To many, a list of the greatest car manufacturers of Italy may struggle to reach past Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and perhaps Maserati. But pose that same question to a full-blooded Petrol Head, and Lancia would likely be the first word out of their mouth. Founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia, the company that bore his name went on to produce some of the most thoughtfully engineered and stylish automobiles the world has seen. Standard Lancias were generally more conservative than a comparable Alfa or Maserati, however Lancia cars are often compared with the likes of Mercedes-Benz for their level of build quality and engineering excellence. In practice, Lancia combined the best of both worlds – building automobiles that combined sophisticated engineering and brisk performance wrapped in gorgeous, unmistakably Italian bodywork. Their engineering prowess was reflected on the race track and special stage, where they have enjoyed tremendous success. From the 1960s to the 1990s, rallying was Lancia’s venue of choice where they hold a record ten World Constructor’s Championships.
Aside from their quality, Lancia has always been known as a great innovator, responsible for many important firsts such as independent front suspension, the now ubiquitous V6 engine, and the first production car designed to use radial tires; the latter two debuting with the brilliant Aurelia. In 1957, the firm introduced the Aurelia’s equally outstaning replacement, the Flaminia. Offered as a four-door Berlina as well as short-wheelbase Coupe and Cabriolet, the Flaminia continued the theme of sophistication and style set by the Aurelia, with four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes mounted inboard at the rear, rear-mounted transaxle, and that gorgeous all-alloy V6 up front. Aside from the factory produced Berlina, a variety of the great Italian coachbuilders lent their hand to the Flaminia; namely Pininfarina, Carrozzeria Touring and Zagato.
This 1962 Flaminia GT coupe is a highly desirable 2.5 model with optional triple Weber carburetors and gorgeous coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, distinguished by its quad headlamps and crisp, elegant lines. The white main body is contrasted with a silver-painted roof with matching silver wheels. This history of this handsome Lancia picks up in 1974 when it was purchased by Jeff Cooper from a Giuliano Verna Motors in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Period photos show him enjoying the car in Lancia club events in the late 70s. In 1989, the Flaminia was purchased by a well-known Lancia enthusiast and unofficial marque ambassador, Tom Sheehan. Mr. Sheehan held a large inventory of parts and was a trusted resource for fellow Lancia owners in the USA. He purchased the car mid-restoration, after Mr. Cooper ran out of funds to complete the project. The restoration was completed and he retained the car until his death in 1994, when the car passed through the hands of several other enthusiasts before it found its way back to the late Walt Spak, a trusted Lancia expert and longtime friend and associate of Mr. Sheehan, who remembered the car fondly. Mr. Spak’s engines have powered concours winners from Pebble Beach to Amelia Island and beyond. Spak embarked on a comprehensive and meticulous rebuild of all mechanical systems (including the engine from the crankshaft up), which he estimated at 950 man-hours and over $40,000 in parts and machine work. Following Mr. Spak’s time, it found a home in a prominent collection of Italian cars, but the dealer who sold it very quickly bought it back for his own use, as he was so very fond of this elegant Lancia.
Today, this gorgeous Lancia Flaminia is presented in superlative condition as a well-restored car that has enjoyed proper care and freshening through the years. The white painted main body is subtly accented by the gray painted roof. Paint condition is very good, with straight panels and excellent gaps all around; a clear sign that this Superleggera Touring-bodied car has been well cared for during its life. Along with the high-quality paint, the exterior has recently been refreshed with several new gaskets including for the front and back glass. Brightwork, including the chrome bumpers and delicate alloy body moldings is all very well-presented. The car rides on proper Michelin X radials mounted to factory original steel wheels and dressed with large-faced Lancia hubcaps – lending the car a clean, Modern-design appearance.
Opening the door reveals a recently restored interior in fine condition. The tan hides on the seats and door panels provide a subtle contrast to the white body color, adding a rich and inviting appeal. The gray paint of the roof is mirrored on the dash, which is fitted with original Jaeger dials and original switchgear. The carpeting is very tidy, and the light grey color ties in with the paint scheme quite nicely. The carpeting is protected by a set of factory-correct fluted rubber mats in light gray. Even the trunk retains the original Touring Superleggera rubber mat. We particularly love the evocative three-spoke wooden steering wheel with its charming character scars courtesy of the previous owners who have cherished their time driving this car over the years.
Thanks to the efforts and expertise of Walt Spak and its expert care since his work was done, this Lancia’s 2.5 liter V6 runs beautifully, producing a healthy 150 horsepower in this triple-carb spec. Power is sent through a sweet-shifting four-speed manual transaxle with overdrive. The engine compartment very tidy and well-detailed with proper wrinkle-finish valve covers, a correct original tri-carb air cleaner, and correct hoses, fittings and clamps. Even the FIAMM air horns are painted their signature bright red hue, just visible through the grille. Included in the sale is a comprehensive history binder that documents the extensive past restoration work, including some recent freshening work that occurred in 2015. Also included is a pouch containing rare, original Lancia-branded tools.
This rare and elegant Flaminia Touring Superleggera delivers not only a wonderful driving experience, but it also offers the opportunity for enjoyment on any number of exclusive tours and events. Experienced enthusiasts and collectors know that the Flaminia GT is one of the greatest Italian grand touring cars of the era, and this exquisite example is certain to charm its next keeper just as it has in the past.