1908 Lancia Alpha unveiled 100 years ago

The Lancia Alfa 12 HP was completed by near the close of September of 1907 with production beginning the following year. This was Lancia's first car and was originally known as the Tipo 51. It was powered by a four-cylinder, side-valve engine that produced nearly 30 horsepower with top speed achieved around 90 kilometers. There were several bodystyles available, including a double-phaeton, luxury coupe, landaulet, limousine, bare chassis, and even a racing version.
The first production car made by Vincenzo Lancia. First unveiled 100 years ago at the 1908 Turin Motor Show, the 12 hp was later renamed the Alfa (and is now called the Alpha), in order to follow Lancia's decision to adopt Greek nomenclature for his cars. The 12 horsepower's were available as a straight chassis to be bodied in a variety of styles from closed landaulets to sporting two-seater Corsas, one example of which raced at Savannah, Georgia, in 1908. These first Lancia cars were famed for their lightness and efficient engineering; they included conventional engines of 2.4-liters.

Vincenzo Lancia, born in 1881, had his first job as an accountant in the bicycle factory of Giovanno Ceirano in Torino. When FIAT bought Ceirano in 1899, Lancia became Chief Inspector. He stayed with FIAT for eight more years, and then, in 1906, he became a constructor and created 'Lancia and Co., Fabbrica Automobili.' In 1908, Lancia began production of automobiles, and the first model was called the 'Alpha.' The Alpha was a four-cylinder car of 2543cc, with an L-Head engine good for 53 bhp at 1800 RPM. The car was capable of 56 mph, and was known for its quality and reliability. This example was sent to the United States as a bare chassis, and a custom body was installed by Miller Brothers of Amesbury, Massachusetts. A total of 108 Alphas were built by Lancia, and this is the oldest known example in the world.

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