Restoring a '37 Lancia Aprilia: How Hard Could It Be?

Illustration for article titled Restoring a '37 Lancia Aprilia: How Hard Could It Be?

The answer: Restoring an original 1937 Aprilia Berlina is very, very hard (but worth every wad of $100 bills and gallon of sweat). I visited the legendary Conrad Stevenson's Alfa Romeo shop last weekend and found this work-of-art-in-progress there.

Illustration for article titled Restoring a '37 Lancia Aprilia: How Hard Could It Be?
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Though Conrad specializes in Alfas, he'll take on the occasional Fiat or Lancia project if he loves the car enough. A solid prewar Aprilia with the pillarless suicide-door sedan design and slippery body shape determined by Pininfarina's wind-tunnel experiments definitely passes the test.

Illustration for article titled Restoring a '37 Lancia Aprilia: How Hard Could It Be?

How's this for ahead-of-its-time engine technology?

Illustration for article titled Restoring a '37 Lancia Aprilia: How Hard Could It Be?
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Only problem with that V4 engine is that, in stock form, it ran about 5.5:1 compression (gasoline in 1930s Europe wasn't so good). To add a few extra horses to this Lancia, Conrad designed a custom higher-compression domed piston and had a set machined and balanced for this project.

Illustration for article titled Restoring a '37 Lancia Aprilia: How Hard Could It Be?
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Meanwhile, his workbench was full of these gorgeous triple-pad Alfa Romeo drum brake assemblies. Disc brakes are for cowards!

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bugattatra
bugattatra - parallel double-park that muthafucka sideways

Eddin's Moto (epic gearhead happy porn land) has some absolutely fascinating insight into how beautifully made and hellishly complex these cars were here on a dedicated Appia (the Aprilia's succesor) page:

[www.eddinsmoto.com]