HomeGarage‘Beyond repair’ Lancia resurrected and will race again

‘Beyond repair’ Lancia resurrected and will race again


Found in a condition “that most would class as beyond reasonable repair” didn’t stop British restoration shop Thornley Kelham from restoring a 1953 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Series 3 rally car that has been accepted as an entry in the Mille Miglia historic rally.

“The previously decaying classic has been taken from an almost unsalvageable restoration condition to factory fresh over a two-and-a-half-year period and has now been accepted into arguably the most prestigious classic car rally of all – the Mille Miglia,” the restoration shop said in its announcement.

Now ready for the Mille Miglia

The car was found in the United States “with a staggering amount of rust plaguing the car,” Thornley Kelham said. “The usual rust points of these vehicles — namely floor pans, sills and door bottoms – had been totally ravaged by years left exposed to the elements. 

“So severe was the problem that even the top of the wings (fenders) had rusted through, the transmission tunnel had completely eroded, and the body required strengthening prior to being media blasted as the car had so little structural integrity.”

Despite the vehicle’s condition, the restoration shop’s customer with possession of the car “was determined to see the Aurelia resurrected and (to) play his part in saving this rare car. 

… and now

“The tired body was fully restored, in many cases by fabricating entirely new panels. A considerable portion of the lower body had to be fabricated whilst maintaining factory curvatures and shut lines, amongst myriad other repairs before moving onto Thornley Kelham’s paint shop to be prepared and painted in the original beige color, as per the factory build sheet.”

The shop also had to fabricate Rally De Corsa-style seats and did period-comment upgrades with a Nardi floor shifter, hood scoop and twin carburetors, as well as Borrani “bi-metallic” wheels.

“Once completed, the owner’s maiden journey in the resurrected Aurelia was a 500-mile weekend of fault-free driving,” the shop noted.

The historic Mille Miglia is scheduled for May 15-18.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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