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Understanding Lancia numbering systems is a lesson in archaeology. It takes a bit of time to wrap your arms around the complications, but there is a method behind them. A brief review of four different numbering systems used at Lancia from its beginnings through the 1970s gives a sense of how the company went through different stages and reflects changes in its engineering leadership.

Lancia used engine tipo number from the very beginning, with their Alfa engine of 1907 identified as type 51. The numbers carried  through type 66 of the Dikappa of 1921. They were carried forward with the Lambda as 67, 78 and 79 for the different motors, with 68 used for the 1922 Trikappa V8.  These engine tipo numbers were used into the 1940s, with the last car motors being the Aprilia as tipo 99 and the Ardea as tipo100. The last production engine to use this numbering system was the tipo 102, the 3Ro motor from 1938.

The earliest engine tipo numbers are strangely the tipo 4 V12 from 1917, with drawings from 1915, followed by the tipo 5, a V12 from 1918. One might wonder why the V12 motors of 1917-8 had lower numbers lower than the earlier car motors. No idea.

Use of the engine tipo numbers continued into the late 1930s and early 1940s, to be used on some prototype motors which are on display in Torino:

  • 105 for two 3 cylinder truck motors (1938 and 1940)
  • 106 for 4 cylinder truck motor (1937)

The last motor known to have used this numbering system was tipo 111, the 39º V8 prototype (c. 1942), identified in De Virgilio’s notes from 1943.

The cars themselves had a different numbering system for their chassis, independent of the motor numbering. The Lambda was from car type 214 to 222A (the different numbers were used for each series), the Dilambda 227. This system extended through the 1930s as well: the s.1 Aprilia was 238, the chassis 239, and the s.2 Aprilia was 438. Acccordingly, the 1945 45º V6 replacement for the Aprilia was called the 538, its number at that time coming from the Aprilia car. This system ended with the Ardea, with the s.1 Ardea as 250, with later Ardeas  as 350, 450, 550, 650, reflecting an intent to rationalize (futile, surely!).

In 1943, the system is changed when Jano is put in charge of all the engineering; he used a new approach, with A for large cars, B mid sized, and C small, with D used later for the racing cars, and later worked to have 10 as the berlina, 20 as the coupe, etc. Car and motor numbers now to be the same, so the A10 car had an A10 motor, and De Virgilio’s work on the Aurelia was the B10 motor, and later on a C10 motor for the Appia. The s.2 Appia of the late 1950s was Lancia’s last car to use Jano’s numbering system.

In 1955, Fessia arrived and changed the numbering system again, to now start with a three digit number, beginning with 8. The Appia s.2 (introduced in 1956) was still called the C10, but drawings from early 1957 were labelled with both C10 and 808 numbers, a sign of the transition. The first new car with Fessia’s  numbering was the Flaminia (813) from 1957. His numbering was extended to the Flavia (815) and Fulvia (818), and survived long after his decease in 1968, to be used for the Stratos (829) and the Delta, Thema and Dedra into the 1990s.

Written by Geoff

February 25, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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