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body art

In design with

These scalpel wielders have shaped the design evolution of the

automobile. Meet those who have excelled at this art
Text: Gautam Sen
Photos Courtesy: Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Bertone, Bonhams, CitroËn, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia, pininfarina, zagato
With inputs from Edward Hadley

t he art of coachbuilding must be

old. Very old. Dating back to the times
Carmakers like Oldsmobile and Ford
went the mass production route and for
design better looking cars, and eventu-
ally influence the evolution of automo-
men used coaches and carriages drawn that it made sense to make standard tive design.
by man's favourite beast of burden. bodies that kept costs down. But All the major carmaking nations had
Whether it was Arjuna's carriage in the carmakers catering to the upper end of great coachbuilders: famous names like
Mahabharata, or whether it was Alexan- the market realised that the more Barker, Gurney Nutting, Hooper, H J
der the Great's carriage that traversed discerning customers preferred their Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, etc
Asia Minor, carriages and coaches have cars 'tailored' to their requirements and from the UK, or Brewster, Brunn,
been made since time immemorial, with tastes, thus ensuring the role of the Murphy, Derham and Willoughby from
each region developing its own style coachbuilder. So carmakers like the US, and then Baur, Erdmann & Rossi
and tradition, with the potentates able Rolls-Royce, Hispano Suiza, Isotta and Karmann from Germany. Many of
to order the most magnificent of them Fraschini and many others preferred them made elegant and beautiful cars,
all. Thus when the horseless carriage supplying just the mechanicals and the but few really pushed the boundaries of
came into being, the business of chassis, leaving it to the customer to go design the way the French and Italian
building coaches moved from the horse to a coachbuilder of his choice to clothe coachbuilders did. In the following pages
drawn variety to the horsepowered the car. Over time, as coachbuilders is a selection of some of the best of the
variety, and with that came new looked for more business, they realised French and Italian coachbuilders and
technologies in terms of materials and the need for better aesthetics, and thus design houses that contributed enor-
methods. the need for designers who could mously to automotive design history.

Zagato-bodied 1938 Lancia Aprilia Sport

october 2008 Auto India 77

In design with
castagna studying engineering between 1897 and
1901, re-oriented the coachbuilding
Commodore. With its lateral windows,
green two-toning, flowing lines with silver
Though the Castagna family was business towards the automotive direction. plating and upholstery in snakeskin, the
into coachbuilding since 1849, it was With the death of his father during WW I, design saw decent success, with as many
Ercole Castagna, born in 1885, who after Ercole took over the reign of Carrozzeria as ten being built. Castagna also designed
Castagna, which contributed to the war a beautiful body on the Mercedes SS, of
effort making ambulances and boats. With which five examples were made.
the end of the war, Ercole's younger With the Great Depression, Castagna's
brother Emilio joined the firm after New York showroom had to be closed
graduating from the arts school of Brera, down, and at the same time, the control of
designing most of the great Castagna cars the company passed to the three daughters
till 1934, including a series of magnificent of Ercole. With the market for luxury cars
Isotta Fraschinis during 1928 and 1929, down and out, with Isotta Fraschini
2005 Aria concept specifically for the New York motor show. collapsing and Alfa Romeo turning more
from a new Castagna
The most remarkable was the roadster and more to Carrozzeria Touring, Castagna
had less and less business, as their style
Typical Castagna coachwork was too elegant and too elaborate for the
on this 1933 Lancia Astura times, when the focus was more on
lightness and aerodynamics.
During WW II, the Castagna facilities were
completely destroyed, and had to be rebuilt
post-war. A few bodies based on Fiats and
Alfas followed, but by 1953 the company
passed into receivership, though Ercole
kept working till his death in 1968. Though
the original company ceased operations in
1954, the famous name has been revived
and is back in business, the latest being a
special derivative of the new Mini.

pourtout distinctive and prestigious bodies for cars

from numerous European carmakers.
flair for car design. He became Pourtout’s
designer. Over the years the designs that
CarrosseriE Pourtout was one of the Pre-war Pourtout bodies were mainly came from Paulin’s fertile imagination
lesser known, but highly respected French one-off, bespoke creations, always very confirmed that the suave Frenchman was
coachbuilders from before WW II. Founded aerodynamic and sporting in character. one of the greatest designers of the
by Marcel Pourtout in 1925, the coach- Starting with a small workshop in the pre-War era. Aerodynamics and proport-
builder earned a very fine reputation for its Parisian suburb of Bougival, with a tions were the two hallmark of Paulin's
workforce of just 12, hard work and work, and car after car reaffirmed his
plentiful orders helped repay the start-up distinctive style.
loan, and allowed Marcel Pourtout to Pourtout, Darl'mat and Paulin collabo-
expand capacity, eventually moving to rated in the creation of the revolutionary
bigger facilities at Rueil-Malmaison, Eclipse roof, a design of a retractable
another suburb of Paris. Here the staff, hardtop that had a special mechanism,
which numbered 15, could produce small patented in Paulin's name, to stow it out of
production runs, in addition to one-offs. sight in the car’s boot. Carrosserie
At the end of 1933, Peugeot’s Paris Pourtout produced Eclipse versions for
dealer, Emile Darl’mat introduced Marcel several Peugeot models, the Lancia Belna,
1934 Peugeot 601 Eclipse
Pourtout to Georges Paulin, a dentist with a and models from Hotchkiss and Panhard.
For the 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans
1937 Bentley Embiricos with classical Paulin-for-Pourtout lines Pourtout collaborated with Emile Darl'Mat
to create the bodies for three cars based
on Peugeot 302 chassis with engines from
the 402. These cars placed 7th, 8th and
10th overall, proving the effectiveness of
Paulin's design. A Pourtout-bodied Bentley
for Greek entrepreneur Andre Embiricos
proved to be very competitive too.
But with the German invasion of France,
Paulin joined the French Resistance. Caught
in 1941, he was executed in 1942.

78 Auto India october 2008

Figoni et cars, of which one is still in India, in
Jodhpur with maharajah Dalip Singh.
rear fenders in the splendid form of a
curvaceous ‘butt’.
falaschi Other carmakers also took advantage of
the Figoni et Falaschi style, specifically
With the post-war tax on bigger-engined
cars, Figoni also realised the need to move
The coachbuilding firm that Giuseppe Talbot Lago. When Tony Lago, the presi- to more middle-class cars and so they
Figoni and Ovidio Falaschi created was one dent of Sunbeam, took over Talbot and started making a convertible version of the
of the greatest of automotive design houses transformed it to another fancy French Simca. Unfortunately for Figoni et Falaschi,
during the 1930s. They designed a whole marque to rival Delahaye and Bugatti, he after 400 Arondes had been made by them,
host of bodies on similar chassis, refining turned to Figoni et Falaschi and the most Simca decided to switch over to bodies
and improving every iteration till they had sensational of all the Figoni-bodied Talbot from Facel. That was that. Falaschi decided
the most beautiful. And it was not just Lagos were the T150Cs, of which just 16 to go back to his native Tuscany to open a
stylish, elegant bodies for marques like were made. One of these ‘teardrop-shaped’ hotel, whereas Figoni still gave it a go,
Delage, Ballot, Bugatti and Duesenberg, but exotica, with fully skirted front and rear making an interesting design based on the
also purposeful racers like the Alfa Romeo wheel wells was first owned by the Citroën 15, plus a few more cars based on
8C 2300 that, with Luigi Chinetti, Raymond maharani of Kapurthala who was gifted the Delage and Bentley chassis. But the writing
Sommer and Tazio Nuvolari went on to win car by her husband, Paramjit Singh, the was on the wall and at the end Figoni was
the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1932 and 1933. maharajah. The car often changed in colour just restoring cars. Figoni died in 1978, at
In fact, the successive victories at Le Mans and upholstery to complement the the age of 84, after having created some
made Figoni a world renowned coachbuilder. maharani (and Stella Mudge's) gowns at 700 of the most beautiful cars before the
Specialising in designing cabriolets, various Concours d'Elegance events before War, and some 450 more after.
coupés and hardtops, Figoni was more and she sold it. The car is now in the US, as a
more preoccupied by the design of the part of the Nethercutt Collection. 1937 Delahaye 135
fenders, specifically the front pairs, the During the war years Figoni et Falaschi
ultimate evolution being the ones that made electric radiators, and the end of
enveloped the wheels, leaving just about war, in 1945, was celebrated with a couple
enough space for them to be manoeuvred: of extravagant designs, one for the Lancia
‘enveloppantes’ as Figoni himself termed Belna and the other the new 3.5-litre
his all-enveloping fenders. Delahaye 175, a car that became singer
In 1936, Figoni (along with Falaschi, Charles Trenet's car by 1948. That same
who had just joined him) created a year, Figoni et Falaschi transited to the
magnificent two-tone two-seater cabriolet 'pontoon' style with a Talbot with the
with enveloping fender guards. Unveiled at
the 1936 Paris motor show the car was a
sensation, and the then Aga Khan, Prince
Aly Khan, bought the car there and then
for the fancy sum of 150,000 francs. The
reputation of Delahaye and Figoni et
Falaschi was definitely established. Ten
more 135s were bodied by Figoni et
Falaschi, with as many as three of them
finding their way to India. Seven have
The Kapurthala Talbot 1936 Delahaye 135
survived, including all three of the 'Indian'

An absolutely original Talbot Lago T150C,

recently auctioned by Bonhams

october 2008 Auto India 79

In design with
saoutchik The orders varied. Some clients were
very precise about the style they wanted
of the finest materials and designs that
were the best expression of Art Deco style
For Jacques Saoutchik it was not and specific about costs and prices, and motif. And the same level of attention
unusual to get orders from heads of whereas others gave a carte blanche. Over to detail and quality went with the fact
states. The King of Siam once sent a the decades Saoutchik and his son Pierre, that with every car that was delivered, the
telegram: NEED THREE CARS, ONE FOR who took over the reins of the company in client received some extra paint, plus a
TOURING, ONE FOR THE OPERA, ONE FOR 1950, became well known for their few metres of the leather and fabric used
WIFE. DO YOUR BEST. SEND INVOICE. Five elegance, originality and their excellent in the interiors for the trims and linings,
months later the king received a Mer- quality. Jacques Saoutchik was known as a so that when necessary the original
cedes-Benz for touring, a Rolls-Royce for man of patience, going back to the client material was available for repairs and
the Opera and a Hispano Suiza coupé for time and again till the client was satisfied. restoration. And Saoutchik also provided a
his wife. And a bill for $ 60,000. King During the 1950s the Saoutchik style guarantee on the body, as was applicable
Saud of Saudi Arabia had as many as eight showed extensive use of chrome, but that on the chassis.
cars with the Saoutchik signature: two was not to follow fashion, but to accentu-
Rolls, two Talbots, two Daimlers and two ate the designs and lines of the cars that
Cadillacs. And the list of rich and famous they were bodying. In 1953, Saoutchik
from the pre-War era with cars that had received an order from King Saud's son, to
been bodied by Saoutchik was long. design a car that could seat between
In 1928, Saoutchik designed a body seven and eight persons, yet be a
type that, when closed, was a limousine, convertible. Saoutchik narrowed down to a
but one that could be transformed into a Cadillac ambulance chassis for such a
sports convertible thanks to a system of request, as it would have the strength to
the top and side-screens dropping out of take a big, topless body...
sight. And that became a Saoutchik The interiors of the Saoutchik bodied
1938 Hispano Suiza Xenia one-off
signature, with many cars bodied by this cars were no less exquisite, with the use
prestigious French coachbuilder featuring
this attractive modularity. Clearly influenced by Figoni, this Delahaye 175 is from 1949
Saoutchik set up shop in Paris in 1906.
Over the years it was not unusual for
clients to order two body styles for each
chassis. And when they would come to the
workshop they would decide which one to
drive off with. At that time a chassis was
typically four times the cost of the body.
In 1929, when Pierce-Arrow merged
with Studebaker, Jacques Saoutchik was
invited to South Bend to design the new
Studebaker. The French-style body was
beautiful and Saoutchik managed to sell
an average of 70 Saoutchik-bodied
Pierce-Arrows every year at the princely
sum of $ 25,000.

A coupe de ville design, again on a Delahaye 175 base, from 1949

80 Auto India october 2008

Alfa Romeo 2600 spider from 1962

Felice Bianchi Anderloni founded
Touring of Milan in 1926, and benefited
from the close relations he had with the
founders of Isotta Fraschini, who were his
brothers-in-law. Buying up Carrozzeria
Falco of Milan, Anderloni started construct-
ing his own bodyworks there under the
name of Carrozzeria Touring. With the
design of his first bodywork, the Tipo 8B
for Isotta Franschini in 1927, the coach- 1900s from Touring.
builder set about making a name for Unfortunately, Anderloni, who passed
himself in the Italian automotive world. away in 1948, did not reap the fruits of his
In the 1930s Touring’s Alfas won three success. His son and longstanding
editions of the Mille Miglia, which was seen assistant, Carlo Felice, took control. In
as the most challenging race of all: in 1952, Touring came up with the Alfa
1930, in 1932 and again in 1938. During Romeo Disco Volantes (flying saucers),
the 1930s, Anderloni devised the ‘super- which literally looked like two red flying
Touring's latest Maserati based coupe
leggera’ fabrication technique: the saucers stuck face to face. Alfa’s less
multi-tubular chassis of the vehicle was extravagant orders included the 2000 and
constructed from thin steel tubes, which 2600 Spider and the Giulia GTC, a Carrozzeria Marazzi, that took along with it
supported an aluminium sheet bodywork. cabriolet version of the Bertone coupe. But the business of making Lamborghini 400GT
After the war, Touring designers made with the disastrous commercial flops of bodies. Over the years Marazzi built other
prototypes for Aston Martin, Bristol and on the Hillman Super Minx and the Sunbeam cars, and in 2006 it entered into a collabo-
an Alfa chassis, the elegant coupe Villa Alpine Venezia coupe, Touring was ration with the Zeta Europe BV group to
d’Este. Impressed with the coupe, Alfa compelled to shut down in 1964. revive the Touring brand as Carrozeria
ordered several hundreds of the beautifully When Touring collapsed, Mario Marazzi Touring Superleggera, which has since
proportioned Sprint and Super Sprint and some other ex-employees created unveiled two Maserati-based concepts.

vignale cabriolet based on the Fiat 1100. By 1954,

Vignale was producing approximately a
In 1969, Vignale’s factory in Grugliasco
was taken over by Carrozzeria Ghia. Three
When Luigi Villoresi once drove his thousand vehicles every year. Most of these days later, Alfredo was killed in a car crash
Vignale bodied Ferrari off the road at over were based on either the Fiat 600D or the very near his factory. The company
160kph, the Italian Formula One driver, 1300, were sold under the Vignale continued to produce cars for Ghia, notably
fortunately, suffered from only mild moniker, and were rumoured to be the De Tomaso Pantera until 1975.
contusions. And that worked wonders for designed by freelance designer Giovanni
the reputation of the sturdy steel and Michelotti. But the flagship was the 1968 Matra 530 based one-off
aluminium bodies that were built by Italian Maserati 3500 Spider of the early 1960s, of
coachbuilder Alfredo Vignale. In fact, which 242 were made. Following that was
Vignale’s self-confidence was such, that the beautiful Maserati Indy, launched in
instead of shaping his metal panels to 1968. Designed, in all likelihood by
previously designed plaster-of-Paris in-house designer, Virginio Vairo, the Indy
prototypes, he forged them by hand on an had subtle lines with perfect proportions,
anvil, and so shaped his creation’s that had become the hallmark of the
silhouette step by step with his artist’s eye. Vignale look. Vairo also designed the Matra
In 1946, he and his brothers, Giovanni and Vignale one-off and the Vignale Samantha.
Giuseppe, founded their own metal-bash-
ing enterprise in Turin.
With a very attractive one-off body on the
Fiat Topolino, followed by a Lancia
Aprilia-based design, Vignale established
itself as a significant player amongst Italy’s
carrozzerias. With orders from Alfa Romeo
and Maserati, he made the 230 CV
Carrozzeria Sport Speciale for the former,
and in 1951, the 6AG for the latter. Then
followed the Ferrari 212 coupe and the 340
America, the more sober Lancia Aprilia
saloon, a coupe on the Fiat 1500 and a 1952 Ferrari 212 – an
early Vignale design
october 2008 Auto India 81
In design with

Ghia-made Chrysler Diablo concept from 1959

gone from being a politician and a

journalist to, in his spare time, a racing
driver. Moving to Italy and settling in
Modena, he worked closely with Ghia, until
1967, when, for $ 650,000, he took over
Ghia, saving it from bankruptcy.
In 1966, at the Turin motor show, Ghia
unveiled the De Tomaso Mangusta and
A very elegant Cadillac Ghia's most famous design – Pampero, the Fiat Vanessa and the
coupe from Ghia the VW Karmann-Ghia
stunning Maserati Ghibli. These four cars
were all the works of Giorgetto Giugiaro,
often in such cases, money eventually the talented young designer that Moro had
prevailed over art: Boano quit in 1950, poached from Bertone. But De Tomaso’s
leaving Segre in charge. Segre, however, mandate took a turn for the worse in 1967,
died in '63 from an appendicitis operation. when a number of his employees – includ-
Ghia made a series of prototypes for ing Moro, Sapino (albeit temporarily) and
Chrysler, including the Crown Imperial and Giugiaro – resigned from their positions
Fiat 2300S Ghia coupe from 1962
it also worked on Ford’s Turnpike Cruiser, under the pretext of insufficient autonomy
Packard’s Predictor and Alfa Romeos. But concerning design.
The Piedmontese artisan Giacinto the most famous is the design they did for Tom Tjaarda marked his return to the
Ghia founded Carrozzeria Ghia in 1915. Karmann for the coupe based on the VW coachbuilding firm with the release of the
Until WW II, Ghia specialised in bodying Beetle, the VW Karmann-Ghia. De Tomaso Pantera, with the car being
big, elegant Lancias, but Ghia is also In 1955, two dream cars were produced, made in the Vignale factory, which had
remembered for the Fiat 501S, the Alfa the Ghia Gilda, the star of the Turin motor been taken over by Ghia in 1969. These
Romeo 6C 1500, the winner of the Mille show that year, a stunning design by cars were sold in the US through the
Miglia in 1929 and the Fiat 508S Balilla Giovanni Savonuzzi, and the Lincoln Lincoln-Mercury car dealers, following De
Coppa d’Oro. During WW II, the Turinese Futura, which subsequently inspired Tomaso’s decision to give away a stake to
factory was damaged by bombing, and George Baris’s Batmobile. Despite regularly Ford in his company. Tjaarda, still working
Giacinto died in 1946, before getting calling upon independent designers, Segre for Ghia, then went on to design the De
production back on track. The Ghia family took on Tom Tjaarda, who was there till Tomaso Deauville, followed by the De
persuaded Felice Mario Boano, a former 1961, and later, Filippo Sapino. Tomaso Longchamp.
stylist for Farina, to take up the business, After Segre’s death, Ghia manufactured, In 1971, De Tomaso sold Ghia to Ford,
with the young Luigi Segre as commercial under Gino Rovere’s direction, a series of which took over full control of operations.
director. However, Boano and Segre had coupes on a Fiat 1500 chassis. The new Since then Ghia has became a design
diverging ideas, where Boano saw the director died unexpectedly in 1964, and studio for Ford, turning out a few interest-
coachbuilding business as an artistic was replaced by Giacomo Gaspardo Moro, ing concepts, and being used as a badge
profession, whereas his counterpart viewed who took the order for Alejandro De for the luxurious versions of the Ford
it as an industrial production activity that Tomaso’s Fissore-designed coupe, the model range, such as the Granada Ghia,
needed to be a commercial success. As Vallelunga. In Argentina, De Tomaso had the Mustang Ghia and the Mondeo Ghia.

82 Auto India october 2008

chapron cars that had been damaged during WW I,
concentrating mostly on Ford Model Ts
contract to clothe mainly Delahaye 135s.
And till Delahaye closed shop in 1954,
Born in 1886, Henri Chapron spent 60 abandoned in Paris by the departing Chapron remained its main coachbuilder.
years of his life heading the company that American army, re-bodying the typical Though many of the prestigious French
he created in 1919. Carrosserie Chapron torpedo-style bodywork with more brands like Delahaye, Delage, and Talbot
started off by re-working and retrofitting luxurious closed bodies. After the were all disappearing in the 1950s due to
recession of 1921, a new generation of the draconian tax structure that penalised
Svelte Citroën DS cabriolet French carmakers came into being; cars with bigger engines, Chapron still
manufacturers like Delage, Chenard and managed to have some successes with
Panhard. Chapron began designing elegant coachbuilt specials for these carmakers.
bodies for them. After many attempts at getting into
By 1927, Chapron was employing some series production, Chapron was given the
350 workers at its factory near Paris. But contract of developing a cabriolet and a
following the financial crisis of 1931, coupé version of the Citroën DS, which it
Chapron decided upon an exclusive produced till the end of the DS's produc-
tion life. And when the Citroën SM was
introduced in 1970, Chapron created two
new variants, a convertible and a four-door
saloon. In 1972, Chapron delivered two SM
Presidential models to the French govern-
ment. These four-door convertibles were
first used for the visit of Queen Elisabeth II
to France and continued to be in use
through the inauguration of Jacques Chirac
in 1995. Henri Chapron died in 1978, and
the company itself survived for some time
under the direction of his widow, produc-
ing some luxury versions of the Citroën CX.
The magnificent Citroën SM four-door cabrio for the Queen
It ceased operations in 1985.

heuliez markets, such as convertibles or estates.

Well-known for their retractable hardtops
Created in 1920 by Adolphe Heuliez who
started by making horse-drawn carts,
Though Heuliez may not be well (the Macarena concept shown below is the Carrosserie Heuliez soon diversified into
known in India, it's a very significant player first four-door coupe-cabrio idea ever), assembling cars, the first being a Peugeot
in the European automotive industry. Heuliez also produces entire cars such as 177B. A subsidiary company was also
Working as a production and design unit the Opel Tigra. One of the more successful created for the production of buses, which
for various automakers, Heuliez specializes cars that Heuliez has produced is the was later sold. Over the years Heuliez
in producing short series for niche Peugeot 206CC, the first affordable established a fine reputation for the design
coupe-cabriolet ever, of which some and manufacturing of niche products,
350,000 were produced until production making cars like the Citroën XM Break and
ceased. Since 1985, Heuliez has produced the Xantia Break, and also making limited
almost half-a-million cars. runs of cars like the Peugeot 205 Group B
Recently, however, poor sales of the homologation specials.
Tigra have forced Heuliez to reduce its In 1998, at the Paris motor show,
staff and the French specialist has been in Heuliez showcased the Lamborghini Diablo-
trouble. And so the Indian company based Pregunta concept. The Italian design
Argentum, which is lead by B V R Subbu, arm of the French company was at the time
1998 Lambo- ex-president of Hyundai, has stepped in, to headed by Marc Deschamps, who had
based Pregunta
take a controlling stake. previously worked as chief designer at
Bertone. Spanish for 'question', the
The world's first four-door coupe- Pregunta was given a very aggressive
cabriolet, the Macarena design to make sure everybody would
notice it, and everybody did.
Since then, at every Paris motor show
(held every two years) Heuliez have
showcased something interesting.
Managed by Paul Queveau, Heuliez
employs about 1,200 people in facilities at
France, Spain and Slovakia. Of these about
150 are a part of Heuliez's design and
engineering services.

october 2008 Auto India 83

In design with
BERTONE to get the company back on track.
After the war, he took on freelance
What followed was a series of beautiful
cars, amongst them the Alfa Romeo Giulia
The road ahead was looking quite designer Franco Scaglione, who designed coupe, the BMW 3200 coupe, superb
glum for Nuccio Bertone when, in 1952, the superbly proportioned cars for Arnolt, concepts like the Corvair-based Testudo
Fiat decided to reduce the number of and following that a car for Abarth, and the Alfa Canguro, and others. But in
orders to independent designers, as they unveiled at the 1952 Paris motor show, 1965 Giugiaro left for Ghia, and Bertone
were judged to be too costly. It was time that showcased the idea of a third, central hired another brilliant youngster, Marcello
for Bertone to react: he equipped one MG headlamp, with vestigial wings that took Gandini. And that marked the start of the
chassis with a coupe bodywork and flight in subsequent designs. golden period for Bertone, when one
another with a cabriolet bodywork, and Alfa Romeo, keen to replace the stunner after another rolled off Gandini’s
presented them at Turin’s motor show in Touring-bodied Disco Volante, was taken pen: the Lamborghini Miura, the Marzal,
the hope of catching the eye of a potential up by MG-Arnolt, and Bertone suggested the Espada, the Alfa Romeo Montreal and
client. And it worked. Carrozzeria Bertone’s the extravagant BAT series, based on the Carabo, then the Lancia Stratos Zero,
saviour was the American MG car-dealer the Super Sport 1900 mechanicals. The and finally, the Lamborghini Countach.
“Wacky” Arnolt. He bought both of three BAT models all had extravagant With Gandini leaving Bertone, the design
Bertone’s models, foreseeing a great aerodynamic spoilers with stunning house was never quite the same, though a
success in the American market and lines that, more than anything else, couple of interesting designs did follow.
promising to buy a hundred more of each, established Bertone at the top rung of But the decline had set in – so much so
albeit for a discounted price. The entrepre- the coachbuilder’s art. that at the time of going to press, Ber-
neur ended up buying a total of 460 Bertone then shifted attention to a more tone’s future is rather uncertain.
coachbuilt specials from Bertone, including pragmatic vehicle, with Scaglione designing
those that were based on the Bristol 404, the Alfa Sportiva prototype, with its convex Nuccio Bertone admiring the
for the series that were named Arnolt-Bris- windscreen, truncated tail and slightly scale model of the Carabo
tol. In a truly international production, the pointed nose, that became the template for
bodyworks were fitted in Turin on to the all sports car design for the next two
MG, and subsequently, Bristol chassis (the decades. In the same year, 1954, Alfa
latter developed from BMW mechanicals), commissioned Bertone to design and build
were imported from England, and then the Giulietta Sprint coupe.
shipped from Italy to the US. Bertone’s reputation soon attracted other
Nuccio’s father had been in the coach- talented designers, and a very young
building business since 1912. After having Giorgetto Giugiaro joined the coachbuilder.
worked on Diatto chassis, he secured a
deal with Vicenzo Lancia in 1919, making Fiat Dino coupe from 1966
bodies for Lancia through the 1920s. But
when Lancia switched to monocoques,
Bertone was made redundant. In 1932,
Nuccio (which is short for Giusuppe), was
preparing to pass an economics exam,
though he had been working for his father
for six years. Then aged eighteen, he decid-
ed to sell his father’s plans for the Balilla to
1954 Alfa Giulietta
Fiat. His success was such that he managed

Nuccio posing with the many Bertone beauties

84 Auto India october 2008


The late Andrea Pininfarina posing with

Pininfarina's Maserati GranTurismo

The 1968 Ferrari Daytona Pininfarina's latest on a Rolls chassis became an exclusively Pininfarina client,
especially since the Ferrari 308GTB of
1975. Though the collaboration between
the two had begun more than two decades
before, it was cars like the 275GTB from
1964 and the 365 GTB/4 Daytona from
1968 that really sealed the deal. And the
P5 prototypes from 1967, the 512S of
1969 were the precursors of the mass-
Tjaarda-designed Fiat 124 Spider Battista's grandson Andrea Pininfarina. produced Ferraris of the following decade.
by Pininfarina, from 1966 Paolo, Andrea's younger brother, was Interestingly enough Ferraris, for
appointed the new chairman and CEO on decades, have been made at another coach-
the 12th of August. building firm, that of Scaglietti. Pininfarina
Pinin’s first ever design was the 1932 has been making niche cars for others, of
Lancia Dilambda, which was closely which the Tom Tjaarda-designed Fiat 124
followed by the Fiat Ardita, a miniature Spider was one of the most successful, with
phaeton whose back seat was merely a over 200,000 made over two decades.
large tip-up seat. In 1937, Pininfarina Other volume sellers from the Pininfarina
designed the Lancia Aprilia, and in the coachbuilding facilities have included the
following year, the Lancia Astura, a refined Lancia Monte Carlo, the Alfa Romeo Spider
Giovanni Battista Farina’s juvenile cabriolet with enveloping mudguards. and the Peugeot 406 Coupe.
nickname, ‘Pinin’ (which means young boy) But it was the Cisitalia 202 coupe, Pininfarina has also been a great
stayed with him all his life: at the age of Pininfarina’s first model after the War that breeding ground for designers. Other than
sixty, he was authorised to officially marked the turning point in automotive Tom Tjaarda, who spent a few years in the
integrate it into his family name – and so, design. Though based on the middle-mar- early 1960s at Pininfarina, other prominent
Pininfarina. A name that carries the weight ket Fiat 1100, the Cisitalia was so beautiful designers like Paolo Martin, Aldo Bro-
and prestige of some of the most beautiful that it became an exhibit at New York’s varone, Leonardo Fioravanti and Lorenzo
cars ever made. And Pininfarina’s path, Modern Art museum. Ramaciotti (who heads Fiat’s design) have
since its debut, retraces nearly the entire As well as design consulting work, for also spent time as studio heads at
history of automotive design. the likes of Peugeot, Lancia and Austin, Pininfarina. Till a few years ago, Ken
Born in Turin in 1895, Pinin started work Pininfarina also coachbuilt cars like the Okuyama headed Pininfarina’s design team,
for his brother in the Stabilimenti Farina charming Alfa Romeo Giulietta spiders. and it is now lead by Lowie Vermeersch.
workshops, and only left him 20 years And that led to the 1966 Alfa Duetto In recent times, Pininfarina’s coachbuild-
later, in 1930, in order to set up his own spider, immortalised in the film ‘The ing activities have shrunk, the company
company. After Pinin’s death in 1966, his Graduate’, starring Dustin Hoffman. is in trouble and as a part of diversification
son Sergio and son-in-law Renzo Carli took Pininfarina enjoyed a privileged relation- activities Pininfarina is getting into the
control of the operations, producing the ship with Enzo Ferrari. Indeed, as a result making of electric cars with financial
vast majority of the models. Until his death of Pininfarina’s sublime masterpieces, such inputs from French company Bollore
on August 7th last, Pininfarina was run by as the Superamerica 400, Ferrari eventually and Tata Motors.

october 2008 Auto India 85

In design with

Early Zagato, the 1956 Ferrari 250 GTZ

Zagato’s methodology was indeed

extremely particular. First a floorpan was
made from sheet steel, on to which was
attached a rigid hand-welded framework,
made from short, steel bars which varied
in diameter according to the pressure
they were to hold. This framework was
1969 Alfa Junior Z The lightning bolt Z of Zagato
used to support the light exterior
aluminium panels. The panels were
From 1953 to 1955, these cars domi- then welded onto the chassis. Once the
nated the 2.0-litre GT category, finishing bodywork was painted (and in 1961,
9th at the 1954 Mille Miglia. During the two layers were sufficient), skilled
1956 championship, the Fiat 8V Zagato craftsmen fabricated and adjusted the
was beaten by the Maserati A6G, whose interior and exterior trims.
bodywork, incidentally, was also from In 1962, Zagato built a new factory
Zagato. During the same period, Zagato’s north of Milan, which was to make some of
Recent Zagato, for Bentley
Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint and 2.5-litre his greatest masterpieces: the Giuletta SZ,
Lancia Aurelia Zagato also proved to be the TZ and TZ 2, all very aggressive, yet
If the lightning bolt is the first light, fast and beautiful. functional. These models seem to
image that springs to mind when you come The new bodywork of the Alfa Super encapsulate Zagato’s philosophy: reduced
across the illustrious and emblematic ‘Z’, Sprint transformed it beyond recognition – weight and a narrow frontal cross-section.
then you would have made its creator, Ugo and not just aesthetically. Whereas the Improved aerodynamics was achieved
Zagato, extremely proud. It was in 1919 1954 model did not exceed 182kph, through a more prominent rear, although
that he founded Carrozzeria Zagato, which Zagato’s version, with the very same this could not be envisaged for the Italian
was to give birth to some of the lightest, engine, did 194kph, showing to advantage coachbuilder, and Kamm-type truncated
and therefore fastest, cars in the world. At the weight loss of 180kg. Similarly, the tails provided an adequate solution. The
the end of the 1920s, with the super- Aurelia’s max speed increased from Giuletta was replaced by the Junior Z,
charged Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 and 8C 182kph to 198kph and the Maserati A6G inspired by the Giulia, and Lancia Fulvia Z,
2300, Zagato made quite an impression. gained 16kph, giving it a V-max of 208. which also came out at the same time.
The convex front, rear and side windows The 1950s also saw the transformation Zagato’s next design was a true master-
characterised Zagato’s Panoramic design of of the Fiat Abarth, with its ingenious piece for Aston Martin. The DB-4 Zagato is
the 1947 Fiat 500 and the Fiat 1100, which cooling system and max speed of 149kph, arguably the most beautiful of all Aston
he made with the assistance of his son, despite its very modest 750cc engine. Martins. All these were the work of
Elio. This retrieved creativity in the late Zagato also went on to make the Alfa designer Ercole Spada, who embodied the
’40s and early ’50s led to the production Giuletta Sprint Veloce 1300, known as the golden period for Zagato.
of a number of small racing Fiats. Zagato SVZ, as well as the small, rounded SZ and In recent years, Zagato has seen a
then followed through with the designs of the elongated SZT. Zagato also bodied resurgence, with handcrafted limited series
light and aerodynamic bodyworks for a Ferraris and Maseratis, other than the based on the supercars of today: mainly
number of Fiat 8V chassis. Lancia Flavia Z and Alfa 2600 Z coupes. Ferraris, Bentleys and Maseratis.

86 Auto India october 2008