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Aprilia Series 2 Cabriolet Type 439 by PininFarina
The Lancia Augusta was produced by Italian auto manufacturer Lancia between 1933-1936. The car was powered by a 1196 cc Lancia V4 engine.
During the 1920s, Lancia had been known as producers of sports cars and middle sized sedans: the smaller Augusta represented a departure from that tradition, and contributed to a significant growth in Lancia's unit sales during the 1930s. Nevertheless, in terms of volumes sold, the Augusta was overwhelmed by Fiat's much more aggressively priced 508 Ballila.
Lancia started its French operations on October 1, 1931. At its first factory outside of Italy, at Bonneuil-sur-Marne, Lancia built the Augusta and later Aprilia models, although named them Belna and Ardennes. Approximately 3,000 Augusta/Belna and 1,500 Aprilia/Ardennes were built.
Of the approximately 3,000 Belnas built between 1934 and 1938, 2,500 were saloons and 500 bare chassis.
Georges Paulin had invented the retractable hardtop and subsequently sold it to French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout. Carrosserie Pourtout built several models based on the French-built Lancia Belna.
Richmond’s best-known design was the March Special Tourer, which was introduced in 1934 for the Lancia Augusta chassis. At the time, the Augusta was one of the world’s most advanced automobiles, and its V-4 engine and independent front suspension, comprising concentric springs, and oil-filled shock absorbers represented the height of modern motoring. It was an obvious basis for March’s equally advanced design, which represented one of the first reaches towards streamlining by a British stylist. The rear of the body was gracefully rounded and curved, with a tonneau covering the rear seat while it was unoccupied. A large dorsal fin was also mounted in the rear deck lid, to which air was guided by long, flowing fenders. To emphasize smoothness and aerodynamics, the top was hidden from view when folded, marking one of the first uses of a disappearing soft-top for a British open car.
The March Special attracted a great deal of attention in period press. In the June 5, 1934, issue of The Motor, Tenon described the model as “a car of unusual interest…designed with a view to performance and efficiency, as well as appearance; a characteristic of March coachwork.” He returned to the subject on December 18, 1934, describing the car as “the result of an attempt to produce a really practical design for the enthusiastic owner. Lord March’s own racing experience has been drawn upon in evolving a thoroughly efficient model.”
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