The spectacular Astura is the pinnacle of prewar Lancias. Introduced alongside the Artena, Vincenzo Lancia had extended his lineup with the two-model approach, the Artena featuring a powerful four-cylinder of under two liters, and the grand, luxurious Astura receiving a 2,604 cc, narrow-angle V8, topped with a single cylinder head, derived from the Dilambda. That engine soon grew to 2,972 cc, with a 17-degree angle between the banks, with a rating of 82 brake horsepower at 4,000 rpm. The Astura chassis initially came in a single 125-inch wheelbase configuration, but for the 3rd Series, two versions were offered. The Tipo 233L Lungo had a wheelbase of 131 inches, while the sporting Tipo 233C Corto was 122 inches. As with previous Lancias, the front suspension was by sliding pillar, paired with a live rear axle, cockpit adjustable friction dampers, and Bijur lubrication system. While not designed for competition, the Astura did deliver the performance that well-heeled customers expected, and privately entered cars fared well at the Mille Miglia and even scored an overall win at the Giro d’Italia in 1934.
When it came to matters of style, Vincenzo Lancia preferred conservative coachwork. But subdued lines didn’t always suit his clientele, and Lancia dealers wanted more flamboyant designs to reflect the advanced mechanicals beneath the skin. Vincenzo trusted his dealers, notably the Bocca Brothers of Biella, themselves highly successful Lancia agents and fellow Piedmontese. The brothers persuaded Vincenzo to allow the commission of a small run of Third Series, 2.9-liter Astura cabriolets styled by Pinin Farina with newly fashionable streamlined coachwork. Ultimately, six chassis were clothed in a breathtaking design created by Pinin Farina stylist Mario Revelli di Beaumont, each subtly different from the next. From the horizontal grille bars intersected by a vertical “waterfall” motif extending to the base of the folding V-windscreen to the chrome sweep wrapping unbroken around the tail to define the boot lid, it is a masterpiece of restrained elegance and proportion.
It is believed that no more than six of these “Bocca” cabriolets were built on both corto and lungo chassis. The car featured here, number 33-5313, is a Tipo 233C short chassis model, delivered to Pinin Farina in the summer of 1936 to be clothed in di Baumont’s magnificent coachwork. It was finished in a subtle pale gray with blue upholstery and fitted with a novel power-actuated convertible top. Once completed, this cabriolet was displayed on the Pinin Farina Stand at the 1936 Salone del l’Automobile, Milano, and was awarded the President’s Cup by the Royal Automobile Club of Italy. Lancia’s agency in Genoa, Giara & C., acquired 33-5313 for their stock and quickly sold it to a local industrialist named Cav. Piero Sanguineti. In May 1937, he showed it at the Concorso d’Eleganza per Automobili San Remo and earned a class award.
Lancia’s German distributor, Emil Uebel of Berlin-Charlottenburg, acquired the Tipo Bocca and somehow managed to squirrel it away and save the car from destruction during the war. In 1947, American collector Barney Pollard bought 33-5313 as part of a deal that included two steam locomotives! He retained the Lancia in the US until 1980, when he sold it to the former American Lancia Club president Armand Giglio, who held it in his care for a further two decades, selling it to a Connecticut-based collector. By this time, the elegant Tipo Bocca was still complete and remarkably well-preserved, and the owner began repairing the wood framing as needed and preparing the body for restoration but sold the car before the project got fully underway.
In late 2011, 33-5313 was acquired by the preeminent collector, Orin Smith. He commissioned Vantage Motorworks of Miami, Florida, to perform a much-deserved complete restoration finished to world-class concours standards, discovering important details like the original Pinin Farina job number stamped into the body wood. The Lancia was refinished in a striking pale gray over an indigo leather interior, mimicking the livery it first wore on the Pinin Farina stand in 1936. In 2012, the newly restored Lancia returned to the concours circuit for the first time in 76 years, debuting on the lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In 2013, it went on to win Best in Class at the Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday and the People’s Choice Award at Amelia Island, and in 2014 it earned the award for Most Sympathetic Restoration at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles invited the car to participate in its “Rolling Sculpture” exhibit, highlighting significant vehicles with advanced streamline design. The Lancia remained in the Smith’s care until 2017, when it joined another prestigious collection, remaining there until 2022.
The Lancia remains in stunning condition, with its flattering livery and beautifully proportioned coachwork proving the ideal match to the sporty Corto chassis. It is in excellent mechanical order, with a smooth-running V8 engine paired with a four-speed gearbox. The silken V8 ensures strong performance, and the Lancia is undoubtedly up to the task of classic touring.
Pinin Farina is an undisputed master of form, and the Lancia Astura Tipo Bocca series stands out in the great firm’s prolific late 1930s portfolio. This Astura Tipo Bocca represents an opportunity to acquire a stunning example of Italian engineering and coachbuilding excellence, worthy of the world’s finest collections.
Please note, this car is titled as a 1937
Offers welcome and trades considered
Stock number 7467
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