For the last few posts, Tintin and Captain Haddock have been following the kidnapped Professor Calculus. After their Helicopter “ran out of fuel” they have been walking towards the Bordurian border trying to hitch hikes albeit with no luck. While walking through a small town, Captain Haddock, who was by now drenched and uber angry, decided to buy some Tobacco. While crossing the street, there was this sound of brakes squealing and I am sure smell of burnt rubber too, before he was hit by a speeding car. Fortunately nobody was hurt except the Captain’s ego. But lucky for them, Arturo Benedetto Giovanni Guiseppe Pietro Archangelo Alfredo Cartoffoli da Milano, the Italian driver of this Italian exotic decided to give the duo a lift and gleefully agreed to give a chase to the bandits escaping with Professor Calculus.
The Italian exotic under discussion was the Lancia Aurelia B20 GT. Tintin was seen in anothe Lancia, the Aprilia in the “Land of Black Gold”. The Aurelia was a GT (Grand Tourer) manufactured by Lancia from 1950 to 1958. It was designed by Vittorio Jano. For the readers recently initiated to the world of automobiles, a GT is a car designed to cover large distances in short periods of time. These are high performance cars, which means large powerful engines, with a well handling chassis. They are luxuriously appointed and stylish. The normal format is a two door coupe which can seat either 2 or 2+2, that means a rudimentary rear seat meant for tiny people. To name a few, Lancia Aurelia , Alfa Romeo 6C, Bentley Continental, Ferrari 250 GTO, Aston Martin DB5, Porsche 911, Mercedes SLS etc all fall under this category.
The Aurelia was named after Via Aurelia, the Roman road connecting Rome with Pisa. The B20 GT, was a 2 door car, its body was designed by Ghia and built by Pininfarina. Could you ask for more? Engine by Lancia, design by Ghia manufactured by Pininfarina, this was automotive heaven. These cars finished second in the 1951 Mille Miglia, beaten podium by only the Ferrari America. This car was driven by Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli. The same year, it won its class at Le Mans, coming 12th overall. In 1952 it took all three podiums at Targa Florio and in 1953 it won the Lièges-Rome-Lièges rally.
The Lancia Aurelia is considered to the first car to employ a V6 engine. These cars were powered by 1,991 cc (121.1 Cu-inch) V-6 naturally aspirated petrol engine breathing through two pushrod operated valves per cylinder and producing 75 HP at 4,500 rpm. This engine also churned out 137 N-m (101 ft-lb) of torque at 3,500 rpm. Separate carburetors fed to each of the two banks of cylinders. All this power and torque was transmitted to the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual gearbox.
The Aurelia was not a small car, it was 4,280 mm (168.5″) long, 1,540 mm (60.6″) wide and 1,400 mm (55.1″) tall with a wheel base of 2,660 mm (104.7″). The V-6 engine could push the 1,070 kg (2,359 lb) car to a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph). It was capable of 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 14.9 seconds. A quarter mile was dispatched in 20.1 seconds and the speed at the end of this quarter mile was 111 km/h (69 mph). In true GT tradition, it could cover 567 km (351 miles) on a full tank of fuel.
The handling department was managed by a unique suspension set up where the rear comprised of a trans-axle which included the gearbox, clutch, differential and inboard mounted drum brakes. The front suspension had a sliding pillar design with rear semi-trailing arms. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes on all four wheels.