Aurea built sidevalve and overhead valve four-cylinder cars with engines that started at 1460 cc in the S.V. version engine, but later were increased to 1479 cc in both S.V. and O.H.V. engine configurations. Only the "S" type MONZA factory racing version contained the OHV type engine. The cars were well-made, but fairly heavy. Regular production of Aureas stopped around 1926, but the company produced a few more cars from existing parts and maintained parts supply under for the vehicles under Ceirano's new ownership and management from late 1926 onwards.Post last Aurea vehicle assembly, the same factory was used to manufacture Ceirano commercial vehicles, particularly trucks.
Three model series of the Aurea were produced:
- Series 400 model - 1920 to 1922 production; No "S" versions, 5 passenger body styles; 1460cc engine, rear wheel brakes only, wooden artillery type wheels.
- Series 500 model - 1923 to mid-1925, "S" type OHV introduced as top line model - 4 wheel brakes and wire wheels; all other passenger models have 2 wheel brakes and wooden artillery wheels and are rear wheel brake only.
- Series 600 model – mid-1925 to late 1926 – Body style changes to increase width of passenger compartment; radiator badge contains abbreviation "FATA" re: Fascist era of production (early Aurea's do not contain this). "S" OHV version still in production. FATA is "Fabrica Anonima Torinese Automobili".
Wire wheels on Aurea are "clinker" or "B.E." type rims of French Michelin origin at 18 inches diameter and are identical to that of the FIAT 509 model (some FIAT's have "Dunlop" brand as similar).
Brake front end type is very similar to that of the "Amilcar". All Aurea front I beam axles contain a casting of the Aurea radiator badge insignia at front centre (between I beam top and bottom web).
Aurea radiators are German Silver construction and contain a rare French "Gallay" core identical to that of the Silver Ghost Rolls Royce; The radiator cap is bakelite and brass and identical to that of early 20's vintage FIAT cars (501,503,505,509 & 510 models).
Aurea Factory site is located in Turin close to FIAT.
The factory survived from 1926 to World War II under Ceirano management producing Aurea spares and Ceirano Commercial vehicles (not cars). The factory was bombed and destroyed around 1941 according to Italian Historians.
Of those examples surviving:
Series 400 - 1 remnant vehicle in Australia, NSW; One ex Australian vehicle now being driven in UK. Series 500 - 1 only low mileage original vehicle located in Northern Italy. Series 600 - 1 only example, running and complete with Australian (Wagga based) body, in Melbourne Australia.
It is believed a second and original British bodied Aurea survives in England, but has not been seen or heard of for at 25 years (per this year 2008 comment).
6 vehicles are confirmed as arriving in Australia at Parammatta Agency (confirmed by son of ex Aurea garage mechanic from that establishment,located in Parramatta Road) - At least two OHV versions; 1 off discarded car burnt out in bushfire blaze in the early 1970s S.W. of Sydney; remanats of second OHV car found at Dandenong, Melbourne in the late 1950s, same vehicle's engine found at Ballarat Victoria in the early 1980s; 1 only Series 600 arrived, bodied at coachbuilder Wagga Wagga N.S.W in 1926, moved to Harrietville VIC. in 1929 and survived there until the late 1950s and known as the "Roarer Farter" after radiator badge wording "Aurea FATA"; This vehicle resided at Bright VIC. until the early 1990s; At least 2 series 400 arrived, one residing at Hawthorn Melbourne for many years before residing in Ballarat VIC during the late 1970s through 1980s; At least one Series 500 (standard car)arrived in Australia, it was raced by the Parammatta Aurea Mechanic (in standard form) in the first, and several successive Warrick Farm (Sydney)raceway events.
Only two Australian new-sales agencies were known - 1 at Parramatta Rd. Parramatta Sydney and 1 in Wagga Wagga, N.S.W. No known agencies existed in Melbourne or any other Australian State.
Aureas were only exported ex Italy to England, Austria and Australia. Italian vehicles received Italian made bodies; Australian bound vehicles were exported via England and contain either a British made body or Australian made body. All Aurea have a typical "gable" type bonnet and scuttle arrangement similar to the late 1920s FIAT and all Ceirano, Lancia and other Italian makes of that period.
The Aurea 1460 and 1490 cc S.V. engine is similar to that of a FIAT 501 design, but is unique. Aurea engine and drivetrain components can only be identified by a cast oval containing the word "Aurea" at top centre of gearbox bellhousing, as per Ceirano vehicle arrangement. Aurea use American 6 Volt Westinghouse starting and generating systems. generator is mounted in gearbox and similar to the Metallurgique car arrangement.
Aurea vehicles contain Veglia instruments from the Veglia family of Bolongna Italy; later versions contain O.S. instruments as a variation of the Veglia standard type. Amp gauge is American Westinghouse and oil gauge is "Aurea" insignia marked.
All Aurea vehicles are right hand drive formation, as this was law in Italy before that countries road laws changed; hence they were suitable for British and Colonial use.
Series 400 Aureas contain a 3 speed gearbox; Series 500 and 600 vehicles contain a 4 speed gearbox with a central mounted gear change gate and a reverse "block - out" button located in centre of gear knob.
Top speed of the later 500 and 600 series models in standard production form is @ 40 miles per hour. The OHV "S" versions typically have two-seater aluminium bodies and an extra 15 to 20 mile per hour top speed and much better stopping capability.
The steering box of Aurea are virtually identical to the FIAT 501 model but do not contain the characteristic FIAT throttle arrangement. Aurea vehicles have a throttle knob located longitudinally parallel to the steering column rod and protrude through toe board plate.
Aurea contain a "carden-shaft" rear end similar to FIAT design.
Cooling systems are of the thermosyphon type with no water pump. The carburettor is of the sidedraft type SOLEX design and are a rarer 28 mm SOLEX throat diameter. Four cold-start priming caps reside in-head for winter starting.
Battery location is underfloor for non-Italian vehicles and running board mounted (in-box) otherwise.
Magneto is the Marelli brand, located on vehicles passenger side and reverse rotation to that of FIAT 501.
Interior body trim on all vehicles is of a very high standard for the vehicles market segment; In-general the vehicles were aimed at the middle-car market and appealed aesthetically with "higher than average" upholstery quality and internal fitting appointments.
The steering wheel of an Aurea is exactly that of the Lancia Lambda and is moulded in "Shellanite" (Shell brand bakelite).
English and Australian passenger compartment body styling resembles that of the English "Clyno" car, but is approximately the same dimensions as the larger FIAT 501 vehicle.
Series 400 and 600 Aurea vehicles contain single bulb headlight arrangements similar in style to that of German "Bosch" brand shape, and contain the cast word "Aurea" at the top front of the headlights cast aluminium bezel. Series 600 vehicles contain a rarer twin bulb headlight, similar to Bosch Lancia Lambda style, but are of the Italian "Carello" brand and are all-brass with a unique Carello headlight glass. The taillight assembly is a cylindrical type and similar, but not the same as FIAT vehicles. British taillights are rectangular and "jeweled", being similar to that of the English "Clyno" Car.
An original OHV Aurea factory team racing car survives located in Sicily - This vehicle has MONZA factory racing origin. These vehicles raced at MONZA competitively for 1 or 2 years reliably but unsuccessfully in their vehicle class.
The Aurea is a rare and obscure vehicle, rarely seen in the world. The above text captures scant knowledge of these vehicles and stands to be corrected by anyone holding more detailed and concise information. The entries reflect the limited knowledge of one lonely Aurea owner whom which the information has been gained over a 15-year period. The only known and most useful source of information on these vehicles is contained in the archives of the National Italian Motor Museum in Turin Italy. The above-listed information should only be taken as a compliment to that reference source, which also contains examples of English manufacturing information, particularly body styles. Some information on technical details is contained at Lord Montague's Beaulieu Museum archives in the United Kingdom, particularly a reference copy vehicle manual of the Series 400 car type.
- DB Auto - profile of Aurea
- Pre-War Car. Images of FATA Aurea
- Voitures Europeennes d'Autrefois, Vintage European Automobiles. F.A.T.A. (Italy)
- Enciclopedia dell'Automobile - Volumi singoli, Profile of Aurelia. Pages 97 - 98. (at Google books)
- Image of Fabbrica Anonima Torinese Automobile - F.A.T.A. - AUREA - SPYDER - modelo 1923 - 15/18 HP