1961 Lancia Appia GTE
1961 Lancia Appia Zagato GTE
Introduced in 1953 as a replacement for the Ardea, Lancia built over 100,000 Appias in total. All used the ultra-compact 1090cc, 10-degree V4 engine which originally produced a mighty 38bhp (this one has 60!). Despite the numbers you’ll rarely encounter one these days and none as special as this.
In 1956 Lancia made a chassis available to coachbuilders. Allemano, Ghia, Vignale and Pinin Farina were among those who had a dabble, but it was Zagato, treading its own idiosyncratic path as usual, which really defined the sporting Appia.
The coupé was the first Zagato-bodied Lancia to go into limited series production and was the genesis of a fruitful collaboration for both companies. Zagato produced three basic versions over the next six years: GT (or GTS, or GTZ…), GTE and Sport.
At the Turin Show of 1958, the GTE (‘E’ for esportazione, or export) emerged, its longer front overhang accommodating recessed and faired-in headlights and for 1960, a power hike from 53 to 60bhp was celebrated by yet another headlight configuration (still recessed, but without fairings) plus the addition of front-wing indicator repeaters and side- window wind deflectors.
All the versions shared the same basic construction and engineering Under the aluminium outer skin lurks a strong steel structure, which is nonetheless quite light. The package is also highly efficient aerodynamically, Zagato successfully adhering to the usual Lancia recipe – ‘efficiency, precision and balance rather than brute-force horsepower’.
This is demonstrated well by the cars’ competition record. On his way to an 1100cc class win on the 14 Mille Miglia, Luciano Mantovani set some average speeds that all but matched far more powerful opponents from Maranello and Stuttgart; and Zagato Appias cleaned up in the 1100ce class of the Italian Championship from 1959 to ’61 – driven, that final year by Cesare Florio.
This Lancia Appia GTE, Chassis No. 4557 was manufactured in December 1960 and exported to the USA in January 1961, courtesy of Hoffman Motors of New York. Throughout the 60s, it competed in various Sports Car Club of America events before arriving in the UK, in 2000.
The full body and interior restoration by TT Workshops Ltd of Westbury took place between 2001 and 2003. The interior was re-trimmed at the same time by TA & JM Coburn of Swindon.
In 2006 the car underwent a full mechanical overhaul including the engine and gearbox and was subsequently purchased by the current owner in 2019 who carefully restored key components which included fitting correct rubber matting, an original 1961 Appia Zagato Nardi steering wheel and significant mechanical recommissioning/service work (all carried out by Bell Sport & Classic).
The car is currently fitted with a very rare five speed (Jolly conversion) gearbox which was a common modification by owners who raced Zagato’s in period but comes with its original 4 speed gearbox.
What’s it like to drive?
Precision is the word that really says it all. The steering has little or no free play or castor action, and the gearchange, with its tiny electric-switch-like movements across the gate feels watchmaker finessed. All cars should be like this.
The pedals are nicely weighted, cornering is precise – neutral, poised and beautifully balanced. There’s plenty of grip and only a hooligan would get this car out of shape. The engine, which has the 8 port Sport head has a lovely, urgent note and taut feel to equally happy climbing the rev range as it is wafting lazily.
And that, of course, is the everlasting paradox of these classic Lancias, Rorty-snorty, ground shaking stuff is essentially alien to their refined characters. And yet they could do it so well when asked and bring home the tinware with the best of them. Which is why they are now becoming highly valued, and collectable like never before. And none more so than Zagato’s Appias
Engine: 1090cc, 10° ohv V4
Power: 60bhp @ 5400rpm
Torque: 63lb ft @ 4400rpm
Top speed: 100mph
The car is registered and verified by the Centro Archive Storico – the production date was 3rd January 1961 and the engine and four speed gearbox are original giving a fully matching numbers car.
Please contact our sales team for further details.