The Appia Door
I have been thinking about Appias recently. I have many fond memories of these little cars. Many years ago in my teenage years I found one in the hills of northern California in a place called Canyon. High up a dirt road was a little black series 2 sedan next to a small chicken farm. Of course someone had piled firewood on the roof but other than that it was a very nice specimen. The boldness of youth and the deserted area led me to one day open a door on the car. Heck it looked abandon to me. That door opened and closed like a bank vault. Amazing. (not to mention there wasn't even a central pillar involved.) I was fascinated. As time progressed every now and again I would visit the car and show a friend this amazing little jewel in the woods with doors that worked like.... Well they worked like Appia doors which is really to set a standard for anything else to meet. On occasion we would even sit in the little car and admire its' ashtrays or some other feature. Always respectful of course. (Years later I tracked down the owner, bought the car, and towed it down the mountain with a borrowed 1947 pickup with bad brakes & worse steering. We nearly lost the trailer on a decrepit little one lane bridge over a creek . It was sheer madness. Tried to back the trailer up that steep hill with a bad clutch in the truck. Oh goodness. I'd say it was an event bordering on wild adventure. I built a motor for it, treated it to some fresh black paint and enjoyed it like few things I had ever owned. It was discovered that the original wool 1959 interior existed underneath those seatcovers. The covers were probably put on by the dealer as underneath the wool was perfect. A light tan no less. My girlfriend June and I used to drive it up the the hills and watch the sunsets over San Francisco drinking Zinfandel in the back seat with the two doors open to give a panorama view. That little car became known as Augie and he went many places. Good old Augie.)
As the story continues, years later a fellow comes by with an Appia rear door. I think it was Rolly of Rolly & Neb the two brothers with all the Lancias in Marin. ( One of them had taken the interior out of a Flaminia Berlina in his back yard and put a nice big bed in there. I have no idea how he got the bed inside the car, but aparantly it made for very nice sleeping on those warm summer evenings.
This door needed a home, so I bought it for no good reason other than it was an Appia door. I put it away maybe 20 years ago. I knew I had it & would occasionally remember it was in the basement, but never knew what on earth I could do with it.
And then last night I had a bit of Appia fever. I was going to look for a picture in a book, or maybe read some Lancia road test praising one. You know. A little reading before bed time.
Heck! I've got an Appia door in the basement. Haven't looked at it for 20 years. I wonder how it's doing...
Well I fished it out of the wine cellar (It has been aging in good company at least) and turned it around. Wow! It has red leather! I had no idea... It's beautiful. I figured I'd better take a picture or two to share with anyone else who might appreciate it.
Here's the back with some nice Italian handwriting:
Here's an Orange leather interior in Another Appia for reference:
Heat often kills the glue for the insulation. Like a little volcano of horse hair.
Very nice window crank. It has absolutely no slop or play.
I was trying to figure out how the trim was assembled. Look at this little junction. You can hardly find the seam even if you are looking for it. That's nice build quality. Notice the aluminum trim in the foreground also has a seam. Wow. That is an amazing fit.
Took ages to find this screw buried in the weatherstrip.
There it is from a 90 degree angle.
Wow again. That's enough for one night. I haven't even approached the door lock.
Well here's the frame and I have to say they lost money on every one. What build quality.
What a great find in the basement. Like a three dimensional book, or a live show instead of a recording.
I'll try to continue this essay when I get another chance. Now off to find a book for that bed time read. Maybe an Appia parts manual would be interesting about now.