The Aurelia series, the fruit of the talents of the legendary engineer Vittorio Jana, made its public debut in 1951.

Introduced as a successor to the super popular but by then well dated Aprilia the Lancia Aurelia was just as dynamic, both regarding mechanical specification and looks.

During the Fifties, the Aurelia would undergo a remarkable six significant updates during the seven years that it was in production until discontinued in 1958.

All of the Aurelias had a very significant common denominator,  fitted with the world's first production V6 engine, as well as being among the first road cars equipped with radial tires as standard.

The all-alloy V6 engine, designed in secret during World War Two had its cylinder banks mounted at a 60-degree angle to each other, giving the smooth engine impeccable balance.

 Despite being fitted with a more powerful engine, the early sedan versions, which were still the most in demand,  caused considerable consternation to aficionados of the Aprilia because they were much slower than they anticipated.

The reason was that the very first series Aurelias were the B10 series, fitted with a 1754cc version of the V6 that generated an uninspiring 56 bhp.

To amend the situation, Lancia released a B21 version of the Aurelia in 1951, much the same as the B10 in appearance but with a larger 1991cc V6 engine, pushing the power up to 80 bhp.

 A few other changes were made including fitting an improved braking system as well as a number of minor styling tweaks.

The third Aurelia series appeared in 1953, with the most significant update equipped with a more substantial 2451cc version of the all-alloy V6 engine, with this format retained till the model was discontinued in 1959. 

The fifth and sixth series were more luxury-oriented,  towards the end of the Fifties and the Aurelia's GTs the car became a favourite of the rich and famous on the lookout for a vehicle that was both exclusive and ( relatively) inexpensive.

Lovers of speed, as is mostly the case,  were drawn to the two-door  Aurelia coupe, in particular, the  B20 GT version, thanks to its elegant styling by Pininfarina as much as its  149-cubic-inch (2,451-cc)

The B20 GT Coupe went on to be regarded as the world's first Gran Turismo (GT).

Pininfarina also designed the handsome B24 Spider convertible for  Lancia, released in 1955.

The first version of the low-slung GT 2500 Spider, as styled by Pinin Farina, stood out for a number of its original design features, in particular, its sharply wraparound windshield, forward-angled door windows and vent wings in small doors.

The Spider title was dropped by Lancia the following year, under the "smokescreen"  of a minor update.

 When it re-appeared the wraparound windshield had been remodelled to be last outstanding, and the vehicle marketed under the title of the GT 2500 Convertible, apparently with an eye to the US market, who had an aversion to spiders.

During its eight-year production run, several hundred chassis were produced so that Italy's leading coachbuilders could provide Aurelias to meet their customer's designs and specifications.

In 1959, the time came for the Aurelia to be phased out,  replaced by the Flaminia.   

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