1936 Lancia Astura

This is one of only six Lancia Asturas bodied by Battista "Pinin" Farina with similar cabriolet coachwork before World War II. Commissioned by a Lancia dealer known as Bocca, its clean, racey, streamlined coachwork complements the Lancia Astura's innovative narrow angle V-8 engine and low stance. Discovered in England in the early Sixties, it was brought to Pininfarina's attention and held in such high regard by the company founder that the company did a complete restoration (which amounted to a reconstruction) of the body without charge, going to great lengths to ensure its presentation including bringing back the artisan who spun its original lightweight wheel discs in 1938 to make new ones. In the 1970's it was owned by Eric Clapton who described it as the most fun he had ever had "off stage and out of bed." Subsequently it was acquired by Pininfarina and displayed for many years in the company museum. It was acquired by its most recent private owner directly from Pininfarina. Its history since the Sixties is well documented and includes an article in the British magazine Classic & Sports Car. It has been maintained in excellent condition since its restoration and boasts many exceptional and unusual features including dual wipers on the driver's side of the opening vee windshield, polished wheel discs, Marchal head and fog lights, beautiful wood dash with Jaeger gauges, seatback ashtrays for the rear seat passengers, fabulous brown leather upholstery with basket weave seat backs -- not embossed, but individual strips woven together in a striking and unusual pattern -- and a subtle damascening treatment of the chrome beltline molding. The Astura was arguably the most luxurious, comfortable automobile built in Italy in the years just before the war. It was powered by an overhead camshaft 2,973cc V-8 with a vee angle of only 17 degrees. The narrow vee angle let Lancia employ one of the company's more innovative ideas, a single cylinder head for both banks of the V-8. The coachwork is balanced and seductive, with large chrome Marchal headlights tucked between the front fenders and the Lancia grille and a tapered, almost boattail, rear deck surmounted by chrome luggage carriers. An important artifact of Italian design and Pinin Farina history with a documented celebrity history, it runs and drives like a dream and will always be recognized as a distinguished automobile of the highest quality.

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