Any student of automotive design or engineering will readily acknowledge the contribution that the Lancia Aurelia, with its ground-breaking technology, has made to the field. Even today, collectors of the Lancia marque agree that it is one of the all-time greats.

With marvelous road manners, the Aurelia is a pleasure to operate, and the B2O GT is a popular choice for historic rally competitors. Drivers often appreciate the car's tendency toward oversteering, which resulted from the independent rear suspension on the earlier-series cars.

All significant rally victories were with the 2-liter cars - the first and second series produced. These early cars are much lighter than the later cars, and with the help of lower gearing, acceleration is surprisingly impressive. This car's engine has been lightly tuned and has a larger twin-choke carburetor. This Aurelia has all the attributes of a competition example, with modifications including perspex side and rear windows, period-type competition bucket seats and full harnesses, the addition of a tachometer, a water temperature gauge and external fuel filler. The engine has a powerful feeling and is free-revving. The bodywork has been well restored and is extremely sound. It also has been serviced recently by marque experts Omicron Classico of Norwich, England. They overhauled the braking system and carried out various tune-up work.

In 1951 alone, first-series B20s were entered in the Giro di Sicilia, the Mille Miglia, Le Mans 24 Hours, Coppa d'Oro delle Dolomiti, Giro della Calabrie, Pescara 6 Hours and various hill climbs. In 1952 they surprised the Ferraris and Mercedes-Benz works team at the Carrera Panamericana. The Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari competition cars of this period are now out of reach to all but the wealthiest collectors, making the Lancia Aurelia B20 a good value for the money.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1951 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT
Years Produced:1951-1958
Number Produced:2,916
Original List Price:$5,200
SCM Valuation:$30,000-$40,000
Tune Up Cost:$200 for labor. Parts extra and hard to find.
Distributor Caps:$240
Chassis Number Location:On plate on firewall
Engine Number Location:Crankcase, right side
Club Info:Lancia Motor Club, Mount Pleasant, Penhros, Brymbo, Wrexham, Clwyd. LL11 5LY UK (011-44-01978-750631)
Alternatives:Jaguar XK120 FHC, Aston Martin DB2

The car described above sold for $36,373, including commissions, on May 10, 1999, at the Coys of Kensington, Chiswick House, London auction. Many enthusiasts and historians feel that the Lancia B20 is the first real GT car built after WWII. Two-liter class victories at LeMans in 1951 and 1952 showed the Aurelia’s prowess against all comers in the competitive world of European GT racing.

The first-series B20 (cars with chassis numbers 1001-1500) like this one were a modern package of alloy V6 powerplant, four-wheel independent suspension with transaxle and a curb weight of 2,200 lbs. Though the first engines had a conservative power rating of 75hp, it was excellent balance and superb road manners that made these cars winners.

The SCM price range for the B20 is $30-45,000. The later, more powerful fourth-series cars are the easiest to live with, and are perfect for American-stylevintagetours. The first-series cars, by comparison, do have a more tail-happy quality that would better suit historic competition. This car seems to have been outfitted for just that purpose, and if in sound condition, will be a rock-solid, reliable performer with road manners many years in advance of its model year. If as described, this Aurelia represents an extremely fair price for a fabulous historic GT car.

-Michael Duffey

Comments are closed.