In the Late 1950s, This Was the Car to Show Up In

As long as you lived on the sunny side of Europe.

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YouTubeJay Leno's Garage

Forget Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Daimler, Jaguar or Bristol. British luxury cars never possessed the finesse and refinement that Lancia had to offer. And while the company has always struggled to find buyers for its expensive, vastly over-engineered merchandise, discovering an all original Appia Lusso today can mean an unexpected bargain.

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Named after a Roman road, Lancia introduced the Appia in 1953. The car went through two facelifts during its decade-long production run, even spawning commercial van and light pickup truck versions. In total, 98,000 sedans and 3863 commercial vehicles were built, while Lancia also sent 5161 chassis to various coachbuilders. One of whom was Giovanni Michelotti at Vignale.

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FlickrAlden Jewell

Michelotti designed both the convertible and the top-of-the-line Lusso two-door sedan. This Lusso visiting Jay Leno's Garage is from 1960, meaning it's a Series 3 with more power and a Duplex dual hydraulic braking system. At a little over 10°, Lancia's V4 engine was the narrowest of its kind, featuring dual in-block camshafts, an aluminum head and a sand-cast Weber carburetor.

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Since less than 500 were built, finding one of these in a Torino garage today is a real pleasant surprise, especially when the car in question is all original. With a total of 68,000 miles and no structural rust in sight, this two-door is just as special today as it was leaving the gates of Vignale in 1960.

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