In the 1950s racing specials were a way to compete against the factory machinery. They came in all sizes and shapes. A German special with German race history but based on a Lancia has been uncovered in Iowa. The Lancia Fischhaber Eigenbau (Translation: Mr Fischhaber’s Lancia Special), used Lancia Aprilia running gear, Lancia sliding pillar front suspension, a well made tube frame, aluminum body and clever engineering. It was built, raced and wrecked, in Germany in the first half of 1953.
Hans Fischhaber was a well known Lancia racer. He had raced specials (Eigenbau) from 1950 to 1952. His results were getting worse. Nothing ages quicker than an old race car and something new was needed. On May 31st, 1953, Herr Fischhaber arrived at Nurburgring with his new Lancia special. It was short, quick and well engineered. Information is limited, but it appears he raced the car at Avus and Nurburgring (possibly twice) with the car ending wrong side up, with a bent nose.
There is a gap in the history of the car from 1953 to 1966 when it turned up at a used car dealership in southern Germany. It had been converted to road use with an MGA windshield, convertible top and new nose. The car was purchased by an American and brought back to the USA. After a little use it was retired to the barn.
Word has filtered down from pervious owners that the car originally had three engines – 1100cc, 1300cc both with single carb and 1500cc with twin carbs. The 1100cc engine is currently in the car with the others, lost to time. Fischhaber’s Special uses Lancia Sliding Pillar front suspension, modified Aprilia rear suspension – the transverse leaf rear spring has been replaced with coil over springs and tubular shock absorbers. The car has inboard rear brakes with the generator mounted above the right brake drum. A fan belt from the brake drum to the generator keeps the battery charged. Ingenious! The Special has racing jack lift points built into the front and rear of the frame. The tube frame is very well built. Pedals, brackets and even the front axle has been drilled to lighten up the package.