1956 Lancia Aurelia B24 Convertible

The Aurelia B24 feels much more modern on the road than many contemporaries, including the Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider or Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mk III

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A race-developed V6 engine, superlative handling and sensational Pinin Farina styling: These are the ingredients of a sports car classic and the Lancia Aurelia B24 has them all.

The B24 represents the ultimate development of one of the most influential designs to emerge from post-World War II Italy. The Aurelia was launched at the 1950 Turin Motor Show, the first car ever to employ a V6 engine. The all-aluminum, 60-degree V6 of 1,754-cc displacement was designed during the war by Francesco de Virgilio. It used overhead valves operated via short pushrods instead of Lancia’s traditional overhead camshafts.

The Aurelia’s body was of similarly advanced unitary construction. The suspension retained Lancia’s “sliding pillar” independent design in the front, as first used on the Lambda, but in the rear was fitted a novel semi-trailing-arm layout, another world first. The transmission was also unusual, with a two-piece prop-shaft and combined gearbox and rear transaxle, on which were mounted inboard brakes.

The B10 saloon was joined in 1951 by the Pinin Farina-styled B20 Coupe, a fastback “2+2” with a shortened wheelbase. With its combination of sports car performance and sedan practicality, it can be said to have introduced the Gran Turismo concept to the world. The V6 was increased to 1,991 cc in 1951 and it was this unit that went unto the B20. Lighter and higher geared than the saloon, the coupe was good for a top speed of over 100 mph.

Starting in 1953, the third-series (and all subsequent iterations) of B20s were powered by a 2,451-cc, 118-hp version of the pushrod V6. This unit was also adopted for 1954’s B24 Spider, the first open Aurelia, which also featured a leaf-sprung De Dion rear axle.

Capitalizing on the Spider’s success, Lancia introduced a more practical B24 convertible in 1955, soon after production of the Spider had ceased. Again styled by Pinin Farina, the B24 Convertible looked superficially similar to its open sibling, but in fact was a total re-design that shared no panels with the predecessor.

Offered fresh from a complete tune-up and check-over, this superb B24S Convertible was restored by and for noted Lancia collector Dr. Paul Guttman. The restoration, undertaken in the early 1990s, included an engine rebuild by recognized Lancia expert Steve Garland. Finished in maroon with tan leather interior, the car features Borrani chromed wire wheels and comes with a rare, un-restored hardtop.