The Aurelia was a car in a steady state of evolution. There were changes throughout its life - some more major than others. In looking over the range of changes, one can begin to see or types of changes.
Changes typically came in one of three varieties: The most readily identifiable changes were large ones to mechanical assemblies, such as engine size or the new transaxle design. Paralleling this, there were continued and steady modifications to detailed parts throughout the life of the car. While it is difficult to unravel all of them, the modifications on the later cars are of a slightly different character - and seem more rationalized. The earlier cars were more handmade, a bit simpler. The later cars showed a different attitude towards manufacturing - standardized parts seemed to be more prevalent.
Finally, there were large changes to the different models: often these were combinations of other assemblies repackaged to make a special model. For example, the B50 was the chassis version of the B10. Over the years, Lancia became quite nimble at mixing and matching parts from production as needed.
Almost every mechanical assembly on the Aurelia tells a story of continued improvement.Other changes in the later cars: the B12 and the series 5/6 B20’s represented a significant redo of the Aurelia. The driveshaft design was redone, brakes resized, the front axle was made more substantial, the list is quite large. But this was not new - the Aurelia had many different drum brake sizes - the B20 alone had four different sizes over its lifespan.
From an aesthetic viewpoint, the interiors were more standardized, and the cars less customized, and more of a known entity. Still, the availability of options and customization of the Aurelia was pretty high: leather interiors could be had, should the customer want them. Floor shifts were available in the B20’s, and became more common in the later cars, as did the wooden Nardi wheels. Trim rings or hood scoops could be provided.
Aurelias were developed within a range of production paradigms. Certainly the sedans were products of a standardized and uniform manufacturing process. They were also available as traditional specials - one-off, customized automobiles, where Lancia provided a chassis to the coachbuilder. In the evolution of the B20, one can find aspects of these two versions of the Aurelia. The early ones are more unique, a bit less rational in their production, a bit cruder. The later ones were even-keeled, refined and predictable cars. The Aurelia in later years is more considered, thoughtful, and wiser. However, in these developments, one finds middle age, growing weight and less nimble responses. Is it a more mature car - surely. Are the earlier cars more sprightly, or simply cruder and less developed? One can find in the B20 the joys of youth and growth over time.
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