11-12 May 2012

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Lot 305

1949 Lancia Aprilia

  • Chassis no. 438/27130
  • Engine no. 28873

Sold for €31.360

48 bhp, 1,486 cc V-4 single overhead cam engine with four-speed manual transmission, sliding pillar independent front suspension and swing arm, torsion bar, transverse leaf spring independent rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,750 mm (108.3")

• Matching numbers; original engine, gearbox and body

• Only two owners from new

• The last vehicle conceived by Vincenzo Lancia

As automakers, airplane designers and engineers alike began to realise not only the physical appeal of streamlined designs but also their dramatic effect on performance, wind tunnel engineering became increasingly commonplace. In 1936, Vincenzo Lancia’s marque, now 30 years old, premiered one of the very first results of development using the revolutionary wind tunnel at the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Lancia Aprilia.

The last vehicle conceived by Vincenzo Lancia himself before his passing in February 1937, the Aprilia, like every Lancia before it, possessed a tremendous level of technology in an attractive, sporty package. With a remarkably low drag coefficient of 0.47, the monocoque Aprilia was an immediate success. Adding to its appeal was a unique, fully independent suspension. Its fastback shape and pillarless coachwork ensured that it was a remarkable sight on the roads. The Aprilia featured Lancia’s compact and capable V-4, initially in 47 horsepower, 1,352 cc tune, and later, as a 48 horsepower, 1,486 cc displacement engine.

The right-hand drive 1949 Aprilia offered here is from the last year of production of the second series, which was introduced in 1939. It sold new to the first owner on 19th January 1949 in Turin and has remained in the area ever since. This Lancia Aprilia has only had two owners from new, each maintaining the vehicle for decades. A restoration was carried out 20 years ago and a photo documented engine rebuild was executed earlier this year. The owner asserts that the car is all matching numbers and still retains its original engine, gearbox and body.

With its innovative and aerodynamic body and sophisticated suspension, the Aprilia’s importance in Italian automotive engineering is unquestioned. This example, with continuous ownership history from new and Mille Miglia eligibility, is certainly one of the more desirable examples.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

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Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more