Monday, June 6, 2016
(My) Lancia Appia, Series 3
(Photo: astonnuts Laon, France)
Traveling back from Ensenada in the mid-80s using a remote rural road that, at times, brought to mind William Friedkin's film Sorcerer, I happened upon a Lancia like the one pictured here but in better condition. It was parked in front of a house along the road and, instinctively, I knew I wanted the car. I went to the door of the house and knocked having no idea of the reception I would receive but hoping for the best. A man who spoke no English answered and we managed to converse with my smattering of Spanish along with a word or two of English the owner seemed to recognize. I was able to convey the fact that I wanted to buy his car. All the while, I am wondering how a Lancia Appia found its way to a backwater village in rural Mexico.
I inspected the car and the paperwork that established the man's ownership. I listened to the sound of that lovely V4 engine and looked for signs of rust in the bodywork. I was falling in love with the car which, though hardly a performance car, was a gem of engineering excellence and the fine touches of Italian elegance could be seen everywhere from the design of the V4 engine to the manner in which the front and rear doors opened --the rear doors being of the 'suicide' configuration. We negotiated a price and I bought the car on the spot.
I spent the rest of the drive back to Los Angeles savoring my purchase and imagining how this jewel of a car ended up in my path in such an improbable location. I wondered, too, who would have been taking care of servicing the Lancia--when I looked under the hood, I had feared finding a replacement for the Lancia engine and happily that wasn't the case. In my mind, I planned on who I would ask to accompany me back into Mexico to take delivery of the car--probably Gary Wales--and what sort of paperwork I would need to clear customs and satisfy insurance. I had visions of the car fully refurbished gleaming in my driveway.
Inexplicably, I never returned to collect the car. I wonder if it is still there awaiting my arrival...