Produced from 1951 to 1958, the unforgettable Lancia Aurelia B20 was an instant sales success that also excelled in national and international races.
The Lancia Aurelia B20 was presented at the Turin Motor Show on 2 April 1951 and heralded the introduction of an entirely new format, the Grand Touring 2-seater plus 2 (occasional) seats. Its engine – the first V6 in automobile history – was created by the brilliant mind of designer Francesco De Virgilio. The Aurelia was a runaway commercial success despite its 2,600,000-lira price tag, which was a hefty sum in those days.
By the time its eight-year production run ended (the last B20 left the factory on 7 November 1958), the Aurelia B20 had evolved through six series, although this classification only became official once the car was discontinued. Lancia had not planned to develop non-production chassis for the B20, although a limited number of B20 special editions were released. They include the Berlinetta Vignale Raggio Azzurro, displayed at the New York and Turin auto shows in 1955, the luxury Boano and Pininfarina versions with meticulous design details, the Buzzi Hot Rod, which catered to American demand for fast acceleration in the 1960s, and finally the sporty B20 Tinarelli with an aluminium body.
The Aurelia B20 boasts a winning history in various sports events, from the Sestriere Rally and the Giro di Toscana to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Giro di Sicilia.
The B20 also competed in several editions of the "most beautiful race in the world", the 1000 Miglia. Among its direct rivals were the Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint, the Fiat 8V Zagato, the Bristol 401 and the Aston Martin DB2. The Aurelia was the first Lancia model to achieve remarkable success in motor sports at international level, establishing a formidable reputation in both road and track racing.
Even today, the Lancia Aurelia B20 remains a Grand Tourer par excellence that has retained its classic and timeless appeal. The specimen owned by Heritage, which is supremely elegant with its black bodywork combined with interior upholstery in grey Lancia cloth, is one of 500 first-series Aurelia cars that were produced in 1951.