Motoring Trailblazers - Cisitalia 202 Berlinetta

Sat 7th Jul 2018

The world of motoring is hurtling headlong into a bright new future of all-electric, automated, connected technology - and Marty McFly is not behind the wheel! But what were the cars that were ‘back to the future’ of years gone by?

There have been many different trailblazing motors which were seen by the critics to be ahead of their time, and in this series, we will investigate and showcase many of the best in class.

Cisitalia 202 Berlinetta
When Piero Dusio, a successful businessman and keen amateur driver, emerged from the wreckage of the Second World War, he recognised that with the Italian public would have a thirst for motor racing and rightly conceived the Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia. More commonly recognised as Cistitalia, it was a business conglomerate based in Turin, which using the vast knowledge of Fiat was able to build a series of motor racing cars.

After an early prototype on the engine and chassis, Dusio provided this work to several of Europe’s leading designers and when legendary designer Pinin Farina got his hands on the framework the Cistitalia 202 was born.

First presented to the public at the Villa d’Este Gold Cup show in Como, Italy and later at the 1947 Paris Motor Show, the 202 was in many regards the first ever GT.

However, it is the Farina coachwork design which made the Cistitalia 202 a classic, conceived in a single shell there are no sharp edges and with its own curves and indentations it maintains a sense of speed in its looks alone.

Farina’s design was honoured in 1951 when it was exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art, along with the 1930 Mercedes-Benz SS Tourer, 1939 Bentley saloon, 1939 Talbot-Lago, 1951 Willys Jeep, 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly Sedan, 1948 MG TC and the 1941 Lincoln Continental coupe.

However, with its beauty also lay the 202’s major flaw, coachbuilt, it was difficult and expensive to manufacture and only 170 were ever produced between 1947 and 1952.

Cistitalia did try and mass produced variants of the 202, but it is the original that endears in many hearts and minds.

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