1946 Lancia Aprilia Pinin Farina CabrioletLancia was at the height of creativity in the 1930s. In the first part of the decade while still under the leadership of the brilliant Vincenzo Lancia the firm had created some of the most advanced machines of the era. Vincenzo had previously enjoyed a successful career as a racing driver for FIAT before joining the ranks as a manufacturer in 1908. He proved to be every bit as effective an engineer as he was a driver perhaps even more so. Lancias designs were far ahead of their time and he pioneered the use of independent front suspension unibody construction and narrow V-angle engines. Even well after his death in 1937 Lancia cars were renowned for their innovative engineering exquisite build quality and meticulous attention to detail.The last car Vincenzo Lancia designed before his untimely death was the Aprilia. A four-cylinder mid-sized model it was introduced in 1937 and was thoroughly remarkable for the era. It featured four-wheel independent suspension a narrow-angle V4 engine of 1351 c.c. (1485 c.c. from 1939) and a clever platform chassis that was a precursor to unibody construction. There was no traditional ladder frame; rather a reinforced floor pan served as the main structural element. It allowed for a rigid lightweight car that also had the benefit of being friendly for coachbuilders. The 49 horsepower of later models was ample power to propel the little Aprilia along at speeds approaching 80 mph. The factory offered a variety of somewhat traditional bodies while Italys finest coachbuilders took full advantage of the versatile platform to create designs worthy of the highly advanced chassis.This genuinely stunning motorcar is one such creation penned by Batista Pinin Farina in 1946. Pinin Farina had a lot of experience with the Aprilia platform having designed saloon and cabriolet models offered through the Lancia factory catalog as well as several bespoke models before the war. For this car however he created an extraordinary cutting-edge design symbolic of the burgeoning optimism in post-war Italy. Chassis number 439-11844 was delivered to Pinin Farina in 1946 where it was clothed in this bold and modern two-plus-two cabriolet body. The incredible design features smooth sides without so much as a trace of traditional separate wings that were still in-vogue for the era. The grilles and headlamps are beautifully integrated and the body is noticeably unadorned with just a simple chrome rocker molding used to punctuate the clean slab-sided bodywork. This is a remarkable display of restrained elegance and a tremendously important piece of industrial design from the immediate post-war era.Alongside this Lancia Pinin Farina built a similarly styled slightly more ornate Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 for a wealthy Milanese client Giuliana Tortolle-Cuccioli. She lent the Alfa back to the Carrozzeria for display at a series of motor shows for the 1946 season. First up was Geneva followed by the Paris Salon in October where he planned to feature both the Alfa and this exceptional Lancia. However for this first post-war Salon the French had barred any former axis countries from displaying their cars. Italy having been on the wrong side of the conflict was summarily excluded. Although he and his creations were not welcome Pinin Farina decided to show up regardless and preceded to drive the Lancia from Turin to Paris with his 20-year-old son Sergio following in the Alfa Romeo. They arrived in Paris the night before the Salon was set to open cleaned the cars and parked them strategically at the entrance of the Grand Palais. The cars caused a sensation with visitors and the press alike that Pinin Farina had essentially achieved a publicity coup. In the post-war reconstruction era the Paris show was comprised mainly of austere passenger cars and commercial vehicles making these fresh and exciting designs even more enthralling. The Lancia with the Alfa in the background is said to have featured on the cover of the prominent magazine lIllustration. Pinin Farina later proudly recalled the act as his own anti-salon in retrospect it was a most fitting way to display these groundbreaking revolutionary designs.This Lancia remained in France where it was registered from 1949-1965 in the name of Roblou a French Lancia importer in Neuilly Sur Seine. Its whereabouts became unknown for several decades until 2010 when it was discovered in Northern France by respected Belgian dealer Bernard Marreyt. It was subsequently returned to Italy where it was treated to an exhaustive 3-year restoration. Now presented in what is believed to be the original livery of blue over a deep burgundy interior it remains every bit as striking as the day it was presented in Paris. Paint quality is excellent with the clean unadorned coachwork appearing straight and properly fitted doing justice to Pinin Farinas restrained elegance. Exterior brightwork is limited all of which present fine condition. We are particularly fond of the subtle Pinin Farina Speciale badges that adorn the flanks and the unique chrome turbine-style wheel covers.The interior is equally beautiful and finely crafted featuring deep burgundy leather seats in front with a pair of folding jump seats in the rear. The door panels and top boot are finished in the same supple leather and the carpets are in an attractive blue-gray to complement the paintwork. A highlight of the cockpit is the stunning dash a finely composed design executed in burgundy amber Bakelite and chrome. Beautifully designed instruments with cream faces and a magnificent radio adorn the dash. The roof is upholstered in black canvas and looks equally as elegant in place or folded a testament to Pinin Farinas attention to detail.Mechanically the Lancia is in fine order. The 1485 c.c. Tipo 99 V4 starts readily and emits a pleasant burble from the exhaust. Power is sent through a four-speed gearbox with surprisingly close gates and a positive mechanical feel through the shift lever. The underhood presentation is tidy and highly correct without appearing over-restored. Pleasing details include the original lubrication labels on the bulkhead and original Lancia ID tag. Standard Aprilias came equipped with a Zenith 32 VIML carburetor while this car wears an era-appropriate brass-body Weber 30DR3 perhaps replaced in period for improved performance.Since its restoration it has been shown on limited occasions including one special tribute to Pininfarina held in London in 2013 where Sergios son Paolo got behind the wheel in an emotional tribute to his father and grandfather. This Aprilia represents a truly unique opportunity to acquire a ground-breaking creation from two of automotive historys most brilliant forward-thinking designers Battista Pinin Farina and Vincenzo Lancia.
This 1946 Lancia Aprilia was listed for sale on 6-24-18 11:34:14. The vehicle color is grey and VIN is
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