01/06/2020

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The car that cares

Experimental 1951 Lancia Aurelia restoration took 4,000 hours

Released in 1950, the impressive Aurelia is one particular of the most sought-after Lancia styles...

Released in 1950, the impressive Aurelia is one particular of the most sought-after Lancia styles made after Globe War II. Collectors fork out a high quality for cars and trucks with a documented racing heritage, and one particular-offs designed as in-dwelling experiments are intriguing, so it is really no ponder a 1951 coupe that ticked each packing containers deserved a four,000-hour restoration.

United Kingdom-primarily based store Thornley Kelham described a wealthy privateer racer named Giovanni Bracco acquired this 1951 Aurelia new in Italy and took it racing pretty much promptly. It finished 2nd all round in that year’s Mille Miglia, initially at the Caracalla Night Race, and it attained initially in its class (and 12th all round) in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. These ended up remarkable benefits for the Aurelia, whose main declare to fame was being the initially typical-output auto equipped with a V6 engine, but Lancia was no stranger to podium finishes.

Its story took an intriguing turn when it confirmed up at the 1951 version of the Carrera Panamericana with a markedly decreased roof line. Bracco understood the Lancia loved ones well, and he organized to have its major chopped at the manufacturing unit to make it a lot more aerodynamic. He crashed on the fourth working day of racing, offered it to a Mexican architect, and returned property. It re-appeared at the pursuing year’s Carrera Panamericana and finished ninth right before disappearing. Some speculated it was concealed in The usa other folks assumed it had been crushed and recycled.

The initially hypothesis was correct, but proving it was less complicated stated than done. The auto had gained a redesigned rear close Thornley Kelham explained as hump-backed and Volkswagen Beetle-like. Some of the unique sections had been reduce out and discarded, which made the restoration method exponentially a lot more demanding.

The store fabricated a new, interval-correct rear close utilizing 3D scans and fiberglass molds. It then painted it black, its unique shade, right before offering it a coat of pink, the shade it wore when it was entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and last but not least spraying a 2nd coat of black, the shade it was painted in when it raced in the Carrera Panamericana. It was fitted with seats from an Ardea — Lancia’s V4-run entry-stage design — when it raced, so Thornley Kelham sourced a pair and re-trimmed it. Period-correct lettering added a finishing contact to the restoration.

The V6 engine and the four-speed manual transmission ended up fully rebuilt. All informed, resurrecting this one particular-of-a-type Aurelia required four,000 several hours of operate distribute out around a 3-calendar year interval.

“Many years of modifications and misuse made this probably one particular of the most hard restorations we’ve ever done,” described Simon Thornley, co-founder of Thornley Kelham, in a assertion. The store is currently functioning on a task that looks even a lot more ambitions than reviving the Lancia. It can be in the method of bringing a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 acquired new and raced by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini back again to existence after decades of neglect.