1927 Lancia Lambda 7th Series Short Chassis Torpedo
Vincenzo Lancia was never destined to spend his working life in the family soup manufacturing business, his sense of adventure and forward thinking taking him first to an apprenticeship with Ceirano in 1898 and later to a more senior post with Fiat at the turn of the 20th Century. The young engineer soon found himself a key member of Fiat’s racing team in such epic events as the Gordon Bennett Cup in France, just a Century ago, and later in the Vanderbilt Cup and the Targa Florio. For one with such drive and ambition it was a natural progression to building his own motor cars and production began in Turin in 1906. Naturally early cars reflected some Fiat influence and were largely conventional in design, however Lancia was a leader and not a follower of automobile development, pioneering full electric systems in standard production models in 1914 and dabbling with design and production of a 12 cylinder, overhead camshaft-engined car in 1919.
It was however the Lambda that established Lancia on a firm financial footing following its design in 1921 and first exhibition at Turin in 1922. The Lambda was indeed a ground breaking car, reflecting Vincenzo’s driving influence. Front suspension was radical with its independent, vertical, coil-type sliding pillars, the four cylinder engine was set in a narrow V configuration with an overhead camshaft and unitary construction of chassis and body was adopted for the sporty torpedo coachwork. The combination of these three attributes in one car was a bold step and Lancia’s definitive masterpiece was a full generation ahead of its rivals.
By 1926 the 7th Series cars were powered by the familiar V4 engine, now enhanced to a capacity of 2,370cc. The Lambda remained in production through to 1931, final models seeing yet another engine enhancement to 2,579cc, and such was the strength of the basic model’s design that Lambda were used by the Australian police force into the 1960s!
This most desirable short chassis, 7th Series car is to factory specification in all major respects, even retaining its original black leather upholstery. It is believed to have been delivered to the UK and was restored by most respected Lancia specialists, KCA in Turin; the quality of this work has been reflected in the many prizes that the car has won in both concours d’élégance and road events, including active participation in those of the Lancia Club. Several trophies are offered with the car which is Italian registered, A.S.I. homologated and has a F.I.V.A. Passport. Acquired by the Italian vendor at last year’s auction in Monte Carlo of the Silvano Cima Collection, which we organised when still at Bonhams, the car has since been hardly driven. The only maintenance required was overhaul of the water pump.
Within collectors’ car circles no collection is considered complete without the inclusion of the charismatic Lambda which combines an arrogant elegance with performance the envy of its significant competitors. Few vintage motor cars maintain station as effectively in modern traffic as the Lambda, making it the ideal vehicle for long distance touring whilst also being ideal for historic events such as the Mille Miglia.