Lancia Lambda – 1922

Jump into a major technical milestone (though it may simply seem like a fabulous 1920s sports car) and enjoy a road-hugging drive. In fact, the Lancia Lambda introduced the monocoque technique later put into mass production by Citroen… and now the cornerstone of modern car construction.

Other innovations like independent suspension, brakes on all four wheels and a narrow V4 engine made for a sensational debut at the 1922 Paris Motor Show. The Lambda, with its torpedo body, open top and sweeping mudguards, was immediately recognized as something new and different.

It also proved to be a nippy race car, popular with privateers and capable of a 1-2-3 finish in Italy’s famous Mille Miglia open road race – generating valuable publicity in the process, especially as MM race cars were little more than regular passenger vehicles with tuned engines. Race pedigree was appreciated by regular buyers, who liked the powerful engine and great roadholding. This was very much a driver’s car that did not aspire to luxury status.

A product of Vincenzo Lancia’s engineering genius, the Lambda would go through a decade of further refinement and nine separate series, with nearly 13,000 produced before production ceased. Engine size increased over time and three gears changed to four but the most significant development was the decision to offer a separate chassis option, as the unitary body did not take kindly to modification and the increasing numbers of affluent buyers tended to demand exotic bodies built to their personal requirements by external coachbuilders.

This move led to an increase in the variety of bodies found on surviving Lambdas, notably a late sedan option. Going with the flow, the factory introduced its own luxury model, the sumptuous V8 Dilambda, and sold the Series Nine Lambda as a rolling chassis.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Italy

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1922 (until 1931)

ENGINE:

2,119 CC, 2,370 CC or 2,568 CC V4

 PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of up to 78 mph (125 km/h) depending on model

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Although the Lambda was essentially an open-topped touring car, it came with a soft top or a removable hard top that transformed this low-slung roadster into a square-looking sit-up- and-beg saloon.

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