Over time, one begins to recognize the different Lancia groups around the world. With luck, sometimes there is a chance to visit some, each with its own character, strengths and individuals. I first became aware of this early on: there were few Lancias in Chicago, and all wisdom was elsewhere. Parts were in Pittsburgh with Tom Sheehan, his parts manager Walt Spak, and restorer Bob Williams seemed to know just about everything. Algar, the official importer and parts supplier at the time (this was in the early 1970s) was in Philadelphia. East Coast reunions were an opportunity to meet the Lancia gurus from Boston to Virginia, including Howard Moon, Michael Miller, and Armand Giglio. A trip out west revealed another world of Lancias, with two centers in California, one around Los Angeles, the other north, around San Francisco. This all made sense, with America as a land of two coasts (with winding roads) and a large flat middle.....
Other centers became known, first was the wonderful and unusual world of English Lancias, with the Cliffes of Omicron, Nigel Trow, Ron Francis, Paul Mayo, Roland Grazebrook, Tim Burrett and others. These folks have been into Lancias for decades, and their knowledge is deep. Next found was in Italy, both more full and yet oddly more disconnected. I had spent time in the 1980s meeting Basso, Maglioli, even Carlo Chiti, but a deeper understanding of the Italian communities came while doing work on De Virgilio. There were vastly different groups, in Torino, the Veneto, and Rome, just to name a few, and they didn't really communicate with each other very much.
The Sliding Pillar Rally, held on alternating years in England and northern Europe, brings together members of the Dutch, Belgian, French, German and Scandinavian countries. Recently, its become clear that the Dutch have their own community, anchored in part by Wim oude Weernink. The German group has some clear strengths as well, but is largely unknown to me. The center for Augusta owners might well be Belgium, with some 10 or so Augustas there, due to the van Hooricks.
Lambda owners know well the Australians: some 17 Lambdas were at Castlemaine this year, and Bill Jamieson's book, Capolavoro, played a part in that. Recently, the Lambda work by Joachim Griese, Bill Jamieson, and more recently, Sebastien Simon, has effectively pulled a world-wide Lambda community together. When they started they thought perhaps there were 100 Lambdas around; now there are some 400 involved. There is a very active Lambda community in England, and they regularly trek to Fobello for their significant and sizeable reunions there (one coming up in 2021).
In the US, Fulvias are well represented by Ed Levin in Los Angeles, who promotes, defends, and explains the brand on the internet with fervor and dilligence. As Fulvias are still affordable, there is still broad hobbyist interest in them. Aurelias are more awkwardly placed - too complex, and now too expensive, for the casual hobbyist, many have found their way into serious collections but are not part of the current internet chatter. Support for Aurelias exists around the world, but is scattered: the Italian-based Registro serves largely only that community; others find support locally. The English are well served by Thornley Kelham, Omicron, and others. In the US, Aurelia knowledge is dispersed, not centralized, with California still having a reasonable support system; the east coast likely gravitates around Dominics, a shop in NYC. Recently a few have surfaced in Chicago, likely due to Giovanni D'Avola's good service and my own talking them up.
Support for other models varies whether before or after Aurelias. The Aprilia community stays in touch with each other; there's likely an Astura support group somewhere. Flaminias and Flavias can be worked on by knowledgeable garages, and parts can be found, so perhaps they have less group support than other models (although Facebook is now having marque groups with some success, to foster world-wide communication). All in all, there is a good wide base of Lancia interest and support around the world; parts come from Cavalitto in Italy or other places, but with the internet and email, communication has never been simpler.
What is missing is any central support system for these cars. I'm not sure what that means, or what it would look like - whether its based on parts, people, models, or places. I just thought it worthwhile to list a few examples of our different groupings and connection points. Comments are welcome.
PS - a friend offered the following thoughts:
"People are key, and for each car type they form a community (local or global, depending on their interest and level of faith). Consider it in terms of a religious metaphor:
Not a bad metaphor, even if terribly non-PC....