The D23 is from a time when Lancia pursued successes in international motorsport with full force.
It formed an important connection between two other legendary Lancia racing cars, the D20 and the D24, and recalls the Carrera Panamericana, one of the toughest, greatest and most dangerous street races of all.
The D23 that is waiting for us on Zandvoort circuit’s hallowed Tarmac is on loan from the Louwman Museum in The Hague and is a survivor in the truest sense of the word: of the three D23s that emerged from the Turin works only this car, chassis 0002, still exists.
To understand the D23’s place in the history of Lancia, we have to start with its predecessor, the D20.
In the early 1950s, Lancia raced and rallied with its elegant six-cylinder coupé, the Aurelia B20 GT, with great aplomb, including second on the 1951 Mille Miglia and a class victory at LeMans.
But for Gianni Lancia, son of founder Vincenzo, that was not enough.
He was hungry for success on the world stage, so he had a sports-racer developed specially for road races such as the Mille Miglia.