Bus Stop Classics: 1920 – 1975 Lancia Buses – Italian Flair

Several weeks ago we looked at buses built by Alfa Romeo – today, let’s review another storied Italian manufacturer better know for its svelte coupes, handsome sedans, and rip-snorting rally cars.

Like Alfa, Lancia manufactured cars, trucks, and buses from the early to the latter portion of the twentieth century. And again like Alfa, in the 1920’s and ‘30s, they built some extremely large coaches.  The bus above is a Lancia Omicron L, built from 1930-36.  As the GM PD 4501 Scenicruiser and other bi-level buses are referred to as a “deck and a half”, I guess we could call the Omicron L a “double deck and a half.”

The Omicron was a long distance bus used on the Rome to Tivoli route.  It was powered by a big Lancia Type 77 706 cubic inch six cylinder gas engine putting out 95 hp.  It seated 88 passengers, with the upper rear a first-class section.  I couldn’t find any dimensions but it looks well over 40 feet long.

Here’s a slightly smaller deck and a half model from 1938.

After the war, in the late 40’s-early ’50’s, Lancia continued marketing both intercity and urban transit models – mostly conventional designs.


Then in in the early ‘50’s, they developed their first semi-monocoque bodied model; the “Esatau” built from 1951 all the way to the mid-60’s.  Above is a schematic of the urban transit version, and a picture of the intercity model. They came with a variety of front-mounted engines, one being a large version of Lancia’s V10 gas engine, that had up to 144 hp.




Styling was updated every year or so – some fairly “unique”…

Lancia also built a double-decker model, the DDS, in 1964.

The Esatau was replaced by the “Esagamma” in the latter ‘60’s – here in urban transit form.  Engine was moved from the front to underfloor amidships, behind the front axle.  Most used a Lancia laydown six cylinder diesel, in various sizes.

This Esagamma chassis has a body by Spanish maker Pegaso.

Here is a nice looking Esagamma intercity step-up design, from 1969.

Lancia’s bus and truck division was winding down by the 1970’s.  This 1974 ATM model was one of the last built. Interesting asymmetrical grill.

Lancia continued making trucks and buses until 1975 when it’s truck and bus division merged with Fiat, OM, Unic, and Magirus-Deutz to form IVECO.