The Cisitalia 202 has been on display in NY's Museum of Modern Art since '51. Innovative styling, then, was a given. That came courtesy of Pininfarina - based in Turin, Italy. Their coachbuilding concept was 'integration'. Features flowed into each other, as never before. Front mudguards and headlights, for instance, bled seamlessly into the front wings. In a few strokes of 'Pinin' Farina's pen, automotive design had moved on.
In terms of the 202's form, then, things were just fine. But functionally, too, it excelled. A solid round-tube frame supported 'slippery' bodywork. The car cut through air like a scalpel. As a result, it was good for 105mph ... 120, in competition mode. All from just 50bhp - and a tuned in-line four Fiat 1100 motor. A 4-speed transmission eased the 202 up to such speeds.
Pininfarina's input finessed the fine detail. Flip-out door handles were a typical flourish. The 202's cabin was a paragon of minimalism - and safety. No redundant, distracting dials here. On the 202's launch - in '46 - Cisitalia was still a new company. Short for 'Consorzio Industriale Sportive Italia', it was founded by Piero Dusio. He was a businessman/racing driver. Cisitalia's first specialist product was a single-seater racer. Built by Fiat engineers Giacosa and Savonuzzi, it would subsequently serve as a template for the cars that followed. Sadly - just a year after the 202's release - Cisitalia was already in trouble. Boss Dusio already hankered after a GP car, to be designed by Porsche. That did not sit well with his fledgeling firm's finances. By '63, it was over. As car companies go, then, Cisitalia was a flash in the pan. The 202, though, burned brightly - not least, as an exhibit at MoMA. A mechanical masterpiece, it lit up the car world for years!