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In late July, I was able to find a spare week and to focus on the restoration. It was off to Europe in search of parts.

First, arrrival into Zurich from Chicago – using mileage, the trip was cheap and very direct. Rent-a-car with GPS made navigation to Como area very simple.

Staying overnight by the lake allowed for the early morning run along this magnificent lake, followed by some visits to local Aurelia shops, where cars in restoration were seen and information exchanged.

The next day was spent gathering parts and working with Cavalitto in Turin. Enrico there is a very thoughtful man, and he has a very careful way of working. First, he starts with the s. 1 parts book, then cross references parts back to the B12 parts book to get the later Lancia part numbers (they changed c. 1954-55). Then he goes to his computer to check inventory and location. Get the part, put it in the bag, label the bag, staple it. Next item? And of course in Italy, interruptions seem to happen all the time…. So my offers of coffee, biscuits, humor, assistance were gently turned aside while they focused on the work. After a while I was able to assist this process and put the labels on the bags. Anything to help!

I was able to meet with Guido Rosani who was generous enough to show his projects, and he was kind enough to share xeroxes of some early de Virgilio sketches. Questions about Aurelia cams have been more clealry resolved and further enhanced – after looking at de Virgilio’s early original hand sketches, his use of geometry and calculation is very clear. More on that later. Needless to say, access to this information is pretty exciting. 

Parts were found for a friend here as well, and his Appia differential was packed with my parts into the two boxes, now weighing about 60 lbs, and put into the car, for the trip up to Switzerland.

There I was able to spend time with a B50 up close, and visit an Aprilia cabriolet, Motom motorcycle, and even a Lambda.

As an architect, it was quite interesting to see the new Swiss architecture, and Basel was quite fascinating. On the Swiss national holiday in early August, it was quite easy to go from site to site and see the buildings without traffic or difficulty. And of course, there was the visit to the lovely s. 2 B20 just outside Basel, with the color scheme of light tan and light brown cloth. Carefully documented, it will now serve as a baseline for our restoration here. 

There was the brief conversation with a mechanic in Basel who started working at Lancia in 1951, and did his schooling and training there. Now 73, he still works on particular cars, one at a time, at a small Lancia concessionaire in the area.

Upon returning home, the head was spinning with having seen so much in a few days, and having met some wonderful folks and seeing these cars in their context. The hills of Switzerland and Italy are great places for these cars, and those people who can tumble out of their house and go for a mountain drive are lucky to say the least.

Thanks to this Lancia community for such hospitality and graciousness. 

Written by Geoff

August 20, 2006 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Aurelia

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