The Lancia Aurelia Outlaw European CSL Triples The Horsepower And Sheds Steel For Hand-Formed Aluminum
Where do you take your 1950s Italian grand tourer if you want to chop its top, triple its horsepower, and re-body it in aluminum? Some high-performance hole-in-the-wall garage tucked away in the Motor Valley? How about the Cotswolds in the English countryside?
The latter is where a company called Thornley Kelham has been building the definitive Outlaw restomod versions of the Lancia B20 GT Coupé for the past few years in the town of Cirencester, and the latest iteration to emerge from the paint shop turned restoration and classic motorsport hub is the lightest, fastest, and meanest yet.
Of the nine total Aurelia Outlaws that Thornley Kelham will produce before turning its attention to similar projects with other classics that will become part of the the company’s “Europeans” collection, the final three Aurelias will be specced as European CSL versions, the main features of which are hand-formed aluminum bodywork and an Alfa Romeo engine transplant.
Using a tuned 3.2-liter Busso V6 sourced from more modern Alfa Romeo models like the 156, the CSL sends over 300hp through its five-speed transaxle and limited-slip diff, which is nearly three times the car’s original output, and a significant increase above previous Thornley Kelham Aurelia Outlaws, which mostly used enlarged 2.8-liter Lancia Flaminia V6s producing around 220hp in top spec. Torque has increased from the Flaminia-powered cars’ 160lb-ft output, to around 250lb-ft in the CSL.
In addition to that peachy increase in power is the fact that the CSL is also much lighter thanks to the its metallurgical diet of aluminum in place of steel, weighing in at a feathery 1,100kg (~2425lbs), or 75kg (~165lbs) less than one of the company’s steel-bodied Outlaws. That’s complete with roll cage and air-conditioning, and plenty of leather and alcantara.
The previous Outlaw builds already marked an overhauling of the Aurelia’s chassis and suspension with modifications for modern damping, more negative camber, and a specially designed independent rear suspension setup that includes inboard disc brakes. The CSL takes another step by giving owners the option to spec their limited-slip, their gear ratios, rack and pinion steering ratio, and even power steering. This is in addition to further tweaks to the already modernized suspension setup.
Like all of Thornley Kelham’s Aurelia Outlaws, the CSLs will feature the shaved rain gutters and distinctive low roofline inspired by the B20 GT driven by Giovanni Bracco in the 1951 Carrera Panamericana, with the exterior also sharing the trademark custom mirrors, hood catches, and Jaguar D-Type style wheels. Also like past Aurelia Outlaws, the CSL eschews its bumpers and much of its moulding for a sleeker look, while the remaining brightwork is plated in a bright nickel finish.
Considering Thornley Kelham makes a point out of looking for the most tired Aurelias to start with—they claim 5,000 hours of work is needed to build an Outlaw—we think these restomods are pretty near faultless outside of the stubbornest purist point of view, and we are keen to get some seat time in one of these new CSL versions, but we want to know what do you think about these reimagined Lancia GTs? The original car was a watershed moment for a market segment that barely existed, so is it sacrilegious to mess with something that was such a revelation in its day? They aren’t making any more of these cars, but Thornley Kelham isn’t making more than three of these CSLs, either.