Vintage Postcard: 1923(?) Lancia Lambda Limousine Coupe Weyman – Way Ahead Of Its Time With Unibody, IFS, 4-Wheel Brakes And A SOHC V4

It looks like a typical 1920s town car that’s been chopped and channeled; look how low that driver is sitting, like in a sports car. We’ve sung the high praises to lots of later Lancias here over the years, but the legend really started with the 1922 Lambda, a car that was radically ahead of its time, pioneering a number of new technologies in a production car: Unitized construction (hence the low profile), independent front suspension, four wheel brakes, shock absorbers, and a compact narrow angle SOHC V4 engine.

The Lambda was more typically seen with open two and four seater bodywork, but this Limousine Coupe by Weyman shows that it could dress up formally too.

Here’s a Lambda chassis, showing how the unitized body construction worked. Obviously it was a bit different than modern unibodies, where the roof structure plays a significant role. It worked brilliantly at a time when cars sat tall on their big and heavy ladder frames, allowing the Lambda to be substantially lighter. And with its sliding pillar front suspension and low center of gravity, its handling was in a wholly diofferent league.


The V4 was built in two versions, with 13 and 14 degree angles between the banks, similar to VW’s VR engine family, which allowed it use a single head, with a single ohc. Although its displacement was modest (21., 2.4, 2.6 L), its power was quite high for the times (49, 59, 69 hp, respectively), giving the light Lambda sparkling performance at the time.

The Lambda’s performance and handling made it more suitable for a sports car body, like this one by Zagato, than a limousine, but it was game to play many roles.