Lancia D23 Spyder Pininfarina
This Lancia D23 came second in its debut race at the Gran Premio di Monza for sports cars with Felice Bonetto at the wheel.
The Lancia racing team entered five cars in the arduous Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico: two D23s, this one for Bracco and another for Castellotti, and three new D24s for Fangio, Bonetto and Taruffi. During the fourth leg Bonetto had a fatal accident and this cast a shadow over Lancia’s final ‘1-2-3’-victory. Fangio finished first, Taruffi second and Castellotti third with his D23. A broken rear wheel caused Bracco to retire from the race.
The blue colour is exceptional for an Italian racing car. It was the colour applied for this car’s 1953 debut at Monza. It is the only remaining original Lancia D23.
Gianni Lancia, Vincenzo’s ambitious son, took over the management of the company after his father’s death in 1937. Gianni believed that Lancia should prove itself in racing and set up a programme together with the designer Vittorio Jano, who was now sixty years old, coming from Alfa Romeo.
After World War II Gianni built a racer based on the new Aurelia GT, the D20 coupé. Lancia scored its first victory in the Targa Florio, but the cars failed dismally at Le Mans. Lancia decided to modify the engine and chassis of two D20s and to remove the roof, creating an open racer. This became the D23. Another two D20s were modified to D23 specification a little later, and given a De Dion rear axle, which greatly improved the handling.
Gianni Lancia’s expensive racing programme brought the company to the edge of bankruptcy.