Reader Submissions: Long Line of Distinguished Owners Only Adds to this Lancia's Beauty

Long Line of Distinguished Owners Only Adds to this Lancia’s Beauty

By Petrolicious Productions
August 4, 2014

Owner: Paolo Mazzotto

Year, Make, and Model: 1953 Lancia Aurelia B20 Series III

Location: Rome, Italy

Photographers: Various

During the summer of 1953, the Como Lancia dealership ordered the Aurelia on behalf of Mr. Antonello Provasi of Lecco, a gentleman driver who intended to race it. The car was ordered as “competition type” with the same specifications of Lancia’s official vehicles in 1953. According to competition specs, it was built by Pininfarina in exactly the same way as the corsa units: welded boot, “banquet” seats, air intake on the roof, aluminium hood, Plexiglas front and rear windows, and removal of foglights and bumpers. Since Lancia reserved the competition-grade engine for official drivers, the motor was tuned by Nardi in Turin, who was communicating very closely with Lancia Corse (Lancia’s race division) at that time. The motor was officially tested by Lancia and showed an equivalent power to the “official” Lancia units (129.4 BHP at 5.400 rpm). Upon its delivery, it was put to use immediately. On May 7, 1954 he qualified first in Monza at “Campionato ACI Como” (with an average speed of 144.590 Km/h).

In late 1954, Antonello, after buying a Ferrari 3000, decided to sell the car to Mr. Salvatore Piccolo from Messina, who drove it in various  minor races (The nocturnal 10 hours of Messina, Catania-Etna, Pellegrino Mountain, etc.), also with another Sicilian driver, Mr. Curcuruto. The car still has various punching seals around its steering column. Mr Sciarrone from Messina purchased the car in 1958 and later parked it in a warehouse where it remained until 1983, when it was bought by Mr. Guido Rosani (Lancia historian and author of the book D24 and the Sport Lancias) complete and original.

In 1985, the car was given to Earl Vittorio Zanon di Valgiurata, who restored it completely, both mechanically and cosmetically. He then participated in the 1996 Tour de France with Mr. Maurizio Tresoldi, finishing second in the reliability trial class, only “a whisper away from a Mercedes 300 SL”, as the press wrote at that time (“Ruote Classiche” 6/1996). Now resuscitated, the car competed in three editions of the Mille Miglia and in several other commemorative races (Bari Grand Prix, Montecarlo-Sestriere, Dolomiti Cup, Pontedecimo-Giovi, Tuscany Cup, etc).

I don’t know exactly what I love about it, except that it is beautiful. Driving it makes me happy and while it might have been crazy to buy it, I fell in love with the Aurelia at first sight.

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Craig Morgan
Craig Morgan
7 years ago

The Goodwood team made a lovely short video of Lord March and his cherished B20 coupe, well worth a watch if this piqued your interest.

Ed L
Ed L
7 years ago

DGH, up through the mid-50s, it was typical for Italian sporting cars to be RHD. Many, if not most, Ferrari GTs of the time were RHD. So while the Aurelia berlina was available LHD or RHD from its intro in 1950, it wasn’t until the S4 (1954?) that the Aurelia B20 was available LHD (as the B20S). All things equal, I’d prefer LHD, but I’d happily make an exception for a comp-spec S3 B20.

Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey(@foxhunter)
7 years ago

Italian car makers made exclusively right hand drive cars long after some parts of Italy started driving on the right.
For many years the country drove on different sides of the road depending where you were! In some cases you had to change sides when you left a City’s boundaries, causing chaos.

Race cars in particular were often RHD as it favoured the clockwise rotation of the track.

Whatever side you sit in this Lancia it will be a pleasure.

The paint colour changes with the sun, an interesting feature of red cars, only adding to the attraction!

Gas Project
Gas Project(@gasproject)
7 years ago

Ah, perfection.

7 years ago

Love this Lancia that swooping, fast back rear end. One quirk though, it was sold in Italy but is right hand drive?

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson(@valvebounce)
7 years ago

You can’t beat a B20, amazing performance, stunning looks, inspirational engineering, and entry to all the great old car events.

Should have bought one ten years ago…

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle(@mosler)
7 years ago

Nice Italian gem right there.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

Its a Lancia Aurelia … whats not to love ?