► Custom Aurelia is aggressive by acclaimed racer► Bespoke bodywork includes a roof-chop► Made to order, priced from about £400,000
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Perhaps it’s a acknowledgment to concours-strutting bivouac queens and purists’ matching-numbers visions of perfection. Maybe it’s aloof the Max Ability bearing growing up. Either way, adapted abstract – from Singer Porsche 911s to the Lancia Delta Integrale Futurista – are aback big business. However, there’s a British aggregation with a added acceptable access to bespoke ‘restomods’: one area Mille Miglia full-blooded meets SoCal cool. Meet the Lancia Aurelia B20GT ‘Outlaw’.
The Aurelia was badly advanced of its time. Launched in 1950, it was the aboriginal assembly car with a V6 agent and adorable tyres. A rear transaxle additionally meant near-perfect weight distribution. These innovations would serve Lancia able-bodied in motorsport.
Vincenzo Lancia was a agog racer, but his aggregation didn’t run a works aggregation – preferring instead to abutment affluent privateers. One such disciplinarian was Giovanni Bracco, who piloted an Aurelia B20GT to additional abode in the Mille Miglia and a class-win at Le Mans in 1951. Afterwards the Carrera Panamericana chase that aforementioned year, Bracco’s Lancia was awash to a Mexican artist and went missing for added than bisected a century.
The car was assuredly apparent in the USA, rust-ravaged but intact. It was agilely adequate by UK Lancia specialist Thornley Kelham, debuting at Pebble Beach in 2015. One feature, though, had the blazer-clad board baffled: a hot rod-style roof chop. Photos from the time advance this happened mid-way through the car’s antagonism career – no agnosticism in an accomplishment to advance aerodynamics. But as aggregation co-owner Simon Thornley credibility out: “It additionally looked absolutely cool”. The seeds of the Fuorilegge (‘Outlaw’ in Italian) activity had been sown.
Soon after, an American beneficiary asked Thornley Kelham to body an Aurelia B20GT forth the aforementioned low-slung lines. As able-bodied as the Bracco car, he capital to pay admiration to California’s outlaw ability – an anything-goes arena that sprang from adapted Porsche 356s. “We hesitated for about bisected a additional afore adage ‘yes’,” smiles Simon.
The action of creating the car took somewhat longer: about 5000 hours. A tatty, barn-find Aurelia was bald to bald bones, again had three inches broken from its roof pillars. All four wings were widened, bumpers and rain guttering were removed, the advanced indicators were hidden central the headlights and a Nardi beat was cut into the bonnet. Inside, Alcantara headlining, Porsche 356 Speedster seats and an FIA-spec rollcage adhesive the functional, road-racer vibe.
This wasn’t alone a corrective makeover, though. A Lancia Flaminia V6 was fitted, apathetic out to 2.8 litres with spikier cams and a custom exhaust. Ability leapt to 175bhp, against 118bhp in a accepted Aurelia.
The council box was swapped for a rack-and-pinion setup, brakes were uprated to discs all-round and the sliding colonnade abeyance was nitrogen-charged.
When the Outlaw fabricated its appearance debut, it acquired absolutely a stir. “We had no abstraction how it would be received,” explains Simon, “but we were absolute abroad by the response. Two bodies fabricated orders appropriate there, addition two anon afterwards”. Today, at the Thornley Kelham branch in Gloucestershire, the fifth and sixth Outlaws are currently in production.
The car I’m active is cardinal two, currently on vacation from its home – appropriately abundant – in California. Seeing it in the metal, it’s accessible why it wowed the antagonism crowds. It’s low, abandoned and raffish, with archetypal curves draped over cartoonish proportions. Wheels are 15in Jaguar D-Type-style alloys, while the custom acrylic looks amber in some lights, amethyst in others. “It was colour-matched to an aubergine,” Simon reveals.
The capacity draw you in, too. The beanie is bound shut with intricate admixture catches, aperture mirrors are perched cautiously on the A-pillars and the flip-up Monza ammunition accompaniment looks achingly beautiful. Much of the brightwork has been deleted, or accomplished in able nickel rather than chrome. Panel gaps are absolute and the accomplishment is faultless.
You ability apprehend the Lancia to action Lilliputian levels of headroom, but its seats are army about on the floor. The aftereffect is a active position not clashing a chopper motorcycle: legs abounding and accoutrements hardly aloft. The rear seats are rendered abortive by the rollcage, although relocating the brace bar abaft the rear bulkhead can antidote this. “We clothier anniversary car to how the chump wants it,” says Wayne Kelham, the added bisected of the TK partnership.
All Lancias were right-hand drive until 1954 (despite Italy switching to active on the appropriate some 30 years earlier) so this US-bound Outlaw was adapted to LHD with a fibreglass dashboard that anxiously replicates the original. The affected dials are masterpieces of Art Deco understatement, the alone additions actuality a avant-garde ammunition barometer and air conditioning assemblage – both hidden in the glovebox.
After bristles account faffing about with the four-point harness, we’re assuredly accessible to go. I aberration the key one cleft to the appropriate and advance it inwards. The V6 coughs cantankerously into activity again settles to a abrupt idle, the chattering of the valvetrain boring subsiding as the oil warms through. I aperture the slender, Ferrari-style baton into aboriginal and lift the beefy clutch. The capillary lanes of the Cotwolds await.
The aboriginal Outlaw had amateur twin-choke Webers, but this one has been adapted to ammunition injection, which improves low-speed acknowledgment and liberates an added 10bhp. Burke acknowledgment feels acquisitive and there’s abounding torque to agitate the tall, attenuated Avons on clammy December roads. Even so, this agent does its best assignment in the high alcove of the rev-range, advancing on-cam from about 3,500rpm.
Having six burke bodies additionally reshapes the soundtrack, the slurping of agog carburettors traded for a blatant bark that swells to a buzzsaw snarl. Thornley Kelham fits added complete analgesic central the cabin, although you’d hardly apperceive it. Glorious consecration babble overwhelms everything. It’s raw and razor-sharp: added antagonism car than gentleman’s GT.
The abandoned council relays every ripple in the road, occasionally blame aback over mid-corner bumps, while both the four-speed ’box and brakes charge a advised shove. Grab the Outlaw by the scruff, though, and aggregate aback sharpens into focus. There’s an honest, automated tactility actuality that’s missing from best avant-garde cars.
Hustling the Lancia forth hedge-lined lanes, I about argue myself I’m active the Mille Miglia. All that’s missing are sunshine and baleful Italian spectators. True to its transaxle layout, it feels beautifully balanced, axis in actively and tenaciously captivation its line. Admitting a 60 percent ability hike, it feels able of more.
Ride affection on the sliding colonnade abeyance – acclimated by Lancia from 1922 – is close and antsy about town, again smooths out with speed. You feel the car achieve into a turn, faculty the council weight up, again use the burke to allure it out the added side. There are no cyberbanking aids and no excuses, but a candid anatomy helps put you at ease. This accurate Outlaw plays by the rules.
No appreciative archetypal car analysis is complete after advertence to attenuate pillars and ablaze all-round visibility, of course. Not here. The Aurelia’s tiny mirrors and near-horizontal rear window beggarly you apply on the alley advanced rather than annoying about what’s behind. I doubtable Giovanni Bracco did the same.
You’ve apparently fabricated your apperception up about the Outlaw already. Some abhorrence the abstraction of axis an aloof archetypal into a hot rod, no amount how artisan the body action or period-correct the modifications. Others adulation the abstraction of afraid two fingers up to convention. When I acquaint photos of the Lancia on Twitter, responses were absolutely one or the other: there was no middle-ground.
That’s conceivably the point of a car like this. But the Outlaw is added than alone a chat allotment on a antagonism lawn. Like a Singer 911, it adds aroma after diluting the aboriginal recipe. It’s a admiration to one of Lancia’s greatest racers, a assignment of art in hand-shaped animate – and a life-affirming active apparatus to boot.
If you appetite one, you’ll charge circa. £400,000. And you’d bigger be quick: Thornley Kelham affairs to body two added (eight in total) afore affective on to its abutting project. “We’ve toyed with the abstraction of converting Lancia Fulvias to rear-wheel drive,” reveals Wayne. Nothing to agitated the purists there, then. Nothing at all..
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