1938 Lancia Astura Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
Vincenzo Lancia (with friend Claudio Folgolin) founded the Lancia car company on the 29th of November 1906 in Turin, Italy. The company quickly became renowned for innovation and is noted for naming many of its cars using letters of the Greek alphabet. Lancia is a company with a rich motorsport history. From its early days, right through until the early 1990’s, it competed in and won a number of sports car races, but it is rallying that the Lancia name is synonymous, winning an incredible 16 World Rally Championship titles. The Fulvia, Stratos and 037 were all fabulous cars and very successful in their day, but perhaps Lancia’s great success story is the Delta which won six consecutive world titles from 1987 to 1992.
Lancia built its first car, the ‘Tipo 51’ or 12 HP (later called ‘Alfa’) in September 1907, which remained in production from 1907 to 1909. Subsequently, Lancia built a number of different early model cars including the Dialfa 18HP (1908), Beta 15/20HP (1909), Gamma 20HP (1910), Delta 20/30HP (1911), Epsilon 25/30HP (1911-1913), ETA 20/30HP (1911-1914), Zeta (1912-1916) and Theta 35HP (1913-1919). The cars were very well built and very well regarded, placing Lancia in the upper echelon of motor vehicle manufacturers.
The most successful of Lancia’s early cars was the Lambda, introduced in 1922. This was the first car built with a monocoque chassis and independent front suspension. The car was a huge success with just over 11,000 examples built in almost ten years of production. In 1931 the Lambda was replaced with two models, the four cylinder Artena and V8 Astura, which were first shown at the 1931 Paris Motor Show. The Astura was one of Lancia’s flagships, with all cars supplied as a rolling chassis bodied by various coachbuilders. Approximately 3,000 Asturas were built from 1931 to 1939.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a very rare 1938 Lancia Astura Cabriolet with coach work by Pinin Farina. This particular example is one of only 423 fourth series cars built.
This car is understood to have been delivered new to the Italian Ambassador in London in the UK. Its early history is not known, however, it was imported into Australia in the late 1960’s by its then owner Peter McAdam who retired and emigrated here. McAdam settled in Towoomba, two hours west of Brisbane, however, he passed away soon after arriving in Australia. The Lancia was kept in McAdam’s family until sold in 1972. The car then remained in continuous ownership for the next forty years! It was understood to have been ‘restored’ in the UK, however, under the shiny exterior the car was found to be in poor condition suffering from lack of maintenance, corrosion and some very shoddy repairs done previously. Whilst the car still presented and drove well, its new owner decided to restore the car properly embarking on what was to become an ‘incredible journey’! A journey it was, as the restoration took more than thirty years to complete! Once finished, the car was used and enjoyed by its owner travelling over 12,000 miles, attending various rallies and events all over Australia. The car then changed hands in 2016 (joining a significant collection), however, a change in circumstances has resulted in this stunning Lancia now being offered for sale. The car has been hardly used in the last three years and today the odometer reads 12,635 miles.
Whilst now an older restoration, this magnificent Lancia Astura remains in excellent condition. The car is finished in striking two tone green. The majority of the body is finished in mid green with a contrasting lighter shade used above the moulding line in the doors and the bonnet. The paint work is in very good condition all round with only the odd minor blemish and stone chip evident. Most noticeable is a scrape where the bonnet latch has caught the body on the left hand side of the car. All of the chrome and exterior trim is in excellent condition. Inside the cabin the Lancia just oozes thirties elegance and sophistication. From the steering wheel to the dash, which houses the most delicate Jaegar instruments, to the handle knobs, no detail has been left untouched inside this car. All of these instruments and controls are in excellent condition. Similarly, the timber work, leather seats, door cards and carpets are also in excellent condition.
The level of detail and workmanship on the restoration was outstanding which is reflected in the overall condition of the car today. As noted previously, post restoration, this car has not been a trailer queen, rather it has been driven and today it still drives very well. The engine starts easily and we had the car out for a ‘good run’ recently where it performed faultlessly. The Lancia was at ease cruising the highway and the back roads, however, it also coped surprisingly very well in traffic. The engine pulled strongly, the gearbox was smooth (though there was a whine noticeable from time to time), the car handled well and stopped as it should.
The Lancia Astura is one of the world’s finest cars and this model is now recognised as one of the most important pre war cars. This is evidenced by a 1936 Lancia Astura Cabriolet, with body by design house Pinin Farina, winning Best of Show at the 2016 Pebble Beach Consours d’Elegance and a 1933 Lancia Astura Berlinetta, with body by Castagna, winning the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este prize (people’s choice) at the 2016 Concours Villa D’Este.
This car is well known in the Lancia community in Australia where it has won many awards. Outside this, it is a relative secret. The car is stunning in the metal, the Pinin Farina pillarless four door cabriolet is a timeless art deco design and it would surely be welcome at just about any classic car event anywhere in the world.
- Lancia Astura Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
- 12635 miles