Lancia AURElia - a masterpiece of Design and Engineering
Since its founding in 1906, Lancia has always been an independently minded automotive manufacturer. A rather sizable company located in Torino, Italy, it has consistently committed to high levels of engineering innovation and quality in all of its products.
The Aurelia was Lancia's stunning postwar model, one of the company's watershed products. When introduced, the Aurelia was one of the most advanced cars of its time. It was an icon of 1950s styling, and has been widely recognized as one of the high-points of Italy’s postwar design renaissance. In addition to its styling, done by Lancia in-house and Pinin Farina, the Aurelia featured a unique and historically significant V6 motor, designed in-house by Francesco De Virgilio, a lead engineer at Lancia from 1939 to 1975.
Taking the broader view, a study of Lancia's Aurelia involves an appreciation of postwar Italy and the rise of Italian design and engineering. The 1950s were a period of transition, when older, more basic ways were challenged by newer tools and methods, with insights derived from the struggles of WWII. This was a time when hands-on problem solving was tested by new tools of analysis and calculation. In the face of such challenges, one can look to product development and innovation such as the Aurelia as resolutions, examples of what can be done with talent, grace and care.
above: Aurelia B20 Coupe, as introduced in the 1951 Torino Salone Internazionale dell'Automobile (photo by Mailander, courtesy of the Revs Institute) below: introductory brochure, 1950.
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