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1955 Lancia Aurelia Nardi Blue Ray 1 news, pictures, specifications, and information

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Blue Ray 1, completed in September 1955, is perhaps the most fantastic creation of Enrico Nardi. It was first shown at the Turin Auto Show and subsequently shown at the Paris and New York Auto Shows. Power is provided by a Lancia Aurelia B20 V6 engine with Nardi tuning updates. The coachwork was designed by Michelotti and constructed by Vignale. All of the coachwork, with the exception of the roof frame but including the floors and inner fenders, is alloy. The roof is made of blue Perspex and is equipped with a grilled air scoop and internal directional vents. Blue Ray 1 was restored in 1989 and first appeared at Pebble Beach that year.
The Blue Ray (translates to Raggio Azzura) shows cars built by Lancia were given their designation after their two-tone paint scheme. The Lancia Aurelia Blue Ray 1 was completed in September of 1955 with the second, Blue Ray 2, finished in 1958.

Both Blue Ray cars were the creation of Turin-based Enrico Nardi. They were built atop a Lancia Aurelia chassis and given upgrades by Nardi. The designs were penned by Giovanni Michelotti. Under the bonnet is a Lancia Aurelia B20 engine that displaces 2.5-ltiers and produces 190 horsepower. Top speed is in the neighborhood of 140 mph. Upgrades to the engine include a cast alloy Nardi air scoop, intake manifold with double throat Weber 40DCZs carburetors, alloy radiator header, and modified camshaft, pistons, and exhaust manifolds. There is a Nardi floor-mounted gear change and a Aurelia B20 transaxle.

The design was by Michelotti with Vignale performing the construction. The roof is of blue Perspex™ and features an air-scoop with internal directional vents. The side and rear windows are also formed from blue Perspex.

The Second Blue Ray car made its debut at the Turin Motor Show in 1958. It was later shown in the US at the New York Motor Show and at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Blue Ray 2 was built on a Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider platform with coachwork designed by Michelotti and constructed by Vignale. It has a 2.5-liter V6 engine that produces 140 horsepower. The wheels are unique, as are many other details of the car. Borrani was commissioned to create the special 68-spoke wheels with knock-off hubs. These special wheels were later offered on the Aurelia Spiders as optional equipment.

Blue Ray 2 has a blue Perspex roof which slides on tracks. When opened, it offers extra ventilation to the passengers.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008
In 1950 the Lancia Aurelia was introduced to the public at the Turin Motorshow and had been created as a replacement for the Lancia Aprilia. Under the hood was a new six-cylinder engine in 'Vee' configuration. To reduce weight various body panels had been constructed of aluminum including the hood and doors. The clutch and four-speed gearbox was mounted in the rear using a single unit with the differential. The suspension in the rear was independent while the front was a sliding pillar type.

The first in the series was the B10 berlina. Power came from a 1574 cc engine producing nearly 60 horsepower. The four-door pillarless saloon was criticized for its performance issues so Lancia answered the complaints with the introduction of the B21 produced a year later. There was little to distinguish the B10 from the B21, the only difference lying under the hood. The 1574 cc engine had been replaced with a 1991 cc engine producing 70 horsepower. To add sporty-appeal, a B20 GT Coupe was introduced in the same year. The two-door coupe was designed by Boano from Ghia. Gianpaolo Boano was the son of Ghia owner Mario Felice Boano. Production was handled by Pininfarina. It sat atop a shortened wheelbase and used a tuned-version of the 1991 cc engine now producing 75 horsepower. Production was low with only 500 examples produced. A second coupe series was created using a tuned-version of the 1991 cc engine now producing 80 horsepower. Mechanical improvements included better brakes and a lowered suspension, both resulting in better performance. Styling changes were mostly confined to the interior, the most noticeable being done to the instrument panel.

In 1950 an extended wheelbase version of the B10 was introduced featuring different tires and gear ratios. These were dubbed the B50 and the B51. When the 2-liter engine was introduced, the name was changed to B52 and B53. Production was low with the B50 having the most examples created, 583. There were 184 B52 models, 6 B55 and only 5 B56 models. A single B60 was created. The B55 and B56 were examples with the 2-liter engine and a de Dion rear suspension. The purpose of these specialty models was to allow custom coachbuilders such as PininFarina, Bertone, Viotti, Vignale, Ghia, among others to design and build unique creations. One of the more famous designs was created by PininFarina. It was a concept car dubbed the PF2000. A few examples were created for display at motor shows, such as the Lancia Aurelia B52 B JR built by Ghia for the 1953 Turin Motor Show.

Lancia lengthened the B21 and dubbed it the B15. It received a de-tuned engine, now producing 65 horsepower. Bodied by Bertone, the B15 was produced in low quantities; just over 80 examples were created.

In 1953 Lancia introduced the B20 Coupe, the third in the series, powered by a 2451 cc engine producing nearly 120 horsepower. This marked the first time a left-hand-drive version of the Aurelia could be purchased. The independent rear suspension could not handle the extra power from the new engine so it was changed in favor of a de Dion system. 720 examples were created.

By 1952 Lancia had created a replacement for the B21 berlina, the B22. It was basically the same as its replacement except for improvements under the hood. The engine had been given double-barrel Weber carburetors among other improvements which resulted in the production of 90 horsepower. There were styling changes included, most done to the interior such as the instruments and the indicators. In 1954 Lancia ceased production of the B22 and introduced the B12. During its production lifespan, nearly 1100 examples were produced.

The B12 was one of the first drastic changes to the Aurelia, both mechanically and aesthetically, since its inception. The engine was a 2266 cc powerplant producing 87 horsepower. The rear suspension was changed in favor of a de Dion system. Wind deflectors were placed on the windows and the headlights were changed. During its production lifespan, around 2400 examples were produced.

In 1955 the audience at the Brussels Motor Show was introduced to the B24 Spider. Lancia had tasked Pininfarina to design and produce a limited number of vehicles using a shortened wheelbase from the B12. Power was supplied from a 2451 cc engine. A convertible was later introduced and quickly became the favorite, with 521 Convertibles and 240 Spiders produced.

The production of the berlina ceased in 1955. The Coupe and Convertible series continued until 1958. There were a total of six series for the coupe. The fifth series began to shy away from performance gains and focused more on luxury.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2007
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