Lancia, a revolutionary Italian brand
‘La Lancia', as it is commonly known by fans in Italy, has a relatively ancient history compared to many other car manufacturers. It's a fascinating story of the technical innovations of a great visionary that stands out in automotive history.
Founding the Lancia brand
The story of the Lancia brand starts with Vincenzo Lancia and Claudio Fogolin. Both started working at Fiat in the early 1900s. Thanks to his innate talents as a mechanic and driver, Vincenzo Lancia quickly became the first test driver and then an official driver for Fiat. Lancia was recognised internationally for his skilled driving on the racetrack. Soon, Lancia’s passion for cars led him to start manufacturing cars under his own name in Turin, Italy. The very first Lancia model was produced in 1907, using impressively innovative technology for the time.
After a series of Lancia models gained popularity, particularly with British motorists, Lancia and Fogolin moved to larger premises to cope with increased demand. In this new factory, Lancia created increasingly innovative models with patented technologies. One such innovative model was the Trikappa of 1922. Equipped with a load-bearing, streamlined metal body, independent front wheel suspension, and a 4-cylinder engine arranged in a narrow V-shape, this is a perfect example of Lancia innovation. Many of these features were subsequently adopted by other car manufacturers.
The untimely death of Vincenzo Lancia
Moving into the 30s, Lancia continued to innovate, launching ground-breaking models like the Augusta and Aprilia. In 1937, Vincenzo Lancia died, leaving a legacy of automotive technology. At the end of WW2, the brand continued releasing exciting models like the Aurelia, the compact Appia, and the luxurious Flaminia, never losing sight of the founder’s vision. These models included designs by Pininfarina and Touring, and came in various road and sports versions.
Lancia models on the race track
With their sporty designs and impressive engines, Lancia cars were fierce contenders on the race track. This was exemplified by models like the Aurelia B20-GT winning the Mille Miglia. Other models, like the D23, D24, and D25, competed in the Targa Florio, Giro di Sicilia, Mille Miglia, and Carrera Panamericana.
In 1951, Lancia broke into the Formula 1 scene with the D50 model. Drivers Alberto Ascari and Gigi Villoresi were entrusted with steering the Lancia team to victory on Formula 1 race tracks. However, the unexpected death of Ascari brought Lancia’s brief Formula 1 career to an end. The classic cars were sold to the Ferrari factory, serving as inspiration for some of the winning Ferrari models to follow.
Lancia even established itself as a formidable force in rally racing, competing with the Lancia Fulvia HF, Stratos, Rally 037, Delta S4, Delta HF 4WD, and Integrale. This led to Lancia winning 8 rally world championships.
Lancia synonymous with elegance
In Italian car production, Fiat is the all-rounder, Alfa Romeo is the quintessential sportscar, and Lancia is the epitome of elegance and class. Lancia even created the Lancia Club Hi-Fi (high fidelity) specifically for people who’ve bought 5 or more Lancia models. It’s all about emphasising how special and exclusive this brand is. On top of this, Lancia cars have always been produced to the highest standards, with high quality chrome finishes, glossy paint in now legendary colours, like Tor di Valle gray or Saratoga white, and seats made from the finest textiles.
In the post-war period, many of the models were named after the roads traced by Ancient Romans: Aurelia, Appia, Flavia, Flaminia, and Fulvia. Lancia models soon became the presidential car, and the personal cars of actor Marcello Mastroianni and actress Brigitte Bardot. The unique Lancia Aurelia B24 convertible even starred in the cult movie 'Il Sorpasso (The overtaking)'.
Lancia on Catawiki
Every week, Catawiki offers a range of vintage Lancia models in our Classic Car auctions. From the Lancia Delta 4WD to the rare Integrale Club Italia, our auctions have many different options for Lancia enthusiasts. Or if you have a unique Lancia in your garage looking for a new home, we make selling your classic cars exciting and hassle-free.