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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Sotheby's in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Histo... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

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

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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California, United States

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... 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. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... 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 joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... 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 ho... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... 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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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more