Skip to main content

Cisitalia 202

Cisitalia 202 1940s Italian classic car

Surely, no car has ever qualified as Art, more than the Cisitalia 202! Indeed, MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art, in New York - has had it on display, since 1951. Proof positive of the 202's credentials, in the art department. Designed by Pininfarina, innovative styling was a given. Features were 'integrated', as never before. Mudguard and headlights, for example, bled seamlessly into the front wings. Bodywork lines flowed with a new and striking simplicity. In a few strokes of the Pininfarina pen, automotive design moved on.

Of course, the best design is fully-functional. The 202 had a solid round-tube frame - the better to support its aerodynamic bodywork. The car cut through the air like a scalpel. It was good for 105mph ... 120, in competition mode! And all from just 50bhp - courtesy of a tuned in-line four Fiat 1100 motor. Its 4-speed transmission eased the 202 effortlessly up to such speeds.

Naturally, Pininfarina fingers finessed the fine details. Flip-out door handles were a trademark flourish. The 202's interior was a paragon of minimalism ... and safety! No redundant instrumentation here to distract the eyes from the road ahead! When the 202 was released, Cisitalia had only been around for two years. The company was founded in 1946 - by Piero Dusio - a racing driver, and businessman. His firm's first offering was a single-seater racer. Built by Fiat engineers Giacosa and Savonuzzi, it would subsequently serve as a finely-wrought template for Pininfarina designs. Sadly, though, just a year after the 202's release, Cisitalia was already in trouble. Dusio hankered after a GP car - to be designed by Porsche. Sadly, that did not sit well with his fledgling firm's finances! In lifespan terms, then, Cisitalia was a mere flash in the pan. The 202, though, burned brightly. A mechanical masterpiece, it lit up the world of automotive design!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FN Four

In terms of breakthroughs in the history of motorcycling, there cannot be many to rival the first in-line four engine. Belgium was the birthplace of this landmark layout. FN was the much-to-be-thanked manufacturer.The FN Four first hit the highway in 1911. It produced 4bhp. That, from a 491 cc capacity. At the time, such figures described state-of-the-art technology. Top speed for the FN Four was 40mph. Not bad - for an 8-valve inlet-over-exhaust set-up. Oh, it was air-cooled.The FN Four was light - tipping the scales at 165lb dry. Not only the motor, but the chassis, too, was avant-garde. It featured an early form of telescopic forks. A new-fangled clutch - and 2-speed 'box - only added to the FN Four's slick box of tricks. Solid shaft-drive output the power. Who, then, designed this visionary vintage? You will not hear the name Paul Kelekom shouted from motorcycling's rooftops. But, you should - for it was he who fashioned the FN Four. In so doing, he ki…

Gilera Saturno

Gilera was a big player in the realm of 1950s motorbike manufacturing. After that, the firm met with mixed fortunes. Gilera's Fifties flagship - the Saturno - was launched in '46. Rolled out in 'Sport', 'Touring', and 'Competition' modes, the Saturno would sell well for years.The Saturno 'production racer' was a hit both on road and track. Competitive for many seasons, it remained so for some time after its production run finished - at the fag-end of the '50s.In road-going form, the Saturno stayed tethered to the tarmac - thanks to its telescopic forks, and vertical rear shocks. Indeed, it would gain a reputation as a 'performance bike' of its day. Towards the end, Gilera was linked with Piaggio, Vespa - and the scooter scene, generally. Illustrious though those names still were, Gilera's glory days were behind it. Bikes like the Saturno, though, still shone a light for past success.

NSU Ro80

The styling of the NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time. At first glance, masses of glass were straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile - giving it a low front, high back stance - which would influence automotive design for years to come. The 5-seater body was supremely aerodynamic for a saloon car - making cruising at speed a breeze. So flawless was it outwardly that it was hardly touched in ten years of production. Just the tail-lights were modified, on later versions.The Ro80's handling was equally impressive. FWD - and precision power-steering - kept it perfectly pointed. The long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. High-efficiency disc brakes were fitted all round. The 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through the gears with aplomb. Top speed was a sound 112mph.But, of course, nothing is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get the car into showroom…