1913 Lancia Theta Coupé with Dickey

  • Brand: Lancia
  • Car Code: 940346

1913 Lancia Theta Coupé with Dickey Coachwork by Morgan & Co

One of the most gifted automobile engineers of all time, Vincenzo Lancia founded his own company in 1906, having previously been FIAT's chief test driver. Introduced in 1907, the first Lancia car showed an independence of thought and defiance of convention that would remain associated with the marque well into the modern era.

In 1913 Lancia introduced the 35hp Theta, which was powered by a 4,940cc four-cylinder sidevalve engine producing 70bhp, an output good enough for a top speed of around 120km/h (75mph) depending on coachwork. Ever the innovator, Vincenzo Lancia specified a built-in electrical system for the Theta that included an electric starter (the first of its kind in Europe). Built in two different wheelbase lengths (3,100mm and 3,378mm) the Theta was capable of carrying generously proportioned coachwork and was a big hit in the USA. The last chassis was delivered in 1919, by which time almost 1,700 had been made. It is estimated that only 25 survive, few of which retain their (substantially) original coachwork like this example.

Built on the short wheelbase chassis the Type A Theta offered here is believed to have been displayed at the London Motor Show in 1913, though whether it had been bodied by Morgan of Leighton Buzzard by that time is not known. No other similar Morgan body on a Lancia is known. This car's early history is unknown prior to its discovery in the late 1940s at a garage in Theale, west of Reading, where it was in service as a breakdown truck. The Lancia was complete except for the rear dickey panel, which had been removed for towing purposes.

In 1950 the Theta was purchased as a present for his wife, Marcia, by the late Arthur Jeddere-Fisher, former British Ambassador to Fiji and a VSCC lynchpin. The original dickey panel was found in nettles behind the garage and returned to the body, but the other rear seat arrangements have been modified. Originally the body had a high, sit-up-and-beg, folding seat; it had been removed as part of the truck conversion, and in any case was not suitable for transporting the J-F infants.

'BH 2563' was used and even raced by Marcia Jeddere-Fisher in all sorts of VSCC events from 1950 to 2000, but was stored in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu while she was away in Fiji. With it Marcia won the Prescott Edwardian Handicap, and the VSCC and Light Car Edwardian Trophies.

Source: Bonhams, Ruotevecchie, Conceptcarz, Supercars, Wikipedia, other

Production Start 1913
Country of origin Italy