The Flaminia was the first Lancia designed by Antonia Fessici and was the company's flagship when launched in 1957. Fessici had finally broken with tradition and discarded the previously used vertical coil independent front suspension in favor of wishbones. The engine was a 2.5-liter V6 driving through an aft-mounted gearbox and de Dion rear axle. In 1964 the 3C version was introduced with a 2.8-liter engine producing 152 horsepower.
Without doubt the most attractive coachwork on these chassis was the "Double Bubble" coupe by Zagato, of which 187 were built. They are quite simply a stunning combination of all Italian machinery and cosmetic design.
This original triple-carburetor Super Sport was sold new in Milan in 1966, and spent a number of years in a Swiss collection. It was later imported to the UK and at one time was in the ownership of Martin Cliffe, the owner and founder of renowned Lancia specialist Omicron Engineering. When contacted recently by the present owner, Mr. Cliffe confirmed the car to be a correct and original example that had never undergone major restoration simply because it had never been necessary. Nevertheless, over the years work has been carried out as when required, and records of the work are on file. He also confirmed that it had been a former National Lancia Concours trophy winner.
Today, the car presents well. Its paintwork, despite now having some age, is good, and the interior, which has at some time been refurbished in red leather, is in very good order. We have not had the opportunity to road test the car, but we are informed that it drives well and that a new clutch has been recently fitted.
|Vehicle:||1966 Lancia Flaminia 2.8 3C Super Sport|
|Original List Price:||$6,750|
|Tune Up Cost:||$500|
|Chassis Number Location:||Plate on right side of firewall|
|Engine Number Location:||Right side of cylinder head|
|Club Info:||American Lancia Club, 27744 Via Ventana, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022 650/941-7497|
|Alternatives:||Aston Martin DB4, Jensen C-V8, Posche 356 S90, Jaguar E-type|
This car sold for $55,795, including buyer’s premium, at Christie’s Nine Elms sale in London, March 25, 2002.
The Flaminia Sport, the last of the truly great Lancias, is little known outside of Italy. Following Lancia’s acquisition by Fiat in 1969 the marque began a slow, painful slide into badge-engineering mediocrity. Earlier Lancias have a cult following in the US, and a near-secret underground of devotees exists to keep these cars on the road.
Designed as the replacement for the famous Aurelia, the Flaminia Sport arrived in 1959 as one of three coachbuilt derivatives of the four-door Flaminia Berlina, the other two being a Pininfarina coupe and Touring coupe/convertible. While the Pininfarina and Touring cars are both attractive designs, it is the Zagato-bodied Sport that stands out. Lighter, faster and the most sporting, the Zagato body was hammered by hand from sheets of aluminum. The signature “double bubble” roofline is easily identifiable as the Zagato design trademark.
The Sport is a two-passenger coupe, with a surprising amount of interior room, including a parcel area behind the seats, and a pass-through door from the driver’s compartment into the trunk that can accommodate a pair of skis. The trunk is surprisingly large, another testimony to the fact that this model was designed as a useable grand touring car.
The Flaminia retained the 2458-cc aluminum V6 engine from the Aurelia, which provided the original Sport with 119 horsepower. Lancia upgraded carburetion from the single twin-choke Solex of the original configuration to three twin-choke Webers on 2.8-liter configuration, which produced 152 horsepower in its final version.
The Flaminia Sport was offered in three model series over the years. The Series I had covered cowled headlights, body-enclosed door handles, and the 2.5-liter single-carb setup. The Series II cars had exposed headlights, more conventional door handles, and the 2.5-liter engine with single or triple carbs. A few had the 2.8 3C setup. The Series III cars, as illustrated here, were the most refined. These cars had a cut-off Kamm tail and reverted to the cowled teardrop headlight design.
I personally took delivery of a Flaminia Sport Zagato-a 2.8-liter, rounded-tail, three-carb version-some nine months ago. I had long desired the opportunity to own an aluminum-bodied Zagato creation and jumped at the chance when a complete Sport in need of some attention came along. Sorting it out would have been a tedious undertaking if I hadn’t been so enthralled by the process. First attention was given to the duplex braking system, which is unique to say the least, and let’s not forget the in-board rear disc brakes or the transaxle with rear-mounted clutch assembly. Then came the synchronization of the triple Webers.
But with the help of noted Lancia restorer Tony Nicosia, everything came together very nicely, and within two weeks of ownership my six-year-old son and I drove to an Italian under-3.0-liter meeting some 70 miles from our home. (Fortunately we had Tony behind us in his Aurelia convertible.) The car is quick enough to keep up with modern traffic, handles well, and makes the kinds of noises that only a triple-carbed Italian V6 can produce. The car is a true motoring pleasure at 75 miles per hour on the open road.
While I’m hardly an unbiased critic, I think that if the car pictured here was as described, and drives well, then it was properly priced in the current market, and both buyer and seller can be pleased. Few Zagato-bodied Sports were made, and far fewer remain today. The new owner has acquired a vintage car with abundant personality, and one that is a pleasure to behold.-Chet Andrews