Fresh from a total restoration

1961 Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato 2.5

The car should be unexcelled for high-speed, long-distance touring in comfort… the quality is of a kind only possible in handmade cars, and to get it you have to be willing to pay. For those who are willing, it offers transportation that is, beyond doubt, in the fabled grand manner.” Road & Track tries a new Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato in November 1960

Few marques generate as much loyalty and sheer enthusiasm as Lancia. Highly advanced in their day, a Lancia Gran Turismo of the 1950s and early 1960s was, without question, a ‘thinking man’s GT’, a car for true connoisseurs.

It was also the choice of champions. The great Argentine, Juan-Manual Fangio, winner of five World Championships and the 1953 Carrera Panamericana at the wheel of a Lancia D24, chose an Aurelia B20 GT for the long journeys from Modena or Maranello to races across the length and breadth of Europe. 

Light, always powerful enough and so effortless to drive, Gianni Lancia’s creations were the ‘brain’ to Enzo Ferrari’s ‘brawn’. In Mexico 1953, Fangio’s D24 gave away some 15mph flat out to Maglioli’s big Ferrari 375 MM yet he led home a comfortable Lancia 1-2-3. The first car from Maranello finished some 1½ hours behind.

So in 1958, when Carrozzeria Zagato, the masters of race-bred lightweight construction and aerodynamics, worked their magic on the new Flaminia GT, a legend was born. 

Undoubtedly a Lancia, indisputably a Zagato: the new car was destined for greatness.

The Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato

Zagato’s take on Lancia’s new Flaminia first appeared at the 1958 Turin Motor Show and was based on the floorpan, running gear and shorter, 2,520mm wheelbase of the Flaminia GT. Clothed entirely in handcrafted aluminium, it was a typical design from the Milanese coachbuilder: low, aerodynamic and functional. Under the bonnet sat a production – 119bhp, 2.5-litre, single-carb V6 – Flaminia GT engine, but thanks to Zagato’s wind-cheating design top speed was now 112mph

In limited-series production the following year, the new Flaminia Sport Zagato was built on bare chassis supplied by Lancia. Inevitably, with both houses having such a fine competition record, some were raced and rallied, but the elegant coupé came into its own as a favourite of discrete businessman and more discerning figures in public life. Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni was one.

The first 99 cars bore streamlined, faired-in headlamps. In 1960, to meet new Italian regulations, the balance of the first series carried open headlamps in the style of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB. The famous ‘double bubble’ roof was a feature found on all Flaminia Zagatos.

In total, specialist sources suggest that, when production finished in 1967, some 599 Flaminia Sport Zagatos had been produced. Later cars had variations in engines and carburettors while, from 1964, the final Super Sport was a heavily restyled version with an abrupt ‘Kamm’ tail. 

The purest and most delicate early cars, though, best represent the collaboration between the styling master of Milan with the engineering titan from Turin, models such as this, the very last first series built. 

This Motor Car 

According to research conducted by the present owner, a respected Italian collector with a passion for Zagato-bodied Lancias and Alfa Romeos, chassis 824.03 2067 was finished on 4 September 1960 and completed in the typically subtle combination of Argento Auteuil (pale silver-blue metallic) with red leather. This is confirmed by a copy of the Lancia chassis record which also shows ‘2067’ as the very last Series 1 Flaminia Sport Zagato built.

Further proof of the car’s authenticity comes in the form of a document from Fiat Group Automobiles Belgium dated December 2011, stating that chassis 824.03 2067 is a Lancia Flaminia Zagato built in 1961 by Fiat Auto SpA (the umbrella company which now owns the Lancia brand).

The long-term owner of ‘2067’ was a Belgian gentleman based in a municipality in the province of Liège. At the time of his death it was in storage in a closed garage, laid up and untouched for many years. In 2011, his widow made a declaration to the local police that the car’s documents were lost and in a 2 September 2011 Attestation de Perte, Inspector André Bovy attests that the car in the garage was, indeed, Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato 824.03 2067.

The car was sold as a restoration project to a Swiss dealer who subsequently traded it to a Monaco broker, from whom our client bought ‘2067’ in April 2016. 

Relishing the opportunity to restore a complete, ‘matching numbers’ Flaminia Sport Zagato, the current owner took stock of his new purchase. Corrosion had taken its toll of the chassis, however the aluminium body was in good condition. The interior was beyond help, although it would assist greatly as a point of reference – colours and materials, etc – in the restoration. The car was totally disassembled and the chassis painstakingly reconstructed, with new metal replacing the old, corroded sections. The chassis was then carefully measured on a bench for accuracy before reuniting it with the body. 

Acting on the precise instructions of our client – an old hand at Italian car restoration – his own mechanic, working with specialist bodywork and mechanical companies in Northern Italy, rebuilt ‘2067’ over two years to the fine condition in which it is presented today. All worn-out parts have been restored or, if necessary, replaced. The two-year process was recorded photographically and totalled some €144,000, the aim being to restore the car to ‘as delivered’ in lustrous Argento Auteuil with red.

The result is a stunning Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato in one of the best colour combinations, ‘matching numbers’ and totally ‘on the button’ for a summer of events, driving holidays or impromptu trips to the countryside in the spirit of Fangio, Taruffi and Castellotti.