Available in Italy: 1949 DeLuca Fiat-Lancia Sport

How is it possible to look at this stunning 1949 De Luca Fiat-Lancia Sport Special and not fall in love? It’s an Italian representation of a hot-rodding zeitgeist that was taking hold worldwide in at the end of the 1940s.

This bare utility is one of the things I so love about early barchettas. The interior could not be more sparse. The exposed backsides of the door skins attest to the lightness that was built into this special for (by?) Senore De Luca, “the wolf of Calabrese” (note the amazing wolf head mascot). I’ve had no luck in finding De Luca’s racing history, but sellers Cristiano Luzzago say the car has period appearances at the Circuito di Posillipo (probably the ’49 running of the GP Napoli though I find no matching car in their entry list) and Grio delle Calabrie.

I adore everything about it—the Stance, the utilitarian design, the minimal embellishment. I have no real reason for this, but the leaf-spring front end is something I’m kind of obsessed with lately. I think it’s something to do with the backyard shed and garage engineered use of the leaf-spring front suspension in everything from the T-Bucket to the Cooper 500s. I just see those leaves poking out where we’re used to seeing A-arms, and my head spins. That’s what this Fiat frame meets Lancia Ardea drivetrain really is when we get down to it: The early Italian version of the later hated Garagistas.

Let’s face it, if this didn’t have the words “Fiat-Lancia” attached to it, you might think it was a garage-built Southern California custom with a Ford V8 under the hood. In many ways, it is. And I love this little street rod for it.

More photos and details on Cristaino Luzzago’s inventory page.

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