A Gift to the Fuhrer: Amelia Island Auctions 2017 and the 1936 Lancia Astura

To make these posts more interesting we chose a really great car that we know very well, much better than RM. Lancia has always created amazing cars from the very beginning in 1908 through modern times. Their mechanical designs have always been ahead of their time with crazy configurations such as the staggered piston V4 of the Lancia Lambda to the incredible 19 degree V8 engine in the Astura or even the incredible V6 of the Aurelia. The Astura was one of Lancia’s greatest creations, being one of the most opulent and luxurious Lancia’s ever built.


This particular Lancia, a 1936 Astura Pinin Farina cabriolet, chassis #33-5313 has a very interesting history, and a good one at that. Firstly, many people don’t know that the Asturas came in both a short and long wheelbase, this car being a short chassis version, which is a great plus to the car. The car was sent to Pinin Farina in 1936 and clothed in a body designed by Mario Revelli di Beaumont, who created a really wonderful cabriolet design, dubbed the “Tipo Bocca.” It was commissioned by a Lancia dealer in Biella who ultimately ordered a total of six Bocca cabriolets in both short and long chassis. It was then displayed on the Pinin Farina stand at the 1936 Salone del l’Automobile, Milano, where it received the President’s Cup from the Registro Ancetre Club Italia. Following the show, chassis number 33-5313 was acquired by Ghiara & C., Lancia’s main agent in Genoa. Ghiara sold the car to a Cav. Piero Sanguineti. In 1937, Sanguineti showed the car in the inaugural Concorso d’Eleganza per Automobili, San Remo, where it received a class award. The car was then purchased by Emil Uebel, Lancia’s German distributor, who apparently kept it in his main facility in Berlin-Charlottenburg. RM states that Wartime records no longer exist, but according to our sources the car did go to Germany, but this car was given to Hitler by Mussolini as a gift.


After the war and Hitler’s defeat, in early 1947 it was acquired by American collector Barney Pollard, as part of a package deal with two steam locomotives. Pollard shipped number 33-5313 to the United States and kept the car until 1980, when it was sold to Armand Giglio, former President of the American Lancia Club who lives in New York. Giglio held the car a further two decades, selling it around 2000 to Manny Dragone of Connecticut. Manny and his brother George kept this car until selling it to Orin Smith in 2011. The car was in pretty rough condition when the Dragone brothers acquired it and they had to replace all of the wood in the body as it was very weak. According to Manny, they did put all of the original aluminum skin back on the car. It was then finished by Richard Gorman of Vantage Motorworks in Miami and then shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2013. It’s a great car with a very good history and a nice restoration. It can be found here on the RM Sotheby’s website with a pre-auction estimate of $2,000,000 – $2,600,000. We feel that estimate is a bit ambitious, but it is possible. We feel this car should bring closer to the $1,500,000 mark.


Let us know what you think!

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