One of the most desirable road cars is the Lancia Aurelia. Lancia built the Lancia Aurelia from 1950 to 1958. These are lovely cars that have become very desirable in the collector car world. The Lancia B24 Spider America shown in this post is one of a special sub-set of the Lancia Aurelia model line-up over those years. This is an example of the model that were made especially for the American market during 1954 and 1955.
1955 Lancia B24 Spider America
During 1954 and 1955 Lancia built just 240 of the technologically advanced B24 Spider Americas in the mid-1950s, only 181 of which were left-hand drive. It is not clear why almost 25% of the total production would have right-hand drive in a car designed for the American market.
Note The Split Front Bumper Design
The Lancia B24 Spider America was designed by Pinin Farina and assembled in their factory on a chassis provided by Lancia. The chassis was a modified chassis that was originally used on the Lancia B20 Aurelia Coupe which was one of the best European road cars of the 1950s. The Lancia B20 Aurelia coupe was a class winner Le Mans. The design was quite influential as many of the Alfa Romeo coupes have design lines similar to the Lancia Aurelia coupe.
Lancia B20 Aurelia Coupe
The Lancia B24 Spider America has a wrap-around windshield, split bumpers, and side curtains instead of wind-up windows. I have read that the top is difficult to use.
The Lancia B24 Aurelia Spider Americas Has No External Door Handles Which Helps To Unclutter The Car’s Design Lines
The Lancia B24 Aurelia was built on a wheelbase that was about 8-inches shorter than the B20 Aurelia Coupe, but the overall weight was about the same at around 2,450 pounds.
The Car Has Very Few Chrome Decorative Nameplates or Unnecessary Design Features
The engine in the Lancia B24 Aurelia Spider America is a 110 bhp, 2,451 cc V-6 engine with dual Weber carburetors. The engine had an aluminum block and heads with hemispherical combustion chambers. The car has a four-speed manual transmission, independent sliding pillar front, semi-trailing arm and coil spring rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes.
The Lancia B24 Spider America was not a particularly fast car. It would accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 14.3 seconds and had a top speed of 108 to 115 miles per hour. The car was not slow, but certainly it was not a high performance car.
The Lancia B24 Aurelia Spider America Has A Stylish Wrap-Around Windshield
The rear of this car is a complex combination of a transaxle with the gearbox, clutch, differential, and inboard-mounted drum brakes.
Lancia Aurelia Rear Axle Was Rather Complicated
Because the transmission was co-located with the rear axle the transmission linkage would have to be offset from the driveshaft. The result is a rather unusual position of the shifter. In most floor shifts, the shifter is located in line with the driveshaft.
Note The Offset Floor Location Of The Shifter
The Lancia B24 Spider America was not an inexpensive car. It had a selling price of about $5,500. For comparison, a Jaguar XK140 could be bought at the same time for about $4,000. Not only was the Jaguar XK140 significantly less expensive, it had better performance than the Lancia.
These days, buyers can expect to pay very well into the six figures for the Lancia B24 Spider America. However when you want to buy a nice, rather rare car, that is the price you pay.
Note that the images of the Aurelia B20 coupe and the rear transaxle came from Michael Sedgwick’s book “Cars of the 50s and 60s”.