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How much did Lancias cost? One part of that question is how much did it cost then vs. now. However, back then, it also depended on where you bought the car. The prices varied a great deal by country. For example, a B10 bought in Italy in 1951 cost $2,928, but was 35% more if bought in Switzerland.

The first place to  start is Rosani’s article in “Storia della Lancia”, where prices are listed for all the models in Italy, from that time and 1991 equivalents.  Jean-Pierre Baumgartner has also provided prices from Lancia if purchased in Switzerland in 1952. These are summarized in the first table below. To facilitate comparisons, the Italian and Swiss prices are then converted to US$ in the second table.

A few interesting facts emerge. For example,

–     a B21 was 15% more expensive than a B10 in Italy.

–     a B20 was about 50% more than a B10 in Italy.

–     a s.2 B20 cost  about $4,600 in Italy, but $ 7,209 in Switzerland (1952).

–     a B24 Spider cost $5,325 (1955) in the US and $6,900 in Switzerland.

–     B20 prices in the US varied. The s.4 was $6,175 in 1955 by Inskip and in 1958, it was listed at $5,830 by Hoffman, which was about $1,200 more than in Italy.

1.  here are the Italian prices along with Swiss prices:

                             1950’s  Lira            1991 Lira               1952 Swiss Fr.

B10    1951               1,830,000            36,253,000                 18,150

B21    1951               2,305,000            41,621,000                 22,600

B20 (1) 1951            2,870,000            51,823,000

B20 (2) 1952                                                                           31,000

B20 (5) 1956            2,922,000            43,565,000

B24 (4) 1955            2,822,000                                               29,500

Alfa 2500 SS 1952                                                                  43,700

Ferrari 212 Inter                                                                     48,000

2.    Next, the same information (1950s prices) but in US$ equivalents (early prices from a Lancia letter from 1952. Later prices by importer ads, as noted):

                                   Italy                    US              Switzerland

B10    1951              $2,928               $3,305              $4,220

B21    1951              $3,688               $3,727              $5,255

B20 (1) 1951            $4,592

B20 (2) 1952                                       $4,645              $7,209

B20 (4) 1955            $4,675                $6,175*

B20 (5) 1956                                        $5,830**

B24 (4) 1955                                        $5,325***         $6,900

Alfa 2500 SS 1952                                                       $10,162

Ferrari 212 Inter                                                           $11,162


* from a 1955 Inskip price list

** from a 1958 ad by Hoffman

*** from a 1955 Inskip advert

The US prices were pretty close to the prices in Italy. A Swiss customer paid quite a bit more. A B20 in Italy might cost $ 4,645, but if bought across the border in Switzerland, would cost $7,209. By  comparison, an Alfa 2500 SS  cost over $10,000 and a Ferrari 212 was over $11,000.

A B24 Spider would cost $6,900 in Switzerland, however that same Spider was advertised in 1955 by Inskip in the US for $ 5,325.

By 1958 prices had changed in the US – the coupe and the B24 convertible were being officially imported by Hoffman, and were listed for $5,830.

One other thing that is (to me) very interesting. The list price of a B20 didn’t change very much in Italy during the 1950’s. The first series was listed at 2,870,000 lira, the fourth series at 2,822,000 (per Lancia PR material in my collection), and the fifth  at 2,922,000.

But if one looks at the prices in 1991 equivalents, a very different story emerges: Rosani notes that the first series is (in 1991) priced at 51,823,000 lira, and the fifth series is 43,565,000 lira. This corresponds to about an 18% drop in price due simply to depreciation of the Italian lira. Did this matter? It is hard to know for sure. Perhaps the cost of labor and goods in Italy in the 1950’s did not reflect this so quickly. Nevertheless, this is a pretty large devaluation, and may have had some impact on Lancia’s fiscal health.


Written by Geoff

March 26, 2006 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Aurelia

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