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Lancia Astura

Total Production: 423

Total Production: 1,243
The Lancia Astura was introduced in November of 1931 and produced through 1939 with 2,484 examples built. Lancia's traditional naming scheme for their cars used the letters of the Greek alphabet, but the Astura broke from that path and displayed a new Italian nationalism, named after an ancient island castle south of Rome. Introduced at the 1931 Paris Motor Show alongside the four-cylinder Artena, it served as a replacement for the company's flagship Dilambda. Compared to its predecessor, the Astura was lighter and even with a smaller displacement engine, was more efficient in regards to power-to-weight. Lancia had pioneered monocoque construction in their 1922 Lambda, but since the Astura was destined for carrozzeria, it was given a cross-braced, box-section platform. Although it used a more conventional construction technique, it had excellent torsional stiffness, which added to the refinement and the feeling of solidity. The rear suspension was a live axle that was controlled by friction dampers that could be adjusted to suit via dashboard-mounted controls. In front used Lancia's sliding-pillar independent setup, and a Bijur central lubrication system was standard. It retained the same length as the Dilambda but was lighter and more efficient, and its overhead camshaft V8 engine, installed in the chassis on four rubber isolators, displaced 2604cc (later increasing to 2972cc and 82 horsepower) delivered just over 70 horsepower. It used a narrow-angle V8 configuration, initially at 19-degree but grew to 17 degrees 30-minutes for the larger displacement size. The narrow-angle allowed for a compact unit and was narrower than a conventional V-8e engine and shorter than an inline unit, along with a single cylinder head. The cylinder head had an aluminum upper section and a cast-iron lower section, with a triplex chain with tensioner located in between. A unique Autokleen oil filter was used and it rotated a cleaning cylinder every time the engine was started.

Factory and custom coachwork was available, and among the coachbuilders was Pinin Farina, who built one of their earliest coachwork for the Astura. As the performance was among the paramount priorities, Lancia recommended that coachbuilders limit bodywork weight to no more than 460 kilograms.

The Fist Series was produced between 1931 and 1932 with a total of 496 examples built during that time. The Second Series was built in 1932 and 1933 with 750 examples made. By the introduction of the 3rd Series in 1933, engine displacement had grown to 2,972cc and horsepower had risen from 73 brake horsepower at 4,000 RPM to 82 bhp at 4,000 RPM. The 3rd Series also received a Dewandre brake servo and a 78-liter fuel tank. The Fourth Series was from 1937 through 1939 with 423 units built. The Fourth Series was only offered on a long wheelbase. A hydraulic braking system was optional for late cars, built by Marelli under license from Lockheed.

Series One and Two rested on a 125.2-inch wheelbase and the Series Three was available on either a 122 or 131.1-inch wheelbase. The Series was the largest, with a wheelbase size of 137-inches.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008
Model Production *
* Please note, dates are approximate

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