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Lancia Lambda
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Lancia Lambda (1922 - 1931)

One day Vincenzo Lancia found himself on a ship in a monstrous sea. Seeing the ships hull fighting the demonic waves he stated; a car should be as firm and strong as a ships hull... This wet experience and the idea of the ships hull inspired Vincenzo to develop a car with a unitary bodywork structure... This car, the Lancia Lambda, was presented to the public in the year 1922. This was the first car ever built with a unitary body structure; body and chassis finally merged...

Lancia Lambda - the first load bearing bodyshell

Presented for the first time in 1922 the Lambda incorporated numerous technical innovations and is still hailed as one of the significant models in the history of the automobile. The biggest single innovation, and one which was copied by all car manufacturers around the world, was the adoption of a load-bearing body and the deletion of the separate chassis. Another first was the use of independent front suspension. The engine was also novel, using a cast-aluminium engine block, a narrow-angle V4 layout and high (for the period) engine speeds.

The first cars were almost all bodied in-house by Lancia, the new load-bearing body reducing the scope for the coachbuilders, although a few did make some attempts. The first four series' saw small improvements such as new pistons, different windscreen designs and a change in supplier of the electrical system. The fifth series saw the adoption of a four-speed gearbox whilst the sixth series used a stretched wheelbase and was also produced as a chassis for the coachbuilders.

The seventh series saw an increased capacity engine producing 10bhp more, and was produced with both the longer and shorter wheelbases, a feature also used in the following eighth series. The latter also received an even larger and more powerful engine to offset the ever increasing weight. This was the last production model and they ceased to be built in 1931.

Lancia Lambda Tourer 1925

Lambda's were also used extensively in motorsport in various guises, mostly by private entries, albeit supported by the factory.

Approximate production numbers :
Series I to V : 4,200
Series VI : 1,300
Series VII : 1,300
Series VIII and IX : 4,403


Lancia Lambda

Lancia Lambda Spider in action in 2001

Driveline longitudinal engine at front with rear wheel drive
Engine 2119cc (75x120mm) V4 sohc with 49bhp @ 3,250rpm
2370cc (79,37x120mm) V4 sohc with 59bhp @ 3,250rpm
2568cc (82,55x120mm) V4 sohc with 69bhp @ 3,500rpm
Suspension front : Independent sliding pillar
rear : solid axle with leaf springs
wheelbase : 3100mm or 3420mm depending on variant
Brakes mechanically operated drums on all four wheels
Gearbox initially 3 then 4 speed manual