There some references in “Papa Hemingway” by A. E. Hotchner (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1966) which should interest Lancia fanatics. For instance, in 1954 Hemingway is described as making a trip to the Riviera, via Milan, Padua and Verona and eventually to Madrid in a Lancia, the way in which it took “the corkscrew turns with the rhythm of a fast pendulum” being greatly to the enjoyment of the famous American author. I do not know what type of Lancia this was but in 1956 Hemingway goes to Madrid again “in a Lancia, larger than his last one, which was being driven over from Italy.” A photograph shows this to have been an Aurelia. It was driven some of the time by Mario, the Lancia racing driver, which suggests that Lancia may have lent it to Hemingway. It was Mario who drove rapidly back to a cafe at which Mary Hemingway had inadvertently left her handbag, containing their passports, jewels and 17,000 dollars, to find it still on the table where she had left it, guarded by a Guardis Civil. It was Mario who frightened two unwelcome German journalists into almost a state of collapse by driving them at high speed after Hemingway had told him “Don’t spare the horses”. He cruised down the road to Madrid with “. . . . the needle at one hundred and fifteen kilometres and kept it there, carts, bikes or high water . . . . Mario darted between and around and virtually over the steady stream of slow moving objects that cluttered the road. He double-shifted screaming tyres around the hairpin curves, and we pulled up in front of the Prado in nineteen minutes instead of the usual thirty-two.” Hemingway shook Mario’s hand and was delighted, and so, apparently, was Mario, as he hated the Germans as a result of Nazi brutalities visited upon his family.
Another interesting passage in this personal memoir of Hemingway reads: “The automobile was Ernest’s favourite mode of travel because, he said, it was the best way to see the countryside, the most mobile, and it kept him safe from contact with his fellow travellers. The inside of the chosen auto. – Lancia. Packard or Chevrolet – was always a morass of rain gear, vest gear, footgear, food, maps, binoculars, wine bottles, liqueur bottles, medicine bottles, cameras, caps, magazines, newspapers, books, brief-cases (containing work in progress, ice sacks, drinking glasses, limes, knives and spare socks.” The book contains a delightful account of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, who had a custom-built Hotchkiss, “one of the most elegant and expensive French cars of its day”. Scott seized on the idea of having the taxi driver he had encountered by chance in Montmarte go immediately to America with him, so that he would have a true Frenchman to drive his new Hotchkiss, even then being loaded on the boat, in America. Protests were no use and the taxi driver was prevailed upon to sail. But in America he wasn’t allowed to change the oil and grease, because Scott insisted they were French oil and grease and must not be changed. So the beautiful Hotchkiss was just wearing out. And in a fit of temper at Hemingway leaving him Scott kicked out the windscreen, cutting his foot in the process.
My earlier guess about Lancia probably lending cars to Hemingway is borne out in a later chapter, when the author remarks on “The new Lancia, the first Ernest had actually owned”. That was in 1959; the car “took the bad Spanish roads in beautiful stride and Ernest was very proud of it.” Alas, it was wrecked, without anyone being hurt, when its driver Bill went to sleep on an after-dinner run on the road from Biarritz to Madrid when, after tearing up several cement road markers, it careened across a ditch and a field, but did not turn over.–W. B.