Lancia Dilambda 232

A military mystery: Lancia Dilambda

Once again we have had knowledge of a quite exotic classic… in our country! In this case it is an impressive Italian car, a whole Lancia Dilambda from the late 30s, unrestored and with a rather "special" body.

Let's start by highlighting the uniqueness of the model, because although all Lancia produced in the period prior to World War II must be taken as a significant and original car, the Dilambda they were the largest and most luxurious in the range.

Its 8-liter 4-cylinder V-engine was higher than the 3-liter Astura, the 2-liter Artena and the 1.2-liter Augusta. This entire range had some untypical common characteristics at that time, as the chassis were semi-self-supporting structure and the front suspensions were independent by means of a curious system of turrets and shock absorbers.

Lancia Dilambda 232
The curious 8-cylinder V-engine, which retains all its original components

Also all Lancia engines had a characteristic narrow V design and camshaft in the cylinder head actuated by rods. In the case of the Dilambda, the V describes an angle of only 24 degrees, and at first glance it looks like a thick 8-cylinder in-line more than a V4. The power of these engines was 100 hp at 4.000 rpm.

The design of these cars had other refinements such as a centralized lubrication system for the entire chassis or in the latest series a device that allowed the hardness of the suspensions to be regulated from the dashboard.

The Dilambda was presented in 1928 and remained in production until 1935, years in which almost 1.700 units of the different series were produced. The copy that illustrates this brief review belongs to the third and last series produced between 1933 and 1935, known as "Series 232" according to the factory name.

Lancia Dilambda 232
Lancia Dilambda 232
1- The dashboard, preserved complete and original, accuses the passage of time
2- The seats that you currently mount seem to have been manufactured many years ago

A Dilambda surrounded by mysteries

Of this last series, only 281 copies were produced, and they were precisely the ones that received bodies of greater beauty and productive quality, since the aerodynamics were beginning to be noticed in the advanced Italian designs, which already created true works of art at this time.

About the body of this unit there are certain doubts, and you only have to see it in profile to realize that it does not correspond to the archetype of luxury and distinction that the Dilambdas held in their day.

In its current form it is a "military tourer" without doors, much in the style of some of the realizations that were made in the factories themselves during World War II as cars for the high command, and in vintage photos it is not uncommon to see some Horch or Alfa Romeo of this style.

1- What would there be before this military "tourer" body? Probably something like the following ...
2- If you look closely, you will see that the fins and the hood are practically identical

However, we do not have evidence - graphically, at least - that in its day the Lancia itself floated a Dilambda for these purposes, so we must doubt its authenticity. There is also the important detail that the front, the bombastic wings and the hood match perfectly with other Pininfarina realizations on Dilambda chassis ... and also do not stick or glue with the military style of the central body of the car.

In conclusion, the most coherent thing is that this car was born as a stylish 4-seater cabriolet or coupe with two -big- doors bodied by the master Pininfarina, and during his eventful life it was converted into this kind of car for military parades.


The lack of documentation on the past life of this unit is at least striking, although it seems that it was initially sent to the US - specifically to New York - and to our country it came from Peru! The origin of its current bodywork could be in a transformation for cinematographic purposes, although the quality of this is remarkable.

1- Under the green appears the (original?) Blue color, and under this the aluminum of the body
2- The rear part where the body and the fins are joined was unusual in the 30s

Under the weathered matte military green tone, aluminum and old bodybuilder nails appear directly, and also the leather of the seats is so old that it gives "the hit" and seems original ... go that those who transformed this car many years ago had to make a meticulous work.

Of course, there is no trace of its possible appearances on the big screen, so we do not know if it was finally used in any filming. Total, what This car is a mystery that we happily have for our bull skin, and that without a doubt it deserves a complete restoration work that restores a bodywork with the packaging it deserves, as we can assure you that this Dilambda is much larger than it appears in the photos.

What's more, the Dilambdas are highly prized models and it is common to see them in elegance contests that are held mainly in the United States, so this unit probably deserves the high investment it needs to return to looking like it was in its best days.


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Francisco Carrion

Written by Francisco Carrion

My name is Francisco Carrión and I was born in Ciudad Real in 1988, a place that was not at first akin to vintage cars. Fortunately my grandfather, dedicated to the automotive sector, had friends who owned veteran cars and participated in the annual rally that was held (and continues to be held) in my hometown ... View all


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