Lancia Ardea 1939-53



The Ardea was the smaller sister to the famous Aprilia, and has many clever engineering touches.    The engine was another narrow angle V engine - capacity of only 903cc from a 65mm x 68mm bore and stroke.    Gearbox was initially a 4 speed unit taken from the Aprilia.    

World War 2 meant that production was limited, and although it was launched in 1939, it was only until the war finished in 1945 that production increased, and in 1948, the 3rd series Ardea was laucnhed with a number of improvements - notably the conversion to a 12v electrical system and a 5 speed gearbox - another 1st for Lancia.   It took another 15 years for the 5 speed gearbox to gain more widespread usage, but for the next 40 years it was common for the smallest cars to have a 4 speed gearbox.

Production of the Ardea was stopped in 1953 and was replaced by the Appia.   About 22,000 cars left the factory in various bodystyles, but the most common being the standard saloon bodywork.   Some special bodywork was produced by Zagato and Pinin Farina and there were two commercial variants known as the tipe 550 furgoncino  (little van) and tipo 650 camioncino (pick-up) with a detuned 25bhp engine and 950kg weight.

The commercial vehicles were actually called the Lancia 800 rather than Ardea, but they are all part of the Ardea family.

Author: Andrew Cliffe
Last update: 1st April 2001