|1953 Lancia D23 race car at the Louwman Museum (from the collection of the author)|
In 1937 Gianni Lancia assumed control of their namesake company after his father, Vincenzo, died. Gianni wanted to go racing and after the war, he did just that with the B20 GT Aurelia. Success soon followed and lead to the evolution of the D20 Coupe (supercharged). The D20 won the Targa Florio, but struggled at Le Mans. The supercharger was dropped and capacity was increased to 3 liters. Additionally, Pinin Farina was called in to create a striking open top body and the D23 was born. The car seen here is the only authentic surviving D23. Now housed at the Louwman Museum, this car has quite a racing history.
This car debuted at the 1953 Monza Grand Prix, where driven by Felice Bonetto, it finished 2nd wearing the #4. The car then DNF’d at Nurburgring before being shipped to Mexico for the 1953 La Carrera Panamericana. Lancia entered 5 cars: three new D24s and two D23. This car was driven by Giovanni Bracco and went out after loosing a wheel. Lancia finished 1-2-3 with Fangio in first place, but the victory was spoiled by Felice Bonetto death in one of the D24s.
Gianni Lancia was forced to give up leadership of Lanica after nearly bankrupting the company due the cost of his racing program - he and his mother would sell their shares in the company in 1955. Giovanni Bracco hung up his racing helmet in 1956. As for this car, it survived it's racing days largely intact and now represents a unique piece of Lancia motor racing history.
|The Lancia D23 of Bracco at the 1953 La Carrera Panamericana (photo credit: superdiscochino.tumblr.com)|