The Lancia Aurelia B24 Convertibile is the car that alongside the Giulietta Spider best represents quintessential motoring Italy. Although it is not associated with the history of the Mille Miglia as much as other gran turismos, the Aurelia B24 represents one of the most unusual yet most Italian way of experiencing the best race in the world.
After the disappointing participation at the 1956 Mille Miglia, the B24 imposed itself during the “Red Arrow” only in 1957, thanks to the car driven by Guido Mario Terzi, who finished 19th overall and 7th in the “over 2 litre” class. It might not seem a big result, but you have to consider that the cars that finished the race before it were Ferrari 250's with 3000cc engines.
The 2541cc Lancia V6 designed by Vittorio Jano and Francesco De Virgilio was able to demonstrate its great reliability and power and the racing spirit of Lancia. 61 after those events, we followed the crew of the B24 Convertible #437 composed by Francisco López Guerra and Humberto Artigas del Olmo for the entire 2018 edition.
Although B24’s are quite a common sight at the modern Mille Miglia, it is surely an alternative way to fully enjoy this great event. A forgotten hero and a great name of Italian motoring with a beautiful heritage, return on the path of true Gentlemen Drivers of the golden era.
Starting from Brescia with the V6 eager to go and a full tank of petrol, racing in the Mille Miglia without a roof and cuddled by the refinement of a Lancia is a unique experience. Throughout the entire route there is an alternation of legendary cars: from the Ferrari 375 MM’s to the Maserati A6G’s, passing through the C Type’s and the 300SL’s that overtake each other continuously, with their sounds echoing a lost era.
From the straights between Brescia and Cervia we pass from the twisty roads of the Appennini, driving through Arezzo and descending towards Rome.
The rhythm of “pif-paf” curves and small villages increases the difficulty of the competition.
Thanks to the agility of the Aurelia, the mountain roads are the perfect hunting ground for bigger cars, exactly like 60 years ago. During the third leg, the Aurelia’s signature open-top driving experience through the hills of Siena is incredible: it is right in this moment that the will to arrive in Brescia becomes stronger.
The fourth leg is a crescendo of emotions that neither technical problems can slow down: after a quick repair to the front axle, the car is back on the road toward Milan, Monza Circuit, Bergamo and the finish line without interruptions.
Although the Mille Miglia is a race rightfully associated to the agile Italian barchettas, living it from the seat of one of the most iconic open GT's is a unique experience.
Lancia has built cars for true sporting Gentlemen: it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a 1957 B24 Convertible can provide you with such strong emotions and absolute comfort.
Jacopo Villa, contributor
Photo credits: Federico Bajetti for The Outlierman © 2018