1951 – The first important victory for a Lancia Aurelia B20 GT
This year, the 29th issue of the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti celebrated the 1951
Lancia Aurelia B20 GT victory with no less than 14 Aurelias taking part to relive the
Coppa d’Oro’s former glory.
In 1951, Enrico Anselmi drove his B20 to victory at one of the most prestigious Italian
road races in the 50’s – the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti – just 2 minutes and 23
seconds ahead of Umberto Castiglione in… another Lancia Aurelia B20 GT. Giulio
Cabianca in an O.S.C.A. MT-4-1100 (chassis 1114) prevented a 1-2-3 victory for
Lancia, placed 3rd 1 minute, 6 seconds ahead of Salvatore Ammendola’s B20 GT.
What was so special about the B20 ?
The Lancia Aurelia Gran Turismo – 50 years of success
The Lancia Aurelia debuted at Turin in 1950 and was kept in production for 8 years
with more than 18,000 cars produced in total. It was the first automobile moved by a
V6 engine, developed by Francesco de Virgilio under the direction of Vittorio Jano of
pre-war Alfa fame. Characteristics of this completely new engine were the alloy head
and block, the distribution with overhead valves, the cast-iron cylinder bore cooled
from the liquid and the camshaft chain hydraulic driver, pushed from the oil pressure.
Lancia produced the B20 in a lot of different versions, beginning in 1951 with the
series 1 B20 GT with 75hp at 4500rpm from 1991ccm and ending with the series 6
B20 GT 2500 in 1953 with 118hp at 5300rpm from 2451ccm.
With marvellous road manners and the Aurelia’s tendency toward oversteering it was
the preferred choice of race aces such like Juan Manuel Fangio and Mike Hawthorn.
All significant rally victories were achieved with the early 2-liter cars due to less
weight compared by later series of the Aurelia.
The saga of the unbeatable Aurelia began when Giovanni Bracco and Umberto
Magioli drove a near-standard B20 Coupe in the 1951 Mille Miglia to a second place
overall, beaten only by Gigi Villoresi in a 4.1 liter Ferrari 340 America and it continued
with the victory described above at the 1951 Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti !
And not to forget the fantastic class win at Le Mans 1951 for Giovanni Lurani and
Giovanni Bracco in a B20.
A perfect car to drive to work weekdays and to win races at the weekend, the shape of
this all-time great can only be described as wonderful with its soft, organic curves
designed originally by Felice Mario Boano of Carrozzeria Ghia. The design layout
later was refined by Pinin Farina to satisfy numerous requests of the market.
The Coppa d’Oro today
Held for regularity all competitors this year had to cope with 10 passes up and down
the narrow Dolomite roads and through wonderful valleys. The main lap on Saturday
started in Cortina from the Stadio del Ghiaccio through the following localities:
Passo Pocol, Passo Falzarego, Andraz, Digonera, Rocca Pietore, Serrai di
Sottoguda, Malga Ciapela, Caprile, Alleghe, Taibon, Agordino, Frassené, Forcella
Aurine, Gosaldo, Passo Cereda, Primiero, San Martino di Castrozza, Passo Rolle,
Passo Valles, Falcade, Caviola, San Tomaso Agordino, Alleghe, Selva di Cadore,
Forcella Staulanza, Pecol, Col Santa Fosca, Passo Giau, Pecol, Cortina.
On Sunday the race was much shorter up the Passo Tre Croci to Misurina down to
Dobbiacco and ended at the Hotel Montecroce where the final lunch and prize giving
Fine wines offered from the sponsor ”Bosco del Merlo” together with wonderful
Italian food-specialities gave this event a special note as well. Alvaro Schiavon and
with him all the organisers of the Coppa d’Oro created an unique atmosphere of
harmony and friendship. We all felt like being part of one big family.
Dreams can come true - Co-piloting a Ferrari 212 Export Touring barchetta
While watching a Ferrari Touring barchetta in events such like the Mille Miglia I often
wished to have the chance to sit in such a time-machine only once in my life. And
now, Inge and Harald Mergard offered me this unique opportunity for the Coppa
d’Oro 2001 ! Unbelievable. A dream came true…
With Oke Moebus at the wheel and by my side, an ex-rally driver in Germany mainly
on Alfa and Porsche, we could place ”our” Ferrari third behind Klaus Busch’s 166 MM
Touring barchetta and a Healey Silverstone. Perfectly restored and maintained by DK
Engineering our car, a Ferrari 212 Export Touring barchetta s/n 0084E to be exact,
just ran great without any problems.
I know that I’m subjective now but for me it was and is the most beautiful car on earth
! Who needs other cars when you can own and drive this beauty ? I already fell in love
when I heard its sound for the first time and I even fell asleep in the night still hearing
Words can not describe my feelings waiting for the start with the stop watch in the
one hand and the road book in the other and when Oke put his foot down the pedal
roaring through Cortina. At the end I was speechless. I couldn’t count all the
serpentines in which we drove sideways, I wasn’t able to pick up all these
fascinating impressions in my mind and I do not know to how many spectators I
waved my arms but anyway: A perfect weekend, a perfect world…..
The two rarest cars of the weekend – the Aston Martin DB 3S Coupe s/n 120 and
the Fiat 8V Vignale
Have you ever seen an Aston Martin DB 3S Coupe ? No ? It will be forgiven, only two
of these special Coupes exist today, a black one – chassis 119 – owned by Simon
Draper and this car – chassis 120. Jeremy Cottingham from DK Engineering
explained to me that this DB 3S is the only one still wearing the original Coupe
bodywork. The current owner bought it just weeks ago from Japan, where it resided
the last few years.
Only 11 Fiat 8V Vignale were produced, each with unique bodywork. Mr. Costa
showed up with the very first example – chassis 000046 – built by Vignale.
Conceived for street use unlike the ones bodied by Zagato or Touring, under its
bonnet lies the same small displacement Fiat overhead-valve V-8 engine of only
1,996cc producing 110hp at 6,000 rpm. Fed by a pair of Weber 36 DCF 3 side-draft
carburetors, these compact sports racers had an excellent power-to-weight ratio.
And when combined with its good road holding characteristics, the Fiat 8V scored
numerous victories, including the Italian Sports Car Championship in 1956.