The Illustrated Lancia

The illustrated Lancia by Nigel Trow ISBN: 0-952-3009-6-6 Published by Palawan, £150.00 (Alcantara: £350.00; Leather: £550.00;)

Trow begins this work with refreshing frankness, saying that his ground has already “been thoroughly turned over”. His aim is to show that people buy Lancias because of the way they look. So, a book with an aesthetic — rather than historical — viewpoint.

And it is a very beautiful book indeed, with striking page-spreads which arrest the eye, quite apart from the content Huge technical drawings sit alongside 1930s brochure artwork and photos of Lancia’s Modernist offices; badges stand alone on white pages, contrasting with bright coloured chapteropeners. Every page draws the eye, yet the text does not suffer; it tells a clear story of technical brilliance against a background of shaky economics. Trow smoothly weaves in the social, political and personal histories, showing how crucially Vicenzo Lancia himself moulded his creation, and manages to be admiring without being reverential. Most impressive of all is his Afterword, a short, powerful and critical overview which carries all the more weight for coming at the end of the story. Costly, but a pleasure to read. GC