LC2 was Lancia’s first proper Group C car, but was unable to overcome the dominant Porsche 956s.
Lancia. Ever heard of them? If not, it’s not surprising. Their cars are not exactly sold all over the world. Yet the Italian manufacturer has won no fewer than 19 motor sport world championships: well, 18½ really, but more of that later. The fact remains that theirs is a pedigree that any car manufacturer would sell its soul for.
Established in Turin in 1906 by rotund, 25-year-old racing driver Vincenzo Lancia, everything went fairly smoothly with the company for the first 30 years or so, producing cars like the Lambda, Astura, Agusta, and Aprilia. Yet, old racing driver though he may have been, for most of his business career Vincenzo steadfastly refused to “invest” in motor racing to help sell his products. He died prematurely at 56 years of age on February 15, 1937, and that is when the firm’s troubles began. His wife Adele took over as president, 10 years after which their engineer son Gianni took the reins. He was keen on motor sport, which his father swore was a money eater, and the old man turned out to be right—at least how Gianni approached it, because he and racing were the company’s undoing. Certainly, Gianni had his successes. Alberto Ascari won the 1954 Mille Miglia in a sleek Lancia D24, for instance. Which was okay, but Gianni had bigger ideas that cost even bigger bucks.
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