Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

In the spring of 1952, at the Turin Auto Show, the Pinin Farina studio (which later became simply Pininfarina) presented a concept car based on the Lancia B52 Aurelia chassis. This roadster embodied all the modern trends in automobile style: “aero design” topped with a rounded grille in the style of the F-86 fighter jet, a heavily sloped windshield, pontoon sides and even fins on the stern, topped with as many as six exhaust pipes.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

The unique roadster was named the PF200 and was the first in a short series of similarly styled cars from Pinin Farina that were produced over the next four years. They all had a pronounced nose and the proportions of that very Torino car. According to available information, at least two more of these roofless Lancias were built, as well as three or four coupes.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

But none of the PF200s were exactly like the other, although they all shared the characteristic “nose”. Subsequent cars had fewer interesting details, the traditional under-bumper exhaust pipes (but there were also over-bumper ones, of course). Even the open cars were different: one had a clip-on roof and glass “ears” to divert airflow (as a Spyder should), while the others had the usual raised windows and folding soft roof at the back.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

The fire at the plant Pininfarina destroyed a lot of documentation, including data on the number of copies of PF200, so authentic papers of the time about the model survived very little. It is assumed that a total of eight such cars were made in coupe and roadster bodies, of which only half have survived to this day… or even less. or even less.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

The car shown in these photos is the second roadster PF200, which was exhibited at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show. It just abounds with more decorative elements than the Turin original: chrome grilles on the rear fenders, under-bar “fangs” bumpers, and the “PF200C” badge on the radiator grille, where the “C” stands for Competizione. The car has a distinctive windshield that has two tilt positions.

This same car was introduced at the 1953 Turin Auto Show. Like the other PF200s, this one was constantly being updated from interior to interior: sometimes it was small parts and sometimes a complete repaint of the body. In September 1953, the B52-1052 chassis made a splash at the Stresa International Concours d’Elegance, where it won the Grand Prix. The special winner’s seal is still on the roadster’s torpedo. By that time, the PF200 had a chrome frame around the windshield with an “overhang” above the driver – just like the race cars of the time.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

The Spyder was originally registered in Milan, but in the ’60s it went to the U.S. – an engineer from California became its owner. The car stayed on the West Coast for nearly 30 years (1968-1996) until it moved to Florida in ’96, to car collector William Borrash.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

It was Borrasch who started the restoration of the PF200 with all original parts preserved. The body was put in an acid bath to remove rust, and the suspensions were restored to pristine condition by former Lancia employees at Luciano Sanzogni. The braking system and electrics have been restored to exactly the same condition as the original.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

During the restoration, Borrasch constantly consulted with the American Lancia “community,” including Mike Christick and the late Walt Speck, who assisted in finding original parts. Since the original engine could not be restored, Mr. Speck found a block from a PF200 that once belonged to a Kjell Kvale car.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests

Pistons, rings, and gaskets were all replaced before installation in the roadster. The biggest problem was finding “short” carburetors with an offset air filter. I even had to buy the hood of the original concept car, as otherwise close the engine Aurelia was not possible – it was tight in the engine compartment. Since the car is a de-facto concept car, many parts could not be obtained – they had to be re-manufactured.

Lancia PF200: Beauty queen of the 1950s: The car that became the star of car shows and beauty contests
Restoration of the unique car lasted almost 10 years and was completed in 2013. The restored PF200 was first shown at the Concours d’Elegance of America in June of that year, where it won first prize. Then there was the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2014, again winning first prize. After installing the original windshield and a number of other small elements, the PF200 received a FIVA passport confirming the car’s historical value and authenticity.

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