Jan 27, 2024
The magic of MAUTO in the virtual showroom in Roarington
Jul 19, 2023
Roarington and MAUTO together. The joy of being at the forefront of a world that did not exist
Photo credit: Mauto, Stellantis Heritage
In the rich history of motorsports, there exists no adventure as extraordinary yet brief as the one undertaken by Lancia in just three years, from 1953 to 1955.
Vincenzo Lancia, founder of the refined Italian brand, had never wanted to involve “his” Lancia in racing, despite his own earlier career as a racing driver. However, when his son Gianni assumed control of the company following his father's untimely passing, the situation changed dramatically. The post-war era had sparked a race for mass motorization, with every brand vying for their own unique space and global recognition. Motorsports proved to be an excellent method to achieve these goals.
The Lancia D24 displayed in the Mauto virtual showroom in Roarington is an exact copy of the car exhibited in the museum in Turin.
In 1953, after a preliminary experiment that transformed the beautiful Lancia Aurelia B20 into a racing model, which showcased remarkable performance at prestigious events like the Mille Miglia, the company, with the support of notable engineers such as Vittorio Jano and his closest collaborators, all employees of Lancia, presented the D20 sports car—a Berlinetta with a tubular chassis and a 1,900cc engine. This was only the first step. Before summer, they introduced the captivating D23 models – a collection of open-top sports cars with alluring Pininfarina bodywork, powered by a 3,000cc V6 engine.
However, little did anyone imagine that behind the scenes, intense work was already underway on what would become a veritable masterpiece: the D24 powered by a 3,300cc engine. To understand the reason for this herculean effort – the D24 made its debut as early as August 1953 at the Nürburgring – one must know that it was the same year the World Sports Car Championship was established, and Lancia was determined to participate.
The car on display at Mauto in Turin carries two different numbers on its sides to commemorate the D24's achievements including Carrera Panamericana and Mille Miglia.
The D24 promptly revealed its exceptional qualities, with its wheelbase shortened by 10cm, rear-mounted gearbox, a limited-slip differential for better weight distribution, and a front-mounted 3,300cc V6 engine, the car sat 10 centimetres lower than the D23, thanks to the dry sump system. Its sleek Pininfarina -designed lines exuded timeless beauty. Initially generating 245 horsepower, the engine underwent gradual enhancements based on the type of race, eventually reaching an impressive 270 horsepower by 1954.
After its debut at the Nürburgring, the D24 was prepared for the gruelling Carrera Panamericana in November 1953 – remarkably, all of this accomplished within a single year! The Carrera Panamericana was the longest and most challenging race in the world. The previous year, it had been won by Karl Kling behind the wheel of a Mercedes W 194, the precursor to the legendary 300SL, at an average speed of 165 km/h. In 1953, the D24, led by the indomitable Manuel Fangio – the very same car now housed at the National Automobile Museum in Turin – dominated the event, achieving an average speed of nearly 170 km/h.
Juan Manuel Fangio winner with the D24 in the 1953 Carrera Panamericana.
The race was dominated by Lancia finishing in the top three places overall.
The following year, the D24 triumphed in the 1000 Miglia, Targa Florio, and Giro di Sicilia. The increasing success and the talent of the Lancia engineers inspired the young leader of the company to venture into Formula 1. It was still 1953 when another winning car was created: the eight-cylinder D50. However, its victories would not not carry the Lancia name. Following the death of Alberto Ascari, Lancia’s driver and former World Champion, and aware of the financial burden that this dual presence in motorsports entailed, Gianni Lancia donated the Formula 1 team to Ferrari and left the company. It was Fangio, once again, who secured the World Championship title in 1955 with the D50, which had by then been rebranded as Ferrari, proudly sporting the Prancing Horse emblem on its flanks.
Thanks to Roarington, it is possible to discover the Lancia D24 in detail in Mauto's virtual showroom. You can even sit in the cockpit as you are driving it.
Today, the Lancia D24 that competed in the Carrera Panamericana is not only on display at the National Automobile Museum in Turin, known as Mauto, but now also in Roarington's virtual showroom, where a meticulously crafted, perfectly realistic reproduction eagerly awaits. A truly remarkable opportunity to captivate passionate enthusiasts.
Click here to visit the Mauto virtual showroom.