In 1922 the Lancia Lambda was the first production car to
incorporate independent front suspension, the first with monocoque (chassis-less)
construction, first with aluminum engine block, first with over-head cam, first
with four wheel brakes, first with remote
central gear change, and a transmission tunnel and on and on and on. A whole range of features that many
other car manufacturers did not take up until well into the fifties.
The story of how Ing. Battista Falchetto, upon being asked by Vincenzo Lancia to come up with an independent front suspension is now part of Lancia Lore. Falchetto worked well into the early hours of the next morning to produce sketch drawings of 14 possible independent front suspension (IFS) designs. That his 1921 sketches included virtually every type of IFS introduced by other car manufactures during the next thirty years is quite remarkable.
In 1937, the Lancia Aprilla had cross-flow hemispherical combustion chambers (can you say "Hemi") , independent rear suspension with 'perfect' geometry and inboard rear brakes. The 1937 Aprilla's handling, even on old fashioned cross ply-tyres can leave drivers of modern cars struggling to keep up on twisty roads. Variations of Lancia's independent rear suspension are still used in many new front wheel drive cars on the road today.
Lancia was the first production car with an electrical system, the first modern front wheel drive production car. In fact, with few exceptions, Lancias have been almost exclusively front wheel drive cars for decades. And Volkswagen's hot new "extreme narrow 'V' engine"?......Lancia did it very successfully in the Fulvia over 30 years ago. Lancia's firsts just go on and on. There can be little doubt that Lancia is one of, if not THE most innovative automobile companies in the world. And Lancia's racing and rally heritage.....The 037 and Stratos are legendary, and the four wheel drive Lancia Delta set a record which remains unbeaten today, winning six consecutive Rally World Championships from 1987 to 1992.