Lancia Artena & Astura
Andrew Cliffe firstname.lastname@example.org
The Artena and Astura were launched in November 1931, and could possibly be one of the earliest examples of platform sharing! As successor to the Lambda, Vincenzo Lancia decided that the replacement should be available in both a powerful luxury format, and a simpler and lighter version as well. The Astura with its V8 engine of 2.6 litres (later growing to 3.0 litres) was offered against the V4 engined 2 litre Artena.
The chassis was very simple and light, but also very stiff, and it made an ideal rolling chassis for coachbuilders to build their own bodies - Lancia offered a discreet saloon body, but companies such as Carrozzeria Castagna, Pinin Farina and Carrozzeria Touring amongst others offered a selection of designs - coupes, saloons and convertible versions, some beautiful, others more functional.
The Astura was also used by the Italian Government as state cars for special and public duties by Mussolini and state guests. The Artena was also used as Military staff transport, small commercial vans and even Ambulances.
Production of the Artena ran from 1931-1943, with the Astura being phased out in 1939 (although 2 more were built in 1942). Roughly 6000 Artenas and 3000 Asturas were built.
Nowadays the faster, more powerful and more luxurious Astura seems to be more favoured than the Artena.
Author: Andrew Cliffe
Last update: 1st April 2001