Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
A brilliant looking car built in very small numbers by Lancia
was the Flaminia convertible. Launched in 1958
, the Flaminia featured a 2458cc V6 engine that developed a healthy 140 bhp. The Flaminia (which replaced the Aurelia) was specially developed as a six-seater for the wealthy. As such, it was one of the most expensive Italian cars then available, and was therefore much favoured by politicians and film stars.
The Flaminia's chassis was a development of the Aurelia's, but was significantly upgraded. Most importantly, the front suspension
was independent, with double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and an anti-roll bar
. The rear suspension
retained the De Dion setup, with a transaxle mounted at the rear as in the Aurelia. In the beginning, the Flaminia came with drum brakes, but discs were substituted after the initial 500 or so cars were built.
The body was developed by Pininfarina
and previewed by the Aurelia-based Florida prototypes. While the Florida I, presented at the 1956
Turin Motor show, was a sedan with suicide doors, the Florida II, presented a year later at the Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva, was a coupé, and became Battista Pininfarina's personal car of choice. The final production Lancia Flaminia was also shown in 1957
Berline was the name given by Lancia
to the sedan version (Berline means a four-door body literally). Designed by Pininfarina
and being based on the Florida I prototype, the body was hand-built by Lancia, as the only one for Flaminia. This was also the only body to last through the entire production period. There were 3,344 Berlinas built with the 2.5 Litre engine (102/110 bhp specification), and additional 599 with the 2.8 Litre (128 bhp). They were assembled at Lancia's old facility at Borgo Sao Paolo as the last model to be built there. The very first series had double windscreens on the rear window (2 outside, 2 inside). These were deleted on the latter versions.
The Coupé was also penned by Pininfarina
, and built by the coachbuilder. It was very similar to the Florida II prototype
with a 2+2 layout and had a shortened wheelbase, as all 2-door versions. The Coupé has a front nearly identical to the Berlina, but the headlight frames are completely round, whereas they point slightly upwards in the sedan. 5,236 Coupés (4,151 with the 2.5, 1,085 with the 2.8) were built until 1967.
GT, GTL and Covertibile
Carrozzeria Touring designed and built those two-door versions, which can be easily distinguished by their four round headlights (rather than two on Pininfarina
Flaminias), and a shorter cabin - the wheelbase was decreased significantly for the GT and Convertibile, allowing for only two seats to be mounted. The GT was a coupé, while the Convertibile was obviously a cabriolet version (with optional hardtop). The GTL, introduced in 1962, was a 2+2 version of the GT with a slightly longer wheelbase. The Convertibile was in production until 1964, with 847 made in total (180 with the 2.8), while the GT and GTL lasted until 1965, with 1718 GTs and 300 GTLs made (out of which, 168 GTs and only 3 GTLs with the 2.8).
Sport and Super Sport
The Sport was built by Zagato, and was also a two-seater. It used the same shorter wheelbase chassis as the GT, and had a very distinctive rounded aluminium body. The Super Sport replaced the Sport in 1964, with the introduction of the 2.8 L 152 bhp engine. The Zagatos had the famous pop-out handles. The first Sports had flush covered headlights, later changed to more classic round ones. The Super Sport also saw some changes - the rear was updated to a Kammback, while the front was made more aerodynamic
with distinctive tear-shape headlight casings. Until 1967, 593 Sports and Super Sports were built (99 Preseries, 344 Sports, 150 Supersports).
When in 1960 Queen Elizabeth II announced her visit to Italy, President Gronchi commissioned Pininfarina
to deliver four stretched Lancia Flaminia limousines to appropriately service the visit (and also renew the dated presidential fleet). The cars were built in a record time of 6 months to a detailed specification, with the assistance of General Motors
with regard to various electric extras. They were seven-seater landaulets, painted dark blue, with black Connolly leather
upholstery, Voxon radio and Pirelli tyres.
This model was officially called 335 (due to its 335 cm wheelbase), and was also referred to as Presidenziale or Quirinale (after Quirinal Palace, the residence of the President of the Italian Republic). Individual cars were called Belsito, Belmonte, Belvedere and Belfiore. President Ciampi donated one of them to the Museo dell'automobile in Turin, and kept the other three in occasional use. There were rumours of a fifth 335 being donated to the Queen, but this seems unsubstantiated.
The Flaminia was one of the more exclusive and prestigious vehicles in its time, which is why it was often the vehicle of choice of the rich and famous. Among them were famous actors Marcello Mastroianni, Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn (who had a dark blue Berlina, which she used from 1967 to 1975 when living in Switzerland). Prince Aly Khan had a fatal accident in his Flaminia Touring near Bois de Boulogne. Ernest Hemingway and even the Holy See are also listed among Flaminia owners.
Despite the fact that the coupe version was even more expensive than the convertible, it proved to be a best seller. Unfortunatey only 847 of the convertible model were manufactured. Still, both the sedan and coupe enjoyed healthy sales, and the manufactured grand total for all models was 12,633.