1961 Lancia Appia Sport Zagato

Lancia Appia Sport Zagato from 1961
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Model history

The Lancia Appia was introduced in 1953. From that first appearance everyone seemed to be impressed with this little car. Although the concept of a front-mounted V4 engine driving the rear wheels via a live axle was as before, the Appia differed completely from the Ardea. Of most significance was the new engine, which had lost the traditional Lancia overhead-camshaft design for the V4. Instead, two low-mounted camshafts operated the inclined valves through long pushrods, one camshaft being reserved for the intake side and the other for exhaust valve operation. As a result of the very narrow V-shaped block, and the short crankshaft with only two main bearing, this was one of the shortest V4’s ever built, though it was rather all. A bore and stroke measuring 68 x 75mm produced 1090cc. A simple four-speed gearbox had synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears and transmitted power to the rear wheels via a single-piece pro-shaft and hypoid-gear differential.

The introduction of the Lancia Appia brought Lancia even more publicity than the debut of the Aurelia. All the comments were much the same and positive. Press and public judged it to be a fine combination of comfort and sporting appeal in a little car.

The Appia had such an impact on the Italian market that several hundred orders were placed before the car’s introduction. During the thee-year lifespan the 1st series was changed in many respects. Approximately 20.000 of the Appia 1st series were made before the introduction of a 2nd series. Although in layout the 2nd series was similar to its forerunner, Lancia had made so many changes that it requires describing all over again. The story begins with the engine, which was given a new cylinder-head casting and a new layout for the rocker-arms and valve gear. Different engine timing complemented a new carburetor and allowed an extra 5.5bhp.

The 2nd series Appia was a big improvement, combining the original concept of the 1st series with the refinement of a later 3rd series. The 2nd series brought Lancia further fame.

Introduced at the Geneva motor show in 1959, the 3rd series had a lot in common with its immediate predecessor. With power increased to 48bhp, the 3rd series Appia was one of the fastest in its class at nearly 135km/h. It met with tremendous sales succes in Italy, and the export figures were better, too.

More the 99.000 Appia berlinas were sold between 1953 and 1963, of which some 55.000 were 3rd series. It did nog stop at nearly 100.000 Appia saloons, though. The Appia berlina may be the best known model, but Lancia made nearly 8.000 special Appias in 12 models. Definitive production of these specialized coachbuilders’ Appias included a Pinin Farina coupe 2+2, a Vignale convertible and a Zagato-bodied Appia GT.

Aside from the first prototype, Lancia sold three basic types of the Zagato-bodied Appia: the GT (with double bubble roof and sometimes with those fins), the GTE ( a more luxurious car) and the Sport (which was capable of 160km/h). But if one counts variations it is possible to discover six versions, mainly because during the production run Zagato changed the headlamps.

Good handling and light weight were the main features with which the Zagato-bodied Appias scored their succes in events ranging from circuit racing to hillclimbing.

This example

Lancia Appia Sport Zagato from 1961.
This car is one of circa 200 short wheel base Appia Sport Zagato’s built.
The car is unique in bare polished aluminium and is a most exceptional sight. Nice and mostly original bodywork, partly restored.
Bucket seats and Nardi wooden steering wheel. Borrani bi-metal wheels.

Participant of the Targa Florio in recent years. Has not been used much in last years hence will be serviced upon the sale.
These cars are light, have a nice revving V4 engine and are very pleasant to drive and quite quick.

Interesting pre war part exchange possible, Lancia or Bugatti.

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