An urban explorer, who wishes to remain anonymous, was recently tipped off about a textile factory in Italy that had been left untouched for more than 30 years. He drove straight to the location, to find the abandoned plant as if it had been left yesterday, with all of the original machinery still in place.
RARE FIND AT FORGOTTEN FACTORYWhat he hadn’t expected to discover was an old Lancia tucked away in the garage at the premises. It turned out to be a second-series Aprilia, and a rare coachbuilt example. The car was conceived as a 439 ‘Autotelaio’, with a 100mm longer wheelbase and independent rear suspension, and found its way into the workshops of Pinin Farina in 1948 or ’1949. At the time, the firm was building the factory saloons and convertibles, but also found the time to continue building special-bodied coupés and convertibles.
This Aprilia Speciale is thought to be one from a series of two or three, and it’s believed that it’s the car that won a class prize at the 1949 Villa d’Este concours. Before WW2, Pinin Farina had been responsible for a series of ‘Aerodinamica’ Aprilias, which were able to top 100mph. After the war, the coachbuilder came up with more elegant versions inspired by these streamliners. Most of the specials used a narrow adaptation of the trademark grille, but this car is an exception. The lower side grilles with vertical slats are another typical Pinin Farina feature, mostly seen on its Alfa Romeo 6C-2500s.
The convertible appears to be in a very original state, probably even wearing its factory two-tone paint in a typical slate grey and light blue. For now it is unknown what will happen to both the factory and the Lancia, because it seems that the owner has no plans other than to let nature take its course.
‘Most specials used a narrow version of the grille, but this car is an exception’