- Only 9 total examples to be built
- 2nd Aurelia B20GT Outlaw produced by Thornley Kelham
- Owned by Danny Sullivan, racing champion and winner of the 1985 Indianapolis 500
- Approximately 5,000 labor hours invested
- Based on the Bracco Aurelia race car for inspiration
- 3” chopped roof and bespoke bodywork
- Upgraded fuel-injected 2.8-liter Lancia V6 producing 180+ horsepower
- 4-speed manual transmission
- The ultimate Lancia Aurelia B20GT
- 2,763 miles = 4,447 kilometers
The Lancia Aurelia B20 GT came from humble beginnings. The original Aurelias had production V6 engines, the first of their kind in an automobile, and it only took a matter of time before people started racing. With the first series of B20GT cars were built in early 1950, 2-door sports cars, they were considered some of the first Gran Turismo cars in the world. During the 1951 Mille Miglia, demand outstripped supply for these little sports cars after proving their worth during the races. With an adept chassis and significant power for the time, the cars were becoming popular and eventually evolved over time spanning the course of 6 different series of Aurelia B20GTs.
Not often does the idea come about of turning an Aurelia B20GT into some sort of “outlaw”, a car that is restored and upgraded without the usual rules of engagement with concours shows. Thornely Kelham of Gloucestershire aren’t just your normal restoration facility, but have the skills and knowhow to create designs from anew. Having sourced and restored the “Bracco” Aurelia B20GT, a special racer that took 2nd overall in the Mille Miglia and a scored a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951, TK was acutely aware of the intricacies of the Aurelia platform, but also drawn towards it. One of the most notable features of the Bracco car was the hot rod-like chopped roof, no doubt in efforts to streamline the car in period. After the restoration and appearance at Pebble Beach in 2015, the idea was planted of a Fuorilegge (“outlaw” in Italian) which brings us to this special car.
The 1st B20GT Outlaw project began with an American collector asking Thornley Kelham if they would build something like the Bracco car, but with modern upgrades paired with philosophy of an “outlaw” that has been popularized by the Porsche 356 community. With “about a half a second of hesitation” they said yes, they could do that. They found a disheveled 6th series Aurelia, stripped it down to the bare bones, and began to chop, widen, and create the outlaw. Over 5,000 hours were invested in that first car and the cars after it, it being the test bed and having a large amount of creative license to create what Thornley Kelham thought would be the best interpretation. All four fenders were widened, fatter tires fitted, Jaguar D-type style wheels added, bumpers and rain rails removed, the front turn signals hidden inside of the head lights, Nardi scoop cut into the hood. On the inside, an Alcantara headliner, Porsche Speedster seats, and an FIA-spec roll cage certainly gives the vibe of a street racer with class.
Mechanically, the car was quite different than before. While the Lancia uses a Flaminia V6 engine, it was bored out to 2.8-liters with more powerful camshafts and a custom exhaust to produce about 175hp, giving a healthy boost of 57hp over a stock engine. The steering rack was upgraded to a rack and pinion setup, brakes upgraded to discs on all four corners (but inboard brakes on the rear), and the sliding pillar suspension has custom gas-filled shock absorbers to look factory but produce modern handling capabilities.
When the time came to reveal the newly-created outlaw, Thornley Kelham were a little anxious as they were not sure how the car would be received. Fortunately for them, the B20GT outlaw was met with thunderously positive responses at the 2015 Salon Prive’ held at Blenheim Palace. Two orders for the cars were made that day, and then two more shortly afterwards. Soon enough, Thornley Kelham were building their 5th and 6th cars in January of 2019.
Aurelia B20GT Outlaw chassis #2, the car here, is one of the early orders for Thornley Kelham by none other than Danny Sullivan, championship-winning racecar driver and winner of the 1985 Indianapolis 500. Sullivan had seen the outlaw 356s for some time, but always gravitated towards a “more stately car with substance and refinement.” The same rules applied, finding a down-on-its-luck Aurelia 6th series car and use that as the base for the new and improved hot rod. However, with Sullivan’s build there were a few notable changes. One of which being the seats which are Ferrari, to help preserve the overall Italian-ness of the car. Another is the 2.8-liter engine, now fuel injected to free up another 5-10hp for a grand total of a 185hp. Air conditioning to keep you cool in the afternoons, an upgraded pedal setup for supreme feedback, a special smaller Lancia steering wheel, and a few other subtle touches that set this car apart from any others. The sloping roofline is still one of the most stunning parts of the car, hand formed by the artesian craftsman of Thornley Kelham, evoking sex appeal and even some early American cars.
Sullivan drove the car 2,763 miles (4,447 kilometers) during his ownership for just over a year, thoroughly enjoying the car. He noted that he likes to keep things for a few years but then sometimes wants to move onto the next project. With Bruce Canepa being friends with Danny, Sullivan brought his Lancia Aurelia to Canepa to find a like-minded individual who would enjoy the Lancia just as much as he has. When the Lancia arrived at Canepa, eyes wandered over to the car and began taking in all the details. The deep Cordovan color, the swooping body lines, the immense attention to detail, and the supreme craftsmanship. One of the most unique and stunning cars to come through Canepa’s doors, Danny could trust that the Lancia was in the right place among the other cars at this facility.
Being able to custom design and build a car with the highest degree of quality and attention to detail is quickly becoming a lost art. Finding skilled craftsman to carry out someone’s ultimate vision is increasingly difficult, but the team at Thornley Kelham have not only managed to do it, but they have completely surpassed the previously-set bar. From the nickel-plated hardware to the perfect metal shaping of all the fenders by hand, the custom upholstered Ferrari seats to the ultimate tactile and sensory feedback that the steering, suspension, and the 2.8-liter Lancia V6 engine provide, the Lancia Aurelia B20GT Outlaw is a car that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.
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