Lancia Flaminia Berlina
Two weeks ago, our featured Gear Head story was the Pininfarina-designed Lancia Florida show car. A reader from Canada, using the handle “8E45E*“, asked how I could write about the Florida and not mention its offspring, the Flaminia. Good question! The simple answer is that I am something of a “newbie” to Lancias and didn’t know that the Flaminia was the production version of the Florida show car. The other flaw, if you wish to view it as such, in the original post is that it didn’t show the Florida II which is even closer in some respects to the production car than the original in that it corrected the design flaw of the Florida I – the awkward headlight design. Welcome to the world of Lancias – some of the best engineered and most under-appreciated cars in the world.
* “8E45E” – Studebaker fans will recognize that “handle” as being the model number of a Studebaker truck. This always knowledgeable reader also frequents the Studebaker Drivers Club forum.
Above: production Lancia Flaminia Berlina; Below: Lancia Florida show car.
Compare the headlamp treatment of the Florida II show car (below) with that of the original Florida – much improved.
It is unfortunate that Lancia cars are not well-known in the U.S. (It appears to me that Lancia is better known and enjoyed a larger market share in Canada.) Lancias haven’t been imported for many years and, when they were imported, their numbers were small. Despite that, Gear Heads who know the marque are passionate about it. Lancia has offered some of the best engineered and best handling cars the world has ever seen.
The company was founded in Torino in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia and his friend Claudio Fogolin. Both were drivers racing a Fiat. Vincenzo died of a heart attack in 1937. His wife, Adele Miglietti Lancia, and his son, Gianni Lancia, took control of the firm. They convinced Vittorio Jano join the Lancia as an engineer. Gano already made a name for himself by building Alfa-Romeo 1750 Sport, Alfa-Romeo 6C 2300, 2900, Alfa-Romeo P2 and Alfa-Romeo P3, some of the most successful racing cars of the time. From its inception, the Lancia organization has built very well-engineered cars that offer brilliant performance.
The Florida show car was based on the production Aurelia. Lancia introduced the world to the concept of a V-6 engine with the Aurelia. The Florida and Florida II show cars are powered by the Aurelia V-6 and it was this engine that was fitted to the production Flaminias. The transmission was a four speed gearbox in a transaxle configuration for better weight distribution.
Lancia’s Flaminia series was introduced in 1957. It was offered as a Berlina (sedan) and as a coupe and cabriolet. The Berlina closely follows the design theme of the Florida I show car but incorporating the much-improved front end design of the Florida II coupé. Lancia built the bodies of the Berlina.
It was Lancia’s flagship model at that time. The Berlina version of the car was was the only body to last through the entire production period which ran through the 1970 model year.
The Flaminia Berlina was also the only body to be built by Lancia themselves. The Flaminia coupé and convertible variants were coachbuilt cars with bodies from several prestigious Italian coachbuilders such as Pininfarina (Flaminia Coupé), Touring (GT, GTL and Convertible) and Zagato (Sport and Super Sport).