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1959 Lancia Flaminia Zagato

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Long renowned for advanced engineering far beyond its competitors and industry-leading styling prowess, Italy’s Lancia continues to captivate enthusiasts today, especially its excellent models of the 1950s and 1960s. Following the end of WWII, Lancia went from strength to strength with its first new postwar model, the Aurelia, a mechanical tour de force developed by engineering legend Vittorio Jano. Powered by the world’s first production V-6 engine, a paragon of power and refinement, the Aurelia featured sophisticated underpinnings, a rear transaxle, and inboard rear brakes for a truly sporting drive. The Aurelia created a sensation, and in B20GT form it propelled Lancia to class wins at the 1950 Mille Miglia, 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1952 Targa Florio, 1953 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally, 1953 La Carrera Panamericana (a commanding podium sweep), and victory in the 1954 Monte Carlo Rally.

By 1957, the Flaminia –in its formal Pininfarina-designed Berlina form – debuted as the Aurelia’s eventual and improved successor. Among its updates, the Flaminia was equipped with a true double-wishbone independent front suspension for even better handling than the revered Aurelia before it. Production continued to 1970, with the Flaminia line variously including berlina, coupe/GT, and convertible variations during its run. Of them, the Flaminia Sport, featuring impeccable Zagato coachwork, remains the most coveted today. Sharing the short wheelbase chassis of the GT, the Flaminia Sport was powered by Lancia’s renowned V-6 in 2.5-liter form and was celebrated as a revelation to drive,especially with Zagato’s aerodynamic and lightweight alloy bodywork and subtle yet racy double bubble roof design. A larger-displacement, 2.8-liter Super Sport version appeared in 1964 with revised styling including upright headlamps. Total Flaminia Sport production had reached 593 cars when production stopped in 1967. The 99 original Series I cars, however, are considered the best-looking of all, with their sleekly covered headlamps, sinewy bodylines, and wonderful fine details. They are also considered by the Lancia faithful as the purest and most enjoyable to drive.

Paul Tullias, a Lancia marque enthusiast and collector, acquired this extremely rare Series I Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato in the late 1970s. Mr. Tullias held the Lancia for 35 years, until it was acquired by the current owner in 2012. Two years later, Restauraciones Clasicas in Costa Rica began an exacting restoration that included more than 6,000 hours of work and painstaking attention to detail.

A multitude of photographic images document the restoration in detail, including the car prior to restoration, providing a fascinating and rare glimpse into the structure of Zagato’s coachbuilt Flaminia Sport bodywork and unitized chassis, as well as the vehicle’s renowned mechanical package. The Flaminia was completely disassembled and every single section of the car was inspected, addressed, repaired, prepared, and refinished and thanks to almost constant communication with Zagato in Milan, the restorers were even able to determine the vehicle’s distinctive original color combination of Bianco Letouquet over dark red interior upholstery. The restorers also emphasize that their working relationship with Zagato has been of great assistance in assuring that the finished car is correct throughout in presentation. All major mechanical components were repaired, and the jewel-like V-6 engine was completely overhauled and refinished, as were the brakes, gearbox, steering, and suspension, using correct spare parts that were sourced through different suppliers. Clearly restored with homage paid to its rarity and coachbuilt heritage, this visually striking Flaminia Sport Zagato has also recently taken to the track for some careful but brisk laps to ensure it is broken in prior to coming to auction.

Totally restored and handsomely presented, this outstanding and very rare early Series I Flaminia Sport will certainly be welcomed at numerous concours events and vintage tours, marking a late example of the Italian coachbuilders’ art. It also stands as one of the finest Italian Sports/GT cars of its time, with outstanding engineering and sophisticated driving dynamics matched by few, if any, competing manufacturers of the postwar era.

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