Amelia Island | Lot 169
1947 Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
$162,400 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
22 May 2021
- One of just 10 examples provided with cabriolet coachwork from Pinin Farina
- An important example of early post-war, limited-production coachbuilding
- Delivered new to Switzerland
- Faithfully restored by marque specialists
The Aprilia was a pivotal model for Lancia, and the last to be completed before Vincenzo Lancia’s death in 1937. Entering production that year, the factory berlina had an advanced unit body, four-wheel independent suspension, and a remarkably compact narrow-angle V-4. The 1939 Series II saw the engine enlarged from 1,352 to 1,486 cubic centimeters, with the emphasis on increased torque and smoothness. As was Lancia’s practice, the factory offered the platform to coachbuilders, and Pinin Farina’s engagement with the Aprilia began from the model’s introduction.
Pinin Farina built bespoke Aprilias for road and competition use before the war, as well as two-door cabriolets and various berlinas offered in the factory catalogue. Remarkably, although late-war production was greatly reduced by Allied bombing, Aprilia production continued throughout the conflict. As a result, when chassis 11854 was delivered to Pinin Farina in 1946, the carrozzeria was intimately familiar with the model’s potential.
Of more than 28,600 Aprilias produced, just 10 examples received this Pinin Farina Cabriolet bodywork. Delivered new to Switzerland, chassis 11854 was reportedly first registered in January 1947. Lancia marque historian Jean Pierre Baumgartner located 11854 several decades later in a state of disrepair outside of a Swiss barn and commissioned the leading Lancia specialists across Europe to undertake a faithful restoration.
Though no records of this restoration—which reportedly took over five years to complete—have been retained, the quality of work is evident; many correct parts were sourced by noted Lancia specialists Autoricambi Cavalitto in Torino, Italy, with work on the car completed by reputable Swiss workshops. In 2014, 11854 was sold to a resident of Walgau, Germany, with whom it remained until acquisition by the consignor in July 2018.
Presented in its factory-correct color combination of white over dark red leather, 11854 is a sight to behold. An attractive navy blue top provides stunning contrast; when not in use, it is secured below a dark red boot cover. The driver and passenger face a dashboard color-matched to the white exterior and set with a striking composition in bakelite and chrome. The Aprilia Cabriolet’s tasteful brightwork, radiused wheel arches, and subtle modeling established Pinin Farina’s post-war direction as much as their legendary Cisitalia 202 of the following year.
This Lancia Aprilia is a highly significant Pinin Farina design. Equally importantly, its advanced engineering makes it as usable as it is beautiful and as rewarding to drive as it is to admire.