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1947 Cisitalia 202 Gran SportPosted by WindingRoad about 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Cisitalia (Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia), the creation of wealthy industrialist/amatuer driver Piero Dusio. With the help of Fiat
designer Dante Giacosa, engineer and driver Piero Taruffi, engineer Giovanni Savonuzzi, and famous driver Tazio Nuvolari they put Cisitalia on top of the racing scene in Europe with there D46 monoposto racing car, the Streamliner Coupe, and Sports Roadsters. After the many racing successes Dusio wanted to build a production car for the well heeled sporting motorist. He described his idea to Savonuzzi, "I want a car wide like a Buick, low like a Grand Prix car, comfortable like a Rolls Royce and light like our single-seater D46". Savonuzzi's sketches met with Dusio's approval and then were quickly handed over to Battista "Pinin" Farina's firm, Pinin Farina. With ambitious plans to produce up to 400 cars there was the necessity to contract with additional coachbuilders in order to fill the demand for the hand-built cars. Along with Pinin Farina were Stabilimenti Farina (Battista "Pinin" Farina's brother's company), Vignale, and Touring. In reality only 170 202's were produced including coupes and cabriolets from 1947-1952.
The first official public appearance of the 202 Coupe was September 16, 1947, the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, on the avenues of the Milan Fair. The next showing was at the Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance with rave reviews at both events. After the Paris and Milan motor shows, the press described the 202 Grand Sport Coupe as "one of the most beautiful cars of our times". In 1951 the New York Museum of Modern Art declared the 202 Coupe as a work of art or "Self-moving Sculpture". The car has been on permanent display at MoMA to this day!
The design of this car was unlike any other car of this period. The Cisitalia 202 Grand Sport Coupe featured a one piece aluminum body without seams for the front fenders and rear quarter panels leaving smooth aerodynamic flowing lines. No doubt Savonuzzi's experience in the aircraft industry influenced such a smooth, flowing shape. This car was responsible for changing post war styling and design. Henry Ford II was so taken with the design of the 202 that he purchased two of them for his personal use!
Details of this particular car:
Chassis number 102, Engine number 145, as delivered by the factory. This car is equipped with the optional Mille Miglia spec 60-65hp engine with twin Weber DR carburetors, Borrani wire wheels, and Nardi wood rimmed steering wheel. The car has been in its current ownership since 1968. Previously owned by automotive writer and historian Rob de la Rive Box. Ownership prior to Box's ownership is sketchy, all we know is it was owned by a person named Messmer, possibly in Germany. It is apparent that the car was raced in its early life as the bumpers had been removed, trafficators removed and filled, plexiglass windows (all, apart from the windshield), and
the addition of several gauges. At this time the period racing history is lost to history, unless someone out there has additional information to share. The car has been vintage raced by the current owner, The Monterey Historics in 1984, CSRG race at Sears Point in 1988, and the Meadowbrook Historic races in 1995. The car was also shown at the Meadowbrook Concours in 1995, where it won its class. The engine was rebuilt by small Italian car expert Jarl de Boer in 1991. A topside cosmetic restoration was completed in 1994 by Rick Shironaka, a McPherson College Automotive Restoration graduate. The underside of the car remains unrestored to this date, although it is in serviceable condition. The car is currently in running/driving condition with very little use since 1995.