Geoffrey Goldberg


In the years following the Second World War, Lancia was the most innovative automotive company in Italy, if not in the world. The Lancia cars were technically advanced, with an elegant and competitive design on the track. For more than four decades, Francesco de Virgilio was one of the primary figures in the history of Lancia. De Virgilio entered the company as a young engineer in 1939, becoming a member of the Lancia family, when he married the niece of the founder Vincenzo Lancia, in 1947. In Lancia and de Virgilio, the author Geoffrey Goldberg examines the life and career of De Virgilio from multiple perspectives. Drawing on a large number of original documents, technical drawings and photographs from the archives of the De Virgilio family, Goldberg reveals the essential role of De Virgilio in the projects that defined Lancia during its best years in the 1940s and 50s. These include the development of the first production V6 engine, launching and improvement of the Lancia Aurelia, and the management of the short racing program of the company, which produced the classic D50 Formula One car. In addition to engineering and competitions, De Virgilio was directly involved in the events that effected the management and position of Lancia in the Italian automotive industry. In 1955, the family released its control of the company, leading to its eventual acquisition by Fiat in 1969. Through all these upheavals, De Virgilio continued to experiment and innovate, working on multiple projects, from diesel engines for trucks to the first versions of the rally car Stratos in the 1970s. Whatever the assignment, his persistent search for excellence remained a constant element defining Lancia, up to his departure from the company in 1975. Despite his technical successes and his popularity ¬†within the company, De Virgil’s contributions have been widely neglected to date.

Produced with the support of the RevS Institute for Automotive Research, Lancia and de Virgilio is the product of more than six years of meticulous research. The book is illustrated with hundreds of unpublished photographs that depict the images of Francesco de Virgilio at work, on the track and at home with his family, as well as dozens of drawings, projects and other finds. In addition to this abundance of details and information, the book, also captures the vibrant spirit of Italian, culture and society during the post-war period. Lancia and de Virgilio provides unique insight into both automotive and social history. The book was greatly appreciated by enthusiasts: it won several awards, including the Cugnot Award of the Society of Auto Historians for the best book of the year. It was also reviewed by the New York Times and the Republic, a rather exceptional event for a book on a company and its history already seventy years in the past.

This limited edition reprint is an opportunity not to be missed for those who did not secure the first edition in 2014.