Antinori-commissioned ‘van’ commands a classic price
19th June, 2014 by Richard Ross
A classic vehicle, commissioned by the Marchese Antinori in the late 1940s, may be the world’s most expensive wine delivery van, with a current asking price of over £75,000.
The Lancia Aprilia Francis Lombardi ‘Woody’ was commissioned by the Tuscan proprietor Marchese Niccolò Antinori in 1948, adapted from a standard four-seater car into a stylish wood-panelled station wagon – just the thing for delivering a few cases of Castello della Sala or Badia a Passignano.
The Lancia Aprilia was a technically-advanced car for its time, and Antinori approached aircraft builder (and World War I flying ace) Francis Lombardi to build this one-off special using the Lancia as a base. The rear door opens to offer a sizeable space for carrying luggage or wine.
Although there is clear proof that the car was commissioned by Antinori, the detail of how the vehicle was used by the family is less clear. Approached on behalf of The Drinks Business, the current head of the family, Piero Antinori , who would have been a young man when the vehicle was commissioned by his father, could shed no further light on what the Lancia was used for. We can only speculate on its role in delivering fine wines in stylish surroundings.
The car was discovered by a group of Italian Lancia enthusiasts in 2004, and underwent a complete restoration to bring it to its current state. It is now being offered for sale by Bernard Marreyt, a classic car dealer in Belgium, for €95,000. Marreyt describes the car as a “once in a lifetime classic”.
For those whose budget doesn’t stretch quite that far, 1/43 scale model versions of the car have been produced at a slightly more affordable price of around £200.