At the recent Silverstone Classic 2018, a number of brilliant classic cars were sold. One of the finest was the Lancia Aprilia Pininfarina Convertible, which sold for £151,875. The work of Battista Farina, only 10 Lancia Type 439 chassis received his coachwork skills. The car sold at Silverstone is a gorgeous creation and we’re looking into the history of the Lancia Aprilia Pininfarina version.
Farina had close ties with Lancia, based on his company receiving financial backing from Vincenzo Lancia in the early days. So, it’s no surprise that Carrozzeria Pinin Farina was tasked with building Aprilias. The firm got a hold of Aprilia chassis number 439-11844 in 1946 and by that time they were very familiar with the model’s potential.
In the post-war years it was common for coachbuilders to design cars with long bonnets. But Farina built a car with a short bonnet, creating more room for a centrally positioned passenger compartment. It featured cabriolet coachwork, unique Pinin Farina gauges and styling cues. The Cabriolet’s most distinctive feature was the sculpted panels with meticulously crafted lines.
Stealing the show
A major car event occurred in 1946 with the Salon de l’Automobile de Paris. However, German and Italian car makers were banned from attending. That didn’t stop Farina, who drove the Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet to the show. He knew that the car would be denied entrance, so he parked in front of the Grand Palais on Avenue Winston-Churchill. Naturally, the manager was furious, but the stunt attracted a big crowd and the PR stunt did the job.
Such was the buzz around the car that the show officials allowed it to remain parked outside the exhibition. The Cabriolet stood out for its spectacular design, high-class engineering and swagger.
The car’s first owner lived in Switzerland and then it passed into the hands of a man called Jean Pierre Baumgartner. He’s recognised as an authority on classic Lancias as he published a book based on his experiences on restoring rare Pininfarina cars.
Eventually, the car was restored and sold to another Swiss owner at Silverstone. The Cabriolet is a prime example of Pininfarina’s engineering genius.