The Flaminia was the first new model under Pesenti’s ownership began in 1957. His new product, designed under the new chief engineer, Prof. Antonio Fessia, was an updated model based on the Aurelia. Fessia kept the Aurelia’s basic design for the V6 engine, starting with a 2.5 liter motor, later expanding it to 2.8 liters.

Design work was well underway in 1956, and the design introduced in 1957, with production of the roughly 12,000 cars made extending to 1967, and possibly with a few later cars. I grew up with Flaminias - my parents had a PF coupe, my mother drove a Supersport. They were much admired in the family. The first Lancia I bought was a Flaminia sedan, and later, ,y sister and I owned a Touring coupe together.

For the driveline Fessia used many components from the current Aurelia, including the transaxle and driveshaft from the 5/6th series cars, with synchro 1st gear now added. The rear suspension was de Dion type, as on the Aurelia, although the front suspension was new with double wishbones and coil springs. The Flaminia also had its engine and front suspension mounted to a rubber-isolated subframe, which was new to the industry and patented by Lancia. Six bolts, and a few connections, and the entire assembly would come down from the car as one unit.

The body design for the Flaminia was derived from Pinin Farina prototypes, the Florida and others. It was a trendsetting shape, and by the time the car went into production, the shape was refined and the door openings conventional front hinged. The level of fitment in the sedan was staggering, with rear windshield wipers (inside and out) for defogging, vacuum operated rear vent windows, openable by the driver, coordinated washing and wiping of the front windshield among a host of other refinements. The car was built like a bank vault, with sound isolation and comfort far superior to the Aurelia, although at the cost of greater weight and size. If the Aurelia was made for twisty roads, the Flaminia was made for the highway.

The sedan was followed by three other models - the elegant Pinin Farina coupe, a generous 2+2, with room for more in the back; the Touring coupe, available as a 2 seater (open or closed) and a stretched version for a 2+2. The styling of these coupes did not change over the lifespan of the Flaminia, although the motor went through several states of tune.

Zagato built several different versions of a sport and lighter weight 2 seater, the most rounded being the first series from 1959, and the fastest being the last version, the Supersport introduced in 1964. These came also with different motors, 2.5 and then 2.8 liters, and initially with one carburetor, and then three.

The Flaminia was much admired at the time as the ultimate statement of Italian luxury and sophistication. Special versions of the sedans were used for years as Presidential limousines, and they were the epitome of Italian style. They suffered from weight, and a look at their/horsepower to weight ratios reveals that  it isn’t until the 3C (three carburetor) versions of the motors that the coupes begin to equal the performance of a well tuned 4th series B20. That the Flaminias were smoother and quieter was without doubt however.

All Flaminias have the Lancia charm - they are great driving cars, and give a tactile sense to the driver, while also the assurance and sophistication of refined engineering. The build quality is more resolved than an Aurelia, and every piece more robust. The piece on an Aurelia are more elegant, those on the Flaminia worked better. For the driver on the twisty roads, the weight of the Flaminia, plus some rubber in its suspension, did not give the same assurance as an Aurelia. For a long days drive across country, the Flaminia is a more sophisticated experience, only matched by the B12 or a 6th series Aurelia.

Over time, my interests gravitated to the Aurelia, for its precision and lighter weight. But there are plenty of good memories of the Flaminias, a fine car for elegant travel.

For more information - see Jean de Barsy’s site, now archived at: Flaminia.

(Use the slideshow to see the images below at biggest viewing)


Introduced in 1957

Lancia stand at the 1964 Turin Auto show (from Lancia Rivista 14)