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Lot 047: Lancia Flaminia GT 3C

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (16 May 2012)

Many years ago your cataloguer vividly remembers meeting an immaculately dressed Italian count who used to commute from Milan to Zurich on a regular basis. Clearly a man of impeccable taste, he had a choice of a Lancia Flaminia GT and a Ferrari 330 GT in which to tackle the trans-Alpine route. For drama, I take the Ferrari, he said. But if I am in a hurry, the Flaminia every time. The Flaminia GT first hit the catwalk in 1959, its austere yet sensuous all-aluminium bodywork hand-built by Touring of Milan in their patented Superleggera style. Nine inches shorter and 170kg lighter than the Flaminia Coupe on which it was based, its all-alloy 2.5-litre V6 produced 140bhp in triple Weber carb form and was good for 115mph. Contemporary road testers universally admired the engineering excellence of the car, its superb brakes and tremendous ride and handling which imparted uncanny stability at all speeds and on all surfaces. Indeed there are many who would claim that it was the finest handling car of its day, bar none (our Italian count among them). As with all Lancias of this era, the car was a technical tour de force with features like Dunlop disc brakes all round (inboard at the rear), a De Dion axle, independent front suspension and perfect 50:50 weight distribution by virtue of its all-synchro gearbox being mounted in unit with the rear axle. The quality of materials used and the standards of engineering excellence applied were far in excess of other, supposedly more illustrious, Italian marques. Indeed Italians have always regarded the Lancia as their finest, most aristocratic car, and not for nothing are they known as 'the thinking man's Alfa Romeo'. The same might be said of Carrozzeria Touring, generally acknowledged to be the greatest of all the Italian coachbuilders whose refusal to compromise on quality was the main reason for their downfall in 1966. In fact the Flaminia GT was their last great design, produced when they were at the height of their powers along with the Aston Martin DB4, the Maserati 3500GT and the Lamborghini 400GT. Costing as much as these other illustrious models at the time, the Flaminia's roster of jet-set customers included film stars Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn; racing drivers Juan Manuel Fangio, Peter Collins and Paul Frere; and playboys Roger Vadim, Prince Ali Aga Khan and Francoise Sagan. Just 1,718 examples were made before production ceased in 1967. All the more amazing then, that they are so undervalued today. This particular car is a very rare factory right-hand drive model (one of only 10 or 11 made), and has the desirable triple carb 2.5-litre engine. Built in 1963, it was sold new in June 1964 by Lancia agents BA Rolfe & Sons of Romsey, Hants. As the large history file that accompanies the car reveals, it then changed hands several times over the following years until acquired by the noted composer Geoffrey Burgon in 1991 (Brideshead Revisited being among his many film and TV scores). At this point the car had some 79,000 miles on the clock and Burgon had it fully restored over the next three years with bills for over 22,000 on file. After the rebuild was completed the car was loaned to motoring journalist Phil Llewellyn who completed a 500 mile round trip from London to Portmeirion for a Daily Telegraph feature in 1995 (copy on file). On the motorway the Flaminia had no difficulty keeping pace with traffic that almost invariably moves considerably faster than Britain's 70mph speed limit, he wrote, while on the back roads: two fingers and two thumbs were all that was needed to thread the delightfully responsive Flaminia through a series of fast flowing corners. Later in 1995 it was acquired by well-known Lancia aficionado Michael Estorick who fitted a new clutch and flywheel at 89,742 miles. The current vendor acquired the car in 2007, now with some 94,000 miles on the clock. In July 2011, at 95,889 miles, he had the engine fully rebuilt including new pistons and liners at a cost of almost 7,000 (bills on file). The brakes have also been overhauled, the rear springs retempered, the radiator recored and the underside waxoiled. Since the engine rebuild the car has only covered a couple of hundred miles and is still running in. Said to drive very well with excellent oil pressure and temperature at all times, the car remains in good condition throughout with a lovely red leather interior. MOTd and taxed until October, it comes with the aforementioned history file, original green log book and continuation log book charting all the owners from new, two factory workshop manuals, owner's instruction book and many old MOTs back to 1993. It is only being sold because the vendor now how his sights set on a convertible for the summer. These Flaminias really are fabulously cultured machines and we can't imagine that they will stay at this price level for much longer (just look what has happened to Aurelia values of late). One to buy now while you can still afford to  especially if you have a regular commute across the Alps&

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
TypeCar
Lot Number047
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£37000
Year1963
Condition rating
Registration number303 NHO
Mileage-
Chassis number824.11 - 3475
Engine numberMOT823.10 13647
Engine capacity (cc)2458
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors