Over the production of 13,000 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931 Lancia Lambdas in nine series through 1931, the specification evolved gradually. Displacement was increased to 2.4 liters on the 1926 seventh series and to 2.6 liters on the 1928 eighth series. Also with the seventh series, Lancia parted with its revolutionary practice by offering the option of a separate chassis -- a product of necessity and the pressure of custom coachbuilders.
The body makers had a complaint that would dog every unit-bodied car from the Lambda forward: The monocoque shell was very difficult to alter, and there was only so much the specialists could do with the factory bodies. (One of the loudest complaints came from Vincenzo Lancia's good friend, Battista Farina.)
Also, some owners wanted to create more sporting bodywork for competition; this often took the form of shortening the wheelbase, which could not have been more disastrous. The alteration ruined the handling and seriously weakened the body.
So the Lambda had a problem. Simultaneous with its arrival had come a wave of prosperity in the mid- to late Twenties. There was a huge market for custom bodies, and this meant that a separate chassis option was crucial. "This is perhaps why enthusiasts lay so much store by the seventh series Lambda," wrote Frostick, "since this was the last, and most highly developed version, of the original fascinating concept."
These later custom-bodied Lambdas led in time to the factory's own luxury model, the Dilambda, with a V-8 and separate chassis, independent front suspension, servo brakes, central chassis lubrication, and twin electric fuel pumps. Lancia built 1,700 Dilambdas; they in turn fostered other notable productions, including the prewar Astura and the postwar Flaminia.
See the next page to find specifications for the 1923-1931 Lancia Lambda.
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