My Car Quest

August 23, 2019

The 1947 Cisitalia 202 – A Design Masterpiece

by Mike –

“Cisitalia” comes from “Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia”, an Italian business started in 1946 by the wealthy business man and sportsman Piero Dusio. Dusio was also an amateur race car driver.

Cisitalia 202

1947 Cisitalia 202

The 1947 Cisitalia 202 was a revolution in automobile styling and is considered the beginning of modern car design.

Cisitalia 202

Pinin Farina based this design on Giovanni Savonuzzi’s Cisitalia race car. The Cisitalia 202 has a smooth flowing shape that integrates all of the components of an automobile (hood, body, fenders, and headlights) into one seamless design for the first time.

Cisitalia 202

This beautiful model became part of the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1951 as part of the first MoMA exhibit on automotive design. The MoMA curator, Arthur Drexler, said “…the Cisitalia’s body is slipped over its chassis like a dust jacket over a book…”.

Cisitalia 202

The Cisitalia 202 needed to be light weight to compensate for the small Fiat engine and it used chrome sparingly because of its scarcity at the time. This is the first example of the Berlinetta, the prototype of the modern sports car.

Cisitalia 202

You can see the influence of this revolutionary design on cars that followed: Porsche 356, Lancia Aurelia B20, Aston Martin DB2, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint and many Ferraris and Maseratis.

Cisitalia 202

There were 170 examples made between 1947 and 1952 and the bodies are hand made in aluminum. The Cisitalia 202 was introduced at the Villa d’Este Gold Cup show in Como, Italy in 1947. Cisitalia went out of business in 1952.

Cisitalia 202

This beautiful Cisitalia pictured here is housed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles where I saw it in 2011 the “vault”, a lower level area where there are many beautiful classic cars not on public display.

Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, “The Cisitalia represented a new direction in automobile body design, one that every other automobile manufacturer would ultimately follow. It is so artfully sculpted and perfectly proportioned that I cannot help but compare it to a precious gem.”

Cisitalia 202

Cisitalia 202

Leslie Kendall (seated) Showing The Cisitalia 202

The first photo above of this Cisitalia 202 is from the Petersen Museum and the others are my photos from the Petersen Museum “vault”. This beautiful car was featured at Sculpture In Motion: Masterpieces Of Italian Design from February 25, 2012 through February 3, 2013 at the Petersen Museum.

Cisitalia 202

My thanks to Paul Fuller for sending the Los Angeles Times article to me.

Cisitalia 202 Logo

Cisitalia 202

Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Eva Peron’s Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

This 1947 Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet is a rare car made even more rare because the original owners were Juan and Eva Peron of Argentina, where this beauty spent most of its life.

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

1947 Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

It was restored in Europe to what appears to be perfection and acquired by the San Francisco Academy of Art.

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

I was fortunate to see this car at the Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance in May 2012 where it won first place in it’s class.

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet <ogo

Summary
The 1947 Cisitalia 202 - A Design Masterpiece
Article Name
The 1947 Cisitalia 202 - A Design Masterpiece
Description
The 1947 Cisitalia 202 was a revolution in automobile styling and is considered the beginning of modern car design.
Author

Comments

  1. Mark C Williamson says

    Beautiful cars, rightfully belonging in an art gallery.

  2. Merkel Weiss says

    beautiful cars, horrible photos.

  3. Wayne Graefen says

    A benchmark automobile for certain that influenced many which should also include Nash-Healey. The postwar into early ’50s period saw incredible developments to the auto-world.

  4. The more I see these cars the more I like them, especially the open cars.

  5. steve snyder says

    Go to page 111 of Cisitalia by Nino Balestra and Cesare DE Agostini and you will see a sketch by Giovanni Savonuzzi of the orginal 202, dated May 1947. Once Duzio asked Pinan Farina to produce the 202, he made some production changes but DID NOT design the 202. Pinan Farin’s claim to designing the Cisitalia 202 is “Penis Farina” mythology.

    • Hmm…many disagree with your statement.

      The Cisitalia 202 was the first car to be permanently on display at the Museum of Modern Art, the MoMA in New York.

      The Museum of Modern Art says, “Designed in 1946 by the Italian car designer and coach builder Pinin Farina (who later changed his name to Pininfarina), the two-seater Cisitalia “202” GT was an aesthetic and technical achievement that transformed postwar automobile body design.”

      Read more here: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2002/autobodies/cisitalia.html

Speak Your Mind

*