Six of Thornley Kelham's Aurelia restomod builds are spoken for – the final three promise to be extra special
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, November 17, 2021 / Loading comments
That Lancias have proven popular in the world of restomodification is no great surprise. No other manufacturer boasts the same curious mix of iconic back catalogue and bewilderingly mediocre contemporary lineup. Ardent fans have revitalised the Stratos, Delta and, most recently, the 037, all with spectacular results. Now it’s time for another new (old) one: the Thornley Kelham Lancia Aurelia ‘Outlaw’ European CSL.
Some may already be aware of Thornley Kelham’s work, as six of its Outlaws have already been commissioned. Inspired by Aurelia chassis number 1010 – also known as Giovanni Bracco’s extremely successful racer with the lowered roof – all of the Outlaws are subject to thousands of hours of careful restoration and optimisation.
From the outset it was said that just nine would be built – rarity being paramount in the restomod world – but also sourcing an Aurelia is probably a tad harder than an E-Type or 964. For the final three of the Outlaw run, Thornley Kelham is building a trio of ‘European CSL’ cars, all with more power, less weight, and an even greater focus on driver reward. They promise to be petty epic.
Power is now from the Alfa Busso V6, where previous Outlaws has used a smaller, less powerful Lancia engine. More than 300hp is promised from the 3.2-litre engine, driving through a five-speed transaxle gearbox and limited-slip diff. Thornley says the CSL upgrade helps deliver “a razor-sharp purity that simply can’t be recreated, even in the most driver focused road cars of today.”
That feeling will be helped along by some significant weight loss for these final cars, with steel panels substituted by aluminium ones to save 75kg. When the whole thing only weighs around 1,100kg, that should be noticeable. And if you’re also thinking this Lancia looks spectacularly brilliant, that’s because the chassis and body work – lowering the roof, rolling the wings, nickel-plating the brightwork and so on – takes almost half the build time. Or 2,200 hours. Thornley Kelham says getting a ‘basket case’ Aurelia to a car like this takes 5,000 hours…
Moreover, the CSLs won’t just look and sound fantastic – they ought to drive really nicely, too. Apparently, the aim for these final build was a fast road spec, one “very much in the image of the Aurelia’s nimble road rally personality – albeit one more in line with the expectations of the modern performance car owner.” All Outlaws have been given disc brakes and rack and pinion steering; the European CSLs will improve on those cars with overhauled suspension front and rear, the option of power steering, plus the aforementioned limited-slip diff. An “entirely different thrill to heavy modern road cars with turbocharged engines and wide tyres” is promised – excellent news.
Plus, of course, there’s the inside. In redoing the cabin, Thornley Kelham uses Connolly leather throughout with Alcantara headlining, plus a built-in cage, air-con and wood-rimmed competition wheel. Any request can be accommodated, too, so if you want helmet stowage somewhere, a bespoke dash or two-tone trim, nothing is out of the question.
You’ll pay for that privilege, of course. Given the first six Outlaws cost their owners £400k, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a CSL could be half a million quid. But you would if you could, right? Singers are everywhere these days. And if the Aurelia isn’t to your taste, or they’re all gone by the time that Lotto jackpot lands, fear not: the CSL is part of a project range called ‘The Europeans’ that Thornley Kelham will build over the coming years. If they come out even half as good as this Aurelia, we’re all in for a treat.
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Image credit | Charlie B Photography
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