Restoration

See how the most famous Lancia in the world has been fully restored

The mystery of the car unraveled as it crossed an ocean and landed in England.

Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

Too many historic cars are lost to the scrap heap. The most famous Lancia in the world has been given a new life, rescued from rust and rot thanks to restoration specialist company Thornley Kelham. The Lancia Aurelia B20GT has impeccable heritage and now it is impeccably restored.

The story of the Lancia starts in 1951. It was purchased new by Giovanni Bracco, a wealthy race car driver and associate of Gianni Lancia, the second-generation boss at Italian carmaker Lancia. Within three months of purchase, Bracco had driven the Lancia to second place the Mille Miglia, first place at the Caracalla Night Race, and first place in its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Later that year it won the Pescara 6 Hour Race.

Lancia Aurelia B20GT The Lancia was originally painted black.Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

Despite the success, Lancia and Bracco saw room for improvement. The car's roof was lowered in an effort to improve the car's aerodynamics according to news reports at the time.

When the car arrived on the line for the 1951 Carrera Panamerica, its roof was lower but Bracco's driving skills weren't able to keep it on the road, crashing out on Day 4. The following year, the car arrived at the same race ready to compete with a new driver - Paredo.

Paredo was a Mexican architect who had bought the car from Bracco, rebuilt it, and drove it 2,000 miles from one end of Mexico to the other and secured a ninth place finish in its class.

Following the race, the car's history gets a little less certain.

Lancia Aurelia B20GT The car featured a lowered roof for the 1952 racing season.Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

The car was eventually discovered in the U.S. then it was shipped to Italy. Simon Thornley of Thornley Kelham found out about its existence while the car was en route. Its path to Italy involved a stop in the U.K. In a bonded warehouse in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, Thornley began investigating the Lancia to confirm that it was indeed the fabled race car of Italian and Mexican racing fame.

A release from the company tells the tale:

"The engine and chassis plates seemed correct, filled in holes in the bonnet matched up to bonnet straps fitted in period and a lever next to the passenger seat seemed to fit with an internal system for adjusting the rear suspension, which was said to have been fitted to this car.

Underneath the peeling white paint, the hump back rear – grafted on at some point in its life – and the rust, all signs pointed to the fact that this was indeed B20-1010: the very same car that dominated Europe's rally scene in the summer of 1951."

Thornley entered into a partnership with the current owner of the Lancia to restore the car back to its condition in 1951 right before it crossed the line to start he Carrera Panamerica with Bracco behind the wheel, keeping it as original as possible.

The car's engine matched the original car.Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

The car moved from Southend to the Thornley Kelham shop in the Cotswolds where it proved quite puzzling. It had a lowered roof, but had been "extensively reprofiled to give it a beetle-like appearance; very hump-backed with bulging sides." Its rear glass was wrong, the trunk lid and floor were not original, it's fuel tank wasn't the right one, and the interior was covered in a think coating of undersea.

It was clear that this car had been Americanized - a late 1950s/early 1960s 'lead sled' conversion to be exact. All those parts that looked strange were all from another car and had been skillfully grafted onto the Lancia.

Workers kept as much of the original body as possible. Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

The Thornley Kelham team set to work. They removed the entire rear and crafted a new one used specs gleaned from 3D scanning the original fiberglass molds for the car. The metalwork team salvaged what they could while keeping the car structurally sound, and straightening it.

Then, Lancia experts were called in to sign off on the model. Once the blessing had been received, the car when to paint.

In its heyday, the B20-1010 was originally black. In a move typical for its day, the car was painted red for its 1951 Le Mans race before it was painted black again for its Carrera Panamerica debut. So, the restoration team first painted the car black, then red, then black again.

Signwriting was entrusted to Mark Amis who recreated the car's Panamerica look using period images and extensive research into matching brand logos and colors.

The badging and paint on the model was recreated to be authentic.Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

Research also played a big part into making the interior up to snuff. The team discovered that this particular model was fitted with Lancia Ardea seats in its heyday. Using images from its race at the Carrera Panamericana, Rob O'Rourke re-trimmed the interior to its original specification.

Well over 4,000 hours and three years of work later, the ex-Bracco Aurelia B20GT was complete.

Aurelia 'Outlaw' Thornley Kelham has committed to making nine one-offs of the fabled car.Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

"The restoration of this ex-Bracco Aurelia B20 GT was a very special moment for our business. Its discovery was a real spine-tingling revelation, and restoring it clearly came with huge responsibility. With the input of a number of high-profile Lancia experts, the generosity of enthusiasts all over the world, the dedication of its owner and the talents of our team in the Cotswolds, we are proud to have preserved an enormously important piece of Lancia history," said Thornley.

"Decades of modifications and misuse made this perhaps one of the most difficult restorations we've ever done, but the Bracco story is infectious, and now it's available for enthusiasts the world over to enjoy once more."

Aurelia 'Outlaw' The Oulaw version of the car features the famed sloped roofline.Photo courtesy of Thornley Kelham

The team did not stop there. They created the Thornley Kelham's limited-edition Aurelia 'Outlaw'. The one-of-nine cars each feature a lowered roofline, like the Bracco car, but come with a number of bespoke upgrades, including a bored-out fuel-injected Flaminia engine, modern disc brakes and nitrogen-filled front suspension. Each car is designed – both inside and out – to the exact wishes of its owner.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a lot to like for families looking to save on fuel.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The redesigned Kia Sorento looks good. Kia has given the three-row SUV new life, not as a substitute for the Telluride SUV but instead as its own crossover, with plenty of differences to give them their own identity.

The 2021 Sorento comes in two variants, the Sorento and Sorento Hybrid. Each is offered in its own set of trim levels. The Sorento base model is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that delivers 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Higher grades get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Sorento Hybrid comes in two trim leaves, S and EX. Both are powered by the company's turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain that offers up 177 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV prioritizes fuel efficiency over performance, an important distinction that sets the Sorento Hybrid apart from other hybrid variants, including the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid that delivers an energetic boost to the RAV4 lineup.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The Sorento Hybrid is the type of vehicle that can get you to a trailhead, but isn't built to go beyond that.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The power output is fine if you plan on sticking to in-town driving and aren't looking to load up the Sorento Hybrid for a long road trip. In the default Eco drive mode, the car responds to the throttle the most comfortably. Under traditional and harder acceleration, the Sorento Hyrbid's powertrain is noisy and ill-mannered. It's almost like the SUV is telling you, "I'm built for efficiency, not speed". Message received.

Kia's done a good job making the Sorento agile and it drives nicely and makes for a pleasant daily runaround. Unlike what Toyota has done with the Highlander, all-wheel drive is not available on the Sorento Hybrid.

The 2021 Sorento Hybrid comes standard as a six-seater with captain's chairs in the second row. The seats, leatherette in the upmarket trim level, are comfortable enough. There's a decent amount of cargo space with the third row erect or stowed.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The cabin of the Sorento Hybrid is plush enough for its price point.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The well-thought out cabin design delvers exactly what customers need and in the EX trim level, the car's appointments are near-premium. The SUV has the usual list of standard and available features, but nothing is too fancy: Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio, push button start, keyless entry, a rearview camera, wireless smartphone charger. Nothing looks, feels, or operates like it's cutting edge, but it doesn't have to - this isn't a luxury vehicle.

There is one very nice design touch in the cabin. On either side of the infotainment touch screen are vents that service the front row of the auto. Their output is divided into two each with the bottom vent able to serve the midsection of front passengers' bodies while the upper part goes higher. More automakers should design vents this way.

The Hybrid EX model that was delivered for testing had its lane keeping and centering system not as honed in on lane lines as is optimal, which resulted in crossing over the lines without any alert going off or corrective action being taken by the vehicle's computer.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Cargo space is always tight in three-row SUVs, but Kia has given the Sorento a good balance between cargo space and third-row legroom.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at $33,590. That's a thousand-and-a-half over the starting price of the Telluride and $4,000 more than the traditional 2021 Sorento.

There are currently only two other three-row hybrid SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Expedition Hybrid. The three models and their varied price tags and third-row layouts service very different customers but they generally all get lumped together. The Sorento Hybrid is, by far, the lowest priced model of the three, and it feels like it when you're inside. There's nothing wrong with that. Dodge sold a lot of Journeys despite the fact that it wasn't the best or most expensive SUV out there.

Think of the Kia Sorento Hybrid as the Dodge Journey of three-row hybrid crossovers and you won't be disappointed.

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BMW's newest works are equal parts art and car.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has revealed "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece", an exploration of automobiles at the intersection of art in conjunction with Frieze New York 2021, as well as the 50th anniversary of BMW Group Cultural Engagement. The virtual art installation is supported by videos of the exhibit's creation process on YouTube and Instagram.

The installment is the brain child of creative technologist Nathan Shipley of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and Gary Yeh, art connoisseur/founder of artDrunk. The duo used the NVIDIA StyleGAN artificial intelligence model to "cross-reference over 50,000 images of artwork spanning 900 years of history and a curated set of 50 works from renowned and emerging contemporary artists BMW has worked with over the past 50 years", according to a release.

Frieze New York 2021: "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece"

Photo courtesy of BMW

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The artificial intelligence then used those pieces to create entirely new art, merging classical art with the work of contemporary artists. These new works have been projection-mapped onto a virtual rendition of BMW's flagship 8 Series Gran Coupe.

"For 50 years, BMW has supported the arts and culture through numerous initiatives as a way engage and interact with consumers around the world in an authentic way," said Uwe Dreher, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America. "As we continue these efforts into 2021, and look for new and creative ways to engage audiences, we shift to a virtual setting where we are combining centuries-old art and the latest AI technology to create something completely new and exciting."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shipley and Yeh collaborated digitally from their homes in San Francisco and Seoul for the project.

"During an unusually isolated time in history, we took the opportunity to curate and work with artists from around the world as a means to give viewers a true art experience digitally," said Gary Yeh, art collector and founder of ArtDrunk. It was particularly exciting to push the boundaries of art, see how technology may influence the art world in the years to come, and build on 50 years of cultural engagement at BMW."

Frieze New York is currently in its 10th edition and taking place at The Shed in Manhattan through May 9. The venue is new and features an event reimagined for its new location, bringing together over 60 major galleries. A dedicated edition of Frieze Viewing Room will run parallel to the fair, through May 14, and will feature an expanded list of over 160 exhibitors.

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