1953 Lancia Aurelia B52 PF200

Coachwork: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: B52-1052
Engine Num: B21-4843
Sold for $1,100,000 at 2014 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $1,248,500 at 2017 RM Sothebys.
Lancia was founded in 1906 by Fiat race drivers Vincenzo Lancia and pal Claudio Fogolin. Known for innovation, Lancia pioneered independent suspension at a time when live axles were typically used, and offered the first production V-6 in 1950. The Lancia Aurelia design introduced a front engine/rear transmission layout later used successfully by the likes of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Maserati. it also had inboard rear brakes which reduced un-sprung weight. In the early 1950s the jet age was dawning and America was captivated. Italy's leading designers took notice. Pininfarina's founded Battista Pinin Farina created one of this era's more outlandish designs. Named the PF200, it featured a pronounced oval grille-surround that could have come straight off a fighter jet. Underneath was a Lancia Aurelia chassis powered by a 2.0L V-6 sporting hemispherical heads and a single Solex carburetor. It produced between 75 and 90 horsepower depending on tuning level.

In 1952, the Lancia Aurelia B52 PF200 debuted at the Turin Motor Show. Pinin Farina created a total of six PF200 Aurelias show cars, four of which are believed to still exist today. And, no two were exactly the same. This car was the only true roadster designated the PF 200-C and was the show car in the 1953 motor shows of Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt, Torino and still bears the dash plaque from its award-winning display at Stresa, Italy.

The current owner has owned this car since 1968. When it was restored, it underwent a complete nut-and-bolt overhaul, including the necessity to make from scratch several body and floorboard panels as well as the offset air cleaner needed for hood clearance. Interestingly, the transaxle rebuild was done by a mechanic who once worked for the factory back in Turin.
Coachwork: Pininfarina
Chassis Num: B52-1052
Engine Num: B21-4843
Sold for $1,100,000 at 2014 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $1,248,500 at 2017 RM Sothebys.
Pinin Farina, like many other carrozziere's at the time, indulged in styling exercises that were used for promotional purposes at auto shows and European concours d'Elegance. In the spring of 1952, at the Turin Auto Motor Show, Pinin Farina introduced a new concept car built on a Lancia B52 Aurelia chassis alongside their freshly re-designed Nash-Healey. Just 98 examples of the B52 chassis were created, and all were given one-off or limited-run production coachwork bodies. The design chosen for Pinin Farina's new Aurelia featured a host of styling cues from the Jet Age. It had a protruding circular nose with a large chromed bezel (in similar fashion to an F-86 Sabre fighter plane), a raked windshield, pontoon-style fenders, and uninterrupted beltlines. In the back was a finned tail that had six individual exhaust tips emerging just above the rear bumper.

The concept created by Pinin Farina was called the PF200, and it signaled a styling direction that Pinin Farina would follow over the next four years. This short run of cars all featured the signature gaping nose and general proportions of the first Turin car. In all, Pinin Farina created two more open-top cars and three to four coupes.

Each PF200 was slightly different than the next, with only the prototype featuring the circular nose. Future versions had more elliptic noses, while some had standard tailpipes, and others featured the bumper-through exhausts of the original Turin car. One of the three open cars had a removable top and side curtains while the others had wind-up windows and a more permanent soft-top.

The PF200's styling prompted at least two more similarly styled cars built on American chassis. Norman Granz was inspired by the prototype PF200 Roadster at Turin and ordered similar bodywork on a Cadillac 62 chassis. In 1956, Pinin Farina took the design a step further with the Palm Beach Special, which was built on a Nash Rambler chassis.

It is believed that no more than a total of eight cars were produced, with perhaps just over half of those surviving today. It is unclear the exact number due to a fire at the Pininfarina factory reportedly destroying a fair amount of documentation.

Of the three open-top examples produced of the PF200, B52-1052 is the second example built. It made its debut at the Geneva Salon in March of 1953, nearly a year after the prototype's introduction at Turin. The PF200 C had chrome hashes behind the doors and an oval nose that was not yet chromed. In the front were bumperettes, there were directly underneath the headlamps, rather than in the inboard bumper arrangement of the prototype. It was the only car of the entire run that had a nose badge that read 'pf200 C'. Giving it a more sporting appeal, the car was equipped with a two-position windscreen and wind-up windows.

The PF200 Concept was put on display at the 1953 Turin Motor Show. The car was constantly being updated by Pinin Farina, with minor changes appearing from appearance to appearance, including sometimes being finished in different colors.

After the Turin Show, B52-1052 was next photographed at the Stresa International Concours d'Elegance in September 1953, where the car won a Grand Prize Honor. The photos at Stresa show that the Lancia had been equipped with a full windshield frame, complete with a top edge, as well as wind-wings and a hood deflector. The car had a license plate reading MI 215522 which suggests that the Spider had been purchased and registered by a private owner at this point.

By the 1960s, the car was imported to the United States. It was later in the care of a California-based enthusiast before coming into the care of the current Michigan-based caretaker, who purchased the car in 1968. When the owner moved to Florida in 1996, the car was taken with him.

In the early 2000s, the car was given a complete, exacting, and comprehensive restoration which took roughly 10 years to complete. The work was finished in 2013 and no expense was spared. The car was shown at the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. Johns in June of 2013, where it won First in Class and The Art that Moves Us Award. In March of 2014, it earned another class award at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

This car has been in single ownership for the past 46 years.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
Following the American infatuation with the jet plane during the early 1950s, Italy's leading automotive designers and coachbuilders wasted no time to unveil beautiful bodies that would appeal to the lucrative American market. Inspired by American automotive influence at the time, renowned designer Battista 'Pinin' Farina created the eye-catching Lancia Aurelia PF200 Coupe that debuted at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. The open sportscar PF200 was targeted at the U.S. market and featured American design cues like curvy jet fighter features, a long hood with separate large circular mask and nickel element rear wings. Anything but understated, the PF200's circular grille-surround appeared to have come right from a contemporary fighter jet. Finished in chrome and sporting a large rear bumper, the rear wings featured long fins that extended past the tail of the car.

The PF200 was considered the most creative series of special Aurelia designs by Pininfarina. Following the sportscar was a coupe version with a cockpit-like cabin. Customers craved more practical versions of this design so Pininfarina introduced a small series that included a 2-door coupe, a 2-door convertible and a 4-door sedan. With a more traditional front-end treatment, these PF200 models were a much more humble version.

Lancia's Aurelia B52 chassis was used and became part of the select few bodies that were available to customer coachbuilders without a body. The PF200 was based on the production Aurelia B20 but was giving a bit of a longer wheelbase so designers had more creative leeway. Power came from the same 2-liter V6 engine that was developed under supervision of Vittorio Jano. Producing between 75 and 90 bhp the engine was fitted with hemispherical heads and a single Solex carburetor.

After debuting in the fall of 1952, Pininfarina went ahead with plans to create several more PH200 show cars in a limited production run. The Aurelia platform was used to create another two Cabriolets, and three Coupes, all with their own distinct features. A client in the U.S. requested one PF200 design fitted to a Cadillac chassis.

As the jet craze slowly faded, the final PF200 was produced in 1955 and Pininfarina moved on with the Aurelia B24 Spyder, which became an instant hit. An estimated six PF200 Aurelia's have thought to have been produced, with at least four existing today. Changes in the second model from the first included very subtle design tweaks that included the prominent grille becoming more oval shaped rather than a perfect circle.


By Jessica Donaldson
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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