While cheap cars in decay are a pretty cool thing to look at, formerly expensive cars in decay are arguably much more interesting. You expect a cheap, daily use car to eventually move beyond a point of economic viability, while expensive cars are much more likely to soldier on, supported by garage-mates or the budgets of wealthy owners. Seeing a decayed luxury car prompts all kinds of questions… who first owned it? Where has it lived? How did it get to its present state? How can anyone let something that beautiful go to ground? And on that pensive note, check out this 1959 Lancia Flaminia Berlina, for sale for $2500 somewhere in Lake County, CA, just north of the Napa/Sonoma wine country.
What a handsome design – it’s kind of the Italian suit of cars. Do a mental side-by-side of this, a 1959 Cadillac, a 1959 Rolls Royce, and a 1959 Mercedes. The one car that could really give it a run for its money in terms of elegance (although by no means restrained elegance) is the Citroen ID/DS of the same year. While you could compare it to the Peugeot 404 or the Farina Austin/Morris sedans, the design and its details are unquestionably more elegant on this larger car.
Given the ratty looking exterior, the interior leather looks surprisingly intact, like a good cleaning and moisturizing might take care of the seats. The steering wheel is missing a horn ring, and there is some flaking chrome, but overall, things are intact and decent. Gray on red is actually a pretty popular color combination in classic cars these days, so you might have an easier time finding a buyer when your time comes to sell.
This still hasn’t answered the question: why? Why is this car in a farmyard with the remains of a pickup and some other junk? How did it get from Borgo San Paolo, Italy to Lake County, CA? Remarkably, this car’s design was considered elegant enough to last from 1957 to 1970, by which point it must have looked positively outdated. No indication is given as to the condition of the various systems – this car should have a 2.5-liter version of the Aurelia-derived V6, putting out just over 100hp. The triple carb setup from a Sport, Convertible, or GT could bring you up to 140hp, which might bring you closer to the Rolls Royce definition of adequate power. So while it’s a financial fool’s errand to restore a car like this, what might rebuilding the mechanical systems do? Any sucker for good engineering should be able to have fun with that.