising to around  2.5 litre, and had an all alloy pushrod design with a single camshaft between the cylinder banks. At the rear lies a transaxle with gearbox, clutch, differential and inboard mounted drum brakes. The front suspension is of sliding pillar design with semi-trailing arms initially, using a De Dion tube on later models.

Four doors enclose the modestly styled body and upon opening one at the front, the rear one may be opened at the same time allowing very easy access. A genuine ‘pillarless’ saloon as loved by Lancia. If the comfortable part tan leather interior seems quite normal in terms of seating, indeed the cockpit and dashboard may seem a bit understated, but the thinking may have been that you will be so mesmerised by what is happening outside the vehicle you will have no need for fancy dials and burr walnut trim within, and you certainly will not need a cup holder. A gentle pull on the small chromed knob under the dash and with the softest of clunks, the bonnet is released. Suspicion must have been aroused by now and if not, a look in the engine bay will confirm this is no ordinary boring fifties saloon. The clean lines of the 2,266cc V6 sits unpretentiously in place topped by a single Zenith carburettor with a stainless steel exhaust exiting un-dramatically to the rear. Stepping back, you will note that the wheels have a meaningful look and are correctly shod with Michelin tyres. Perhaps this motor car really needs to be on the Strada Statale 38 rather than in Station Road, Stalbridge, to appreciate it fully.

Condition-wise, the lovely silver-blue metallic paintwork was taken to bare metal and resprayed in 2018/19 and the vendor tells us that the floor is rust free . The interior retains the original headlining and had carpets and door seals in 2018. Mechanically, all is described as good, the engine having been overhauled in 2019 using parts from specialists Omicron in 2019. The motor car is said to drive as it should.

This Lancia comes with a V5C registration certificate, a detailed workshop manual, various invoices and the all-important  Certificate di Origine from Lancia Classiche, confirming all the original numbers are present for body, engine etc.

It is said that a true Lancia should carry a Government Health Warning as they can be so addictive. Some will mutter about rust problems dissolving your investment. Seriously, just how much spacecraft was left after that very expensive trip ‘out of this world’?  Anyway modern preservation techniques and careful nurturing will ensure this one will offer more excitement in the full Lancia tradition for years to come.