Lancia Lambda

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1926 Lancia Lambda
Lancia Lambda
Production: 19221931
Manufacturer: Lancia
Engine: 2119 cc Lancia V4
2370 cc Lancia V4
2568 cc Lancia V4

The Lancia Lambda was an innovative automobile produced from 1922 through 1931. It was the first car to feature a load-bearing monocoque-type body, and it also pioneered the use of an independent suspension (the front sliding pillar with coil springs). Lancia even invented a shock absorber for the car. Approximately 11,200 Lambdas were produced.

Nine versions of the Lambda were built:

  • 1st series, produced 1923, 400 built.
  • 2nd series, produced between 1923 and 1924, 1,100 built. Minor modifications for engine.
  • 3rd series, produced 1924, 800 built. Engine modified.
  • 4th series, produced between 1924 and 1925, 850 built. Modified windscreen.
  • 5th series, produced 1925, 1,050 built. 4-speed gearbox.
  • 6th series, produced between 1925 and 1926, 1,300 built. Car is sold now with bare chassis and with two wheelbases.
  • 7th series, produced between 1926 and 1928, 3,100 built. New bigger engine.
  • 8th series, produced between 1928 and 1930, 3,903 built. Again bigger engine.
  • 9th series, produced 1931, 500 built. Last series sold only bare chassis.

The narrow-angle aluminum Lancia V4 engine was also notable. All three displacements shared the same long 120 mm stroke, and all were SOHC designs with a single camshaft serving both banks of cylinders.

1927 Lancia Lambda Torpedo

  • 59bhp, 2,370 cc V-4 engine
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Independent front suspension, rear suspension via live axle and semi-elliptical leaf springs
  • Four-wheel drum brakes
  • Wheelbase: 134.6" (3,420mm)

Few automakers possess as storied and innovative a history as Lancia, the Turinese automaker started by Vincenzo Lancia in late November, 1906. Lancia, the man behind the automaker, got his start by working as an inspector for Fiat and, later, a successful racing car driver. His dream, however, was to create a line of groundbreaking cars that would excel both on the track and in the hands of the greater public.

By the early 1920s, the automaker had developed the reputation that its founder had desired thanks to cars like the Theta, a versatile, low-slung car often built in an aggressive torpedo body that revolutionized car production in Europe by coming with a standard electrical system for its lights and starter.

Yet Lancia himself envisioned an even greater car that would be essentially a rolling showpiece of dynamic design and creative engineering: Thus, the Lambda was born. Lancia, an engineer at heart, looked at shipbuilding and hull design during development of the Lambda. He sought a lightweight body design for automobiles that would still manage to be strong and capable of bearing the tremendous load put on a high-performance car. What he envisioned eventually became the steel monocoque, also known today as unibody construction used in almost every modern production car. In an era where every vehicle was of heavy body-on-frame design, to say that Lancia’s monocoque design was revolutionary is an understatement.

The Lambda’s monocoque got most of its strength from its driveshaft tunnel, which effectively formed a backbone for the car and also allowed a lower roofline and center of gravity since passengers would be seated lower in the body. As if this was not enough to create an impressive sporting car, Lancia pioneered use of an independent sliding pillar front suspension and four wheel brakes. Another notable feature, particularly on this example, was the boot, which is integral to the body, as compared to an externally-mounted trunk. These unique features combined with a narrow-angle V4 engine to create one of the sportiest cars on the road in the early 1920s – especially impressive considering the fairly modest pricing and positioning of the Lambda.

The squat Lambda neither looked like nor ran like anything else on the road. It was a perennial success in the Mille Miglia endurance race in its day and Lancia was able to sell more than 11,000 examples during its nine-year run from 1922 to 1931.

The 1927 Lancia Lambda on offer is part of the 7th Series produced between 1928 and 1930. The 7th Series, the third-to-last Lambda line offered, featured an upgraded 2,370 cc V4 engine that produced 59 horsepower and was mated to a four-speed manual transmission. Source


The narrow-angle aluminum Lancia V4 engine was also notable. All three displacements shared the same long 120mm stroke, and all were SOHC designs with a single camshaft serving both banks of cylinders. First engine had 13° V angle, second 14° and 3rd 13° 40'.

Model Engine Displacement Power Fuel system
S.1-S.6 V4 SOHC 2121 cc 49 hp (36.5 kW) @ 3250 rpm single carburetor
S.7 V4 SOHC 2375 cc 59 hp (44 kW) @ 3250 rpm single carburetor
S.8-S.9 V4 SOHC 2569 cc 69 hp (51.5 kW) @ 3500 rpm single carburetor


  • Lancia by Michael Frostick, 1976. ISBN 0-901564-22-2

External links


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Vincenzo Lancia · Corporate website · A brand of the Fiat group
1900–1940 Lancia Pre War Timeline
Lancia Automobiles S.p.A., a subsidiary of the Fiat S.p.A. since 1969, car timeline, 1900s–1940s -- Lancia Pre War Timeline Next »
Type 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
V4 Lambda Artena Aprilia
Straight-4 Alfa-12HP Beta-15/20HP Epsilon Theta-35HP Dikappa
Alfa-24HP Gamma-20HP Eta-30/50HP Kappa
Delta-20/30HP Zeta-12/15HP
Straight-6 Dialfa-18HP
V8 Astura
Trikappa Dilambda
V12 12 cil V