Lancia Aurelia B50 Coupé 1950
Coachwork by Vignale
Chassis no. B50.1044
First owned by Giovanni Bracco
•Said to have inspired the Lancia Aurelia B20 GT
•Outstandingly original and unrestored
•Mechanically checked over
•Preservation Class concours contender
•Mille Miglia eligible
Alongside the unitary construction Aurelia B10 saloon, Lancia produced a platform chassis for bodying by independent coachbuilders, designated B50 or B51 (with different gearing/tyres) and powered by the standard 1,754cc 56bhp V6 engine.
Build on one of the earliest B50 chassis in June 1950, this car carries influential coupé coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale, whose chief designer at the time was Giovanni Michelotti. One of the most illustrious of Italian coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Vignale had been founded in 1948 by Alfredo Vignale, whose career had begun pre-war with a successful design on the FIAT Topolino chassis. Enzo Ferrari's favoured coachbuilder during Maranello's formative years, Carrozzeria Vignale also designed and built cars for Lancia and Maserati among others, and in the 1960s branched out into automobile manufacture in its own right.
Chassis number 'B50-1044' was delivered new via Lancia dealer Bocca in Biella to the famous Italian racing driver, Giovanni Bracco. A copy of its original ACI identity document, naming Bracco as owner, is on file. Bracco was a close friend of Gianni Lancia, and it is believed he showed his Vignale-bodied B50 to Gianni in the autumn of 1950. It is said that Gianni liked the design and asked one of his designers to draw up a similar-looking coupé on a shortened wheelbase: the B20 GT was born. Bracco and four other gentlemen racers took delivery of their B20s at Pinin Farina's Corse Dante workshop a few days before the start of the 1951 Mille Miglia. Stunning the motor racing world, Bracco's mildly race-developed B20 finished 2nd overall, beaten only by Luigi Villoresi's 4.1-litre works Ferrari! It is worth noting that the nimble Aurelia was actually faster than the Ferrari over the mountain passes north of Florence.
Bracco sold 'B50-1044' in 1952. Passing through various hands, the Aurelia finally returned to its roots in 1983 when it was purchased by Giulio Vignale, nephew of company founder, Alfredo Vignale. It was kept until a few years ago by the Vignale family, at Via Campobasso in Turin, and is still on 'black' Italian license plates. After Giulio Vignale, the car was transferred to another family member, who lived in Bologna.
'B50-1044' has never been restored; the interior and exterior are in original condition, while the floor and chassis have been protected with an anti-rust coating. The brakes have been overhauled and the engine was serviced by Epoca Ricambi, a well-known and respected Belgian Lancia specialist. The car starts immediately and runs beautifully. In 2015 the current owner won Best in Class 'Most Preserved Car' during the Zoute Concours d'Elegance with this stunning B50. A true 'time capsule', retaining even its old tyres (that come with the car), toolkit and other features, it is worthy of a prize in the Preservation Class of any major concours.
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