1959 Lancia Flaminia GT

Of all the design houses in Italy, Carrozzeria Touring is my favorite. Iconic cars such as the Alfa Romeo 8C of the 1930s, the Jensen Interceptor and the Maserati 3500GT all owe their looks to this firm. The company ceased operations in 1966 and was resurrected in 2006 by Zeta Europe BV, a company specializing in boutique brands. Before the original firm closed shop, they produced this gorgeous coupe, one of my favorite of all Touring designs, the Lancia Flaminia GT. We featured 1966 Lancia Flaminia GT last month, but this stylish hardtop deserves another look. This earlier example for sale in Indianapolis is a one family vehicle and a great example of an 1950s Italian design that has a little bit of American flair about it.

1959 Lancia Flaminia GT

This lovely example has been owned by one family since new, until we recently acquired the car. It was purchased new in Italy and then brought Stateside when the owner emigrated to the US. Largely garaged most of its life it was sent back to Italy for restoration in the late 90's. The car runs and drives quite well and has needed little sorting since we received it. Everything works on this car. There is no rust or corrosion. It is now ready for any of the exciting rallies for which it is eligible, and with a little effort would be an award winner at just about any concours. I havent seen one this nice in many years!

There were 12,633 Flaminias sold over 13 years. Coupés outsold the four door saloon, an unusual occurrence otherwise seen at the time only in American compact and midsize models whose coupe versions were standard factory models that cost the same or less than the sedan, while the Flaminia coupes' coachbuilt bodies made them considerably more expensive than the limousine-like Berlina. The Flaminia was named after the Via Flaminia, the road leading from Rome to Ariminum (Rimini). This respected the established Lancia tradition of naming individual models after Roman roads.

The original two bodies of the Flaminia were developed by Pininfarina and modelled after his two Aurelia-based motor show specials, named Florida. The Florida I, presented at the 1956 Turin Motor show, was a saloon with suicide doors. The Florida II, presented a year later at the Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva, was a coupé, and became Battista Farina's personal car of choice. The production version of the Lancia Flaminia appeared in 1957. The Flaminia's engine was an evolution of the world's first V6, which was introduced in the Aurelia. It had increased bore and decreased stroke. The engines were mounted longitudinally, powering the rear wheels through a 4-speed rear-mounted transaxle. A version with increased displacement was introduced in 1962.

Carrozzeria Touring designed and built these aluminum bodied two-door versions, which can be easily distinguished by their four round headlights (rather than two on Pininfarina Flaminias), and a shorter cabin - the wheelbase was decreased significantly for the GT and Convertibile, allowing for only two seats to be mounted. The GT was a coupé, while the Convertibile was obviously a cabriolet version (with optional hardtop). The GTL, introduced in 1962, was a 2+2 version of the GT with a slightly longer wheelbase. The Convertibile was in production until 1964, with 847 made in total (180 with the 2.8), while the GT and GTL lasted until 1965, with 1718 GTs and 300 GTLs made (out of which, 168 GTs and 297 GTLs with the 2.8).

Like the last Flaminia we featured, this car will probably fetch somewhere between $50,000 and $70,000. The one family ownership will no doubt make this attractive for collectors. Lancias from this period are impossibly pretty machines that are engineered like few of their peers. While they aren't accessible for collectors of modest means, when you compare them to other high end Italian exotics, they appear a bit of a bargain.