Lancia Aurelia

Lancia AureliaLaunched in 1950 at the Turin Motorshow, the all-new Aurelia was designed to replace the ageing Aprilia. It used an all new 60º V6 engine, actually the world's first production V6 engine in a car. Front suspension was the traditional sliding pillar type whilst the rear was independent. Also at the rear were the clutch and the four-speed gearbox mounted in a single unit with the differential. The rear brake drums were mounted inboard on the sides of the latter. To aid weight reduction extensive use of aluminium had been made (doors, bonnet, bootlid and various other panels).

Production started that year of the Aurelia B10 berlina, a four-door pillarless saloon with a 1754cc engine producing 56bhp. Following some criticism of the cars performance the following year saw the introduction of the B21 which was a B10 with a 1991cc engine producing 70bhp. In the same year the B20 GT Coupé was introduced. This was a two door coupe, designed by Boano at Ghia but after the first few produced by Pininfarina, with a shortened wheelbase and the same 1991cc engine as the berlina, tuned slightly to produce 75bhp. Soon afterwards, after 500 cars had been produced, production began of the second series coupé which used an 80bhp version of the same engine thanks to repositioned valves and a higher compression ratio. The brakes were improved, the ride height reduced and a few detail styling changes made such as instrumentation and chrome trim.

Lancia AureliaThe berlina received another boost in 1952 when the B22 was released. This was basically a B21 with a modified camshaft and a double-barrel Weber carburettor and produced 90bhp. Other details were changed such as the instruments and the indicators. A stretched B21, the B15, was also produced in small numbers. This had the wheelbase extended by nearly 200mm and the engine de-tuned to 65bhp. The body was built by Bertone. The B22 continued until 1954 when the B12 was introduced.

The introduction of the B12 saw many significant changes to the Aurelia. Perhaps the most significant was the adoption of a De Dion suspension layout at the rear, but other modifications included the replacement of the white-metal bearings with Vandervell items, a new cartridge oil filter and a new block casting. With a 2266cc engine and 87bhp, the B12 also incorporated numerous other small detail changes to the design such as the headlights, spotlights, wind deflectors on the windows etc.

The Brussels Show of 1955 saw the official introduction of the B24 Spider (a prototype had been seen during 1954), designed and produced by Pininfarina, on a shorter wheelbase and fitted with the 2451cc engine. This gave way to the Convertibile, which featured a completely redesigned body (with no panels common to the Spider, easily recogniseable by the deeper doors with handles, one piece straight bumpers and flatter windscreen with small quaterlight panels), in 1956. Total 'open-top' production was 240 Spiders and 521 Convertibiles.

Lancia AureliaReturning to the B20 coupe, a third series entered production in 1953 using a 2451cc engine with 118bhp and accompanied by some styling changes. The increase in power began to show some weaknesses in the suspension design and the fourth series introduced the de Dion system at the rear to replace the previously independent system. In this series it also became possible for the first time to buy a left-hand-drive version. After this the B20's became more biased towards luxury, the following fifth series in 1956 had only 110bhp and was heavier and the final sixth series gained yet more weight with only 112bhp.

In 1950, at the same time as the launch of the new car, Lancia released a chassis with an extended wheelbase, specifically for the various carrozzerie to use. This was the B50, or B51 with different gear ratios and tyres. Later these became the B52 and B53 with the adoption of the 2-litre engine. A small number of chassis' with De Dion rear suspension were also produced, the B55 and B56. A single B60 was also built.

Various carrozzerie, including Pinin Farina, Bertone, Viotti, Boneschi, Vignale, Allemano, Stabilimenti Farina and  Ghia used these chassis' as a basis for their work. Among the more memorable cars based on the Aurelia was a futuristic concept car by Pininfarina, the PF2000.

Production of the berlina stopped in 1955, whilst the coupé and convertibile continued until 1958.

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Technical Details
Driveline longitudinal engine at front with transmission mounted at rear and rear wheel drive
Engines 1754cc (70x76mm) 60° V6 with 56bhp @ 4,000rpm (B10 & B50)
1991cc (72x81,5mm) 60° V6 with 70bhp @ 4,800rpm (B21 & B52)
1991cc (72x81,5mm) 60° V6 with 64bhp @ 4,000rpm (B15)
1991cc (72x81,5mm) 60° V6 with 90bhp @ 5,000rpm (B22)
2266cc (75x85,5mm) 60° V6 with 87bhp @ 4,800rpm (B12, B55 & B56)
1991cc (72x81,5mm) 60° V6 with 75bhp @ 4,500rpm (B20 GT) 
  later with 80bhp @ 5,000rpm
2451cc (78x85,5mm) 60° V6 with 118bhp @ 5,300rpm (B20 GT & B24) 
  later 110bhp @ 5,300rpm then 112bhp @ 5,000rpm
Suspension  front : Sliding pillar
rear : independent with semi-trailing links, coil springs and telescopic dampers (early cars)
rear : de Dion with leaf springs and telescopic dampers (later cars)
wheelbase : 2860mm (B10, B21, B22); 3250mm (B15); 2850mm (B12); 2660mm (B20)
wheelbase : 2450mm (Spider)
front track : 1280mm (all except following); 1297mm (B15); 1288mm (Spider)
rear track : 1300mm (all except B15); 1326mm (B15)
Brakes drums on all four wheels
handbrake operating on the rear
Gearbox 4 speed manual
Steering Worm and sector
Kerb weight 1080kg (B10); 1160kg (B15); 1150kg (B22); 1250kg (B12)
1000kg (B20 srs I); 1050kg (B20 srs II); 1100kg (B20 srs III); up to 1250kg (B20 srs VI)
1050kg (Spider); 1150kg (Convertible)

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Production volumes

Berlinas :

B10 : 5451
B21 : 3780
B15 : 81
B22 : 1074
B12 : 2400

The chassis as produced by Lancia for the carrozzerieChassis' :

B50 : 583
B52 : 184
B55 : 6
B56 : 5

B20 GT Coupé :

series I, II, III, IV, V and VI : 500, 231, 720, 845, 120, 195

Open cars :

B24 Spider : 240
B24 Convertibile : 521

Lancia Aurelia Books : buy them online here (in association with Amazon)
Buy this book here.Lancia Road Test Book : Lancia Aurelia & Flaminia Gold Portfolio 1950-70

55 articles (road tests, comparisons, history, specifications, used car report, performance data) on most variants of both these models including over 300 illustrations.

Edited by R.M.Clarke, 1996

For more books about Lancia's, see our Online Bookstore

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I hope I am not the only fan of the Aurelia. It's pinnacle is the B24 Spider, without doubt one of the most handsome and distinctive Italian sports cars of the decade,and one of Pininfarina's most masterful designs.Perhaps it is underappreciated because of the fact that to many, the Aurelia resembles more a British or German car rather than an Italian one. Still, one of the greats. (Spike,USA)

In a world with the GTO and Bentley Continental and myriad automotive beauties, why is it I find the B20 Aurelia so perfect? Not an ounce wasted, not a penstroke off. So subtle, so elegant. It requires a long look to see what is there. It asks something of the looker, it asks you to see. Thanks. (Vincent K.)

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Aurelia B24 Convertible

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