Our following story has been pieced together through a series of private interviews conducted over a period of five months with Giovanna Scaglione… and reveals the personal life story of her dearly beloved father Franco Scaglione, the world famous Italian automobile designer of the 1950’s through the 1970’s.
Since the passing of Mr. Scaglione in 1993, Giovanna, the only child of Franco and Maria Luisa Benvenuti, had politely declined most interview requests, preferring to remain quiet and private in much the same manner as her father preferred to live his life.
This explains in part why the world has written dozens of stories based upon repetitive Wikipedia accounts of his life history and photographic features about his many design achievements.
But all such articles are remarkedly devoid of personal references to the man who stood at one time at the very precipice of automotive design.
Now, since his passing on June 19th, 1993 Giovanna Scaglione has specially chosen to use our historical writing team to reveal the stories of his personal achievements, his struggles, agonies and above all his triumphs ...first hand, in English, for the world outside of Italy.
"… I will try to explain my father's character, not only as a designer but especially as a man and as a wonderful father.
"Over the years there has been very, very little information conveyed about my Babbo from his personal standpoint... until now!"
Our series of intimate interviews began in May 2017 in her comfortable living room along the Mediterranean coast of Italy where the long story of the life of Franco Scaglione began to unfold…
In her very comfortable apartment meet Giovanna Scaglione, Corresponding Editor Renzo Carbonaro and Robert Little...with Ulrich Zensen holding the camera!
....but how did we get there in the first place?
The team of www.AutodeltaGoldenYears.com, formed in the early part of 2014 began to research and reveal the untold and unexplored stories of the Alfa Romeo factory racing experience of the post WWII period.
New chapters were opened from time to time and soon we started looking in closer detail at one of the most fascinating motorcars the world has ever seen. The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.
Not only was the engine fascinating but the design of the car was just stunning.
Who was the genius behind this design?
We all "knew" the name Franco Scaglione was somehow connected with the birth of this car but the complete story was somehow unclear. Certainly the man himself seemed to be a mystery figure to many in the western world outside of the Italian market.
We learned a lot through our Senior Correspondent in Roma Vladimir Pajevic and drew closer and closer to the car and to the designer.
Then in May 2017 three editors of AutodeltaGoldenYears.com were driving through Tuscany on their way from Pistoia through the middle of Italy along the Mediterranean coastline to meet Giovanna Scaglione.
Renzo, our Italian Corresponding Editor and promotional mastermind had made contact with Giovanna a month prior and received an invitation to conduct her first interview for the English-speaking market outside of her homeland in over 24 years.
We had already encountered moving personal experiences that day as we visited Signore Carrara and his historic Alfa Romeo T-33/2 Spider and interviewed its famous driver Aldo Bardelli, visited the gravesite of Ing. Carlo Chiti and now were a bit anxious about meeting Giovanna...the only child of the great designer Scaglione.
Having done as much of our “homework” as we could to learn about her father and some tragic aspects in his life... and also knowing the sometimes difficult relationship between Franco Scaglione and Carlo Chiti... we really did not know what to expect or how some sensitive questions would be received by her.
All fears were immediately erased when Giovanna opened her door and warmly welcomed us... three total strangers invading her living room!
Giovanna appreciated our objective to learn and write about the personal aspects of her great designer father. Soon it became perfectly clear that she had one life goal in mind, to keep the memory of her father alive.
For over three hours we talked very openly about matters such as the Chiti - Scaglione relationship, the creation the 33 Stradale and the bitter aspects of his relationship with the then owner of Costruzione Automobili Intermeccanica Frank Reisner.
We learned about the family man Franco Scaglione had been, and were overwhelmed by all the facts Giovanna chose to share with us...
Giovanna proudly displayed for us loads of her father's memorabilia …books, family pictures paintings, drawings…as her father's life came alive before our eyes.
We spoke about many of his design achievements...the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale among them. A young American car enthusiast was one person she spoke about...the one-time owner of Berlinetta Aerodinamica Technica 9 from the State of Michigan, USA.
"Oh, you are speaking about Gary Kaberle, we can phone him."
The call did not go through on that particular Friday afternoon but this unsuccessful call will become the beginning of yet another story...
We were convinced that this had been a very special day for us but that more had to be done to honor and to promote the memory of Franco Scaglione... and his stunning accomplishments.
Our conversations with Giovanna continued over the succeeding five months...and now we arrive at the beginning of the story.
Part I: A Famous or Unsung Italian Designer?
Franco Scaglione held tremendous influence over all other great automobile designers across the globe because of his unique and creative knowledge of the fluidity of aerodynamics.
Dozens of designers, especially those working for the Detroit automobile manufacturers, travelled long distances to view his work and to, in a polite sense, approprate many of his conceptual lines and shapes to their own design products.
Despite all of his accomplishments and recognition earned within a closely-knit circle of his peers, Franco Scaglione still did not achieve in his lifetime the worldly recognition he had richly deserved.
This feature is dedicated to his memory and to further your own knowledge...to reacquaint yourself with his work...and also to develop a closer awareness of his personal struggles, characteristics, his personality, skills and some of his more obscure achievements.
The name of Franco Scaglione in Italy has long been synonymous for his uniquely-advanced beautiful style that grace a wide variety of automotive name plates back in his era.
Now...his three-decades of design influence and styling leadership has long since passed. And sadly, the rest of the world has remained in ignorance of his innate genius and the masterworks of his automobile art...
Journalists’ writings about Mr. Scaglione have drawn only scant historical attention even in recent years.
Generally, the name “Scaglione” has only risen to the surface when one of his many masterpieces... a Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale or one or more of the three Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica series cars... had been shown or discussed.
Perhaps this occurred because only a relatively few books written in Italian of his achievements remain available and none feature the first hand involvement or contribution from Mr. Scaglione himself.
Few journalists outside of Italy had made the effort to translate those few volumes and even fewer had contact with anybody who really knew or had worked with Scaglione…or even knew where he lived or where his offices had been located.
Most articles were simply Wikipedia retreads.
The true life-long student of the life of Franco Scaglione remains the professor of automotive design at the University of Florence… noted international writer and historian Dott. Massimo Grandi.
Dr. Grandi had come across our manuscript and graciously offered to our readers the beauty of his water color illustrations of important Scaglione achievements.
The preeminent record of Franco Vittorio Scaglione's life can be found in Dott. Grandi's compendium "Il Paradigna Scaglione"...from which our beautiful illustrations are derived.
Part II: Scaglione- “Getting To Know Him”
Franco Scaglione's reserved and minimalistic personality compelled him to draw heavenly automotive shapes according to his own innate sense of form and creativity.
Pencil in his left hand, Scaglione used to draw the shapes his mind visualized, with unique personal goals in mind to achieve the most ideal aesthetic and aerodynamic state of perfection.
His dream was of an automobile that, like a falling drop of rainwater in the air, could glide along with only the slightest turbulence and with the least friction possible…a car that could travel quickly without disturbing the outside air or creating whistling noises inside the cockpit.
His daughter Giovanna Scaglione has chosen to share with you, the interested reader, her personal love and deep affection for her father and hopes you will become more enamored with him as she begins her narration through her ‘personal glimpses’.…
“Aerodynamic studies were his great passion but always with a special eye toward elegance and style; he used to meld technique with beauty.
“He was a very experienced designer in all figurative art.
"Babbo was a very lover of arts in general but I don't think that he was influenced by somebody in a special way. We never talked about that.
“Babbo (affectionate Florentine term for ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’) was a great lover of airplanes when he was a young boy. He would have absolutely loved to enter the Italian Air Force but he was not accepted because of his near-sightedness.
He entered the University of Bologna in 1938 after achieving his aerodinamics degree in 1937 from the University of Florence. This new course of study combined his Italian military service obligation simultaneously with this degree program in Aeronautic Engineering. The outbreak of war interrupted this second degree program from being completed.
“When there was an air show he used to go and see it with great interest. He conveyed to me that great love for airplanes. When he was very young he studied aerodynamics, how the planes were built and their evolution.
“His knowledge about aerodynamic forces became the basis for his automotive engineering background.”
Abarth Record by Scaglione, Carrozeria Bertone, original rendering courtesy of the artist Dott. Massimo Grandi from "il Paradigna Scaglione".
“Babbo loved to read, to go to theater and listen to classic music. He had a vivid, active mind and a formidable memory. He was always curious about everything and interested in everything.
“He always took care of everything at home. He loved very much to cook, too!”.
“He loved very much to practice sports… swimming for example. He taught me to swim when I was only one year old! Another activity he loved a lot was rowing. In Torino there is a big river, Fiume Po. When I was eight years old he brought me with him on the river and he instructed me on the art of rowing.
“Our boat was a wooden racing model with two mobile seats. We used to leave from “Murazzi”, an area on the river where we had our boat, we rowed up to Moncalieri, about ten kilometers (~six miles) from Torino and back home.
“All along the year, on Saturday afternoon we always went on the river with our boat. We both loved it.
“When I grew up I used to go alone when he was busy.
“We spent a lot of time walking, long and beautiful walks, speaking about everything. But Babbo did not always have much time to spend with me and my mother, because of the pressure of his work, but what was important was not the quantity, but the quality of our time together …as in any situation.”
Young 19 year old Franco Scaglione with his new Fiat Balilla in 1935. Courtesy Giovanna Scaglione archives.
"Before the outbreak of World War II Babbo in 1935, he acquired his first car; it was a gift by his mother and his uncle… a Fiat Balilla 3 speed. He was 19 years old.
"He came back home at the end of the war after being held a prisoner by the British in India for over five years and bought another Balilla like the first one."
Part III: "The Terrible Years: Scaglione's World War II Imprisonment"
"I would like to post photos for you of the Yol concentration camp in India where my Babbo spent more than five long terrible years as a prisoner of war of the British. When they landed in Mombay (then Bombay) from Africa, it took 4 days by train to get close to Yol. Babbo lived in Field 25, Wing 5. Two clandestine camera images taken by Italian prisoner."
"Five years in absolute nothing."
"On the background you can see the Himalayas. There were 10,000 Italian prisoners."
Image taken with clandestine camera by Italian prisoner
Image taken with clandestine camera by Italian prisoner
"Five years in absolute nothing."
After spending one year with his mother in the south of Italy in Calabria to recover from the trama of captivity he relocated once again to Bologna in 1947 and began his initial job searches by writing letters to men who controlled the Italian design industry. A few relatives lived in the Bologna area in the event he needed family help or support.
Among the largest design houses of the day…Pinin Farina and Bertone were polite in their negative responses to the personal contacts he had cultivated with them.
Most firms chose not to respond to him at all.
Without a job in 1948 he turned to the clothing design trade.
While in Bologna he designed men’s and women’s clothing and made enough money to marry Maria Luisa on September 25, 1948 and begin to live very comfortably and fashionably.
Maria Luisa Scaglione drawn by her loving husband Franco. Currently in Giovanna's living room. Courtesy of the Giovanna Scaglione archives
Soon two years later his first and only child was born…Giovanna…when he was 34 years of age.
Giovanna proudly relates:
“I have the dress my Babbo drew for my mother for their engagement; when I married I asked to my mother to wear it, a beautiful dress that fitted very well after 33 years. I also have the blouse she wore when they married and again drawn by my father…a wonderful blouse. “
“I also have some dress models made by my father for avant garde fashion houses when he worked in Bologna. He drew also my wedding dress and the little hat I had on my head.
“He was a ‘Prince of Taste’ about dressing. A simple design but always chic.”
“My father spoke and wrote perfectly four languages: English, French, German, Spanish and he knew enough Greek to get along well. These languages he was very passionate about it and never had difficulty learning them.
"He wanted me to study languages but I was not fit at all for them. My goal was to study Arts, to have a degree in architecture and to work in archeology. But Babbo didn't agree to that, at those times parents decided for their sons and daughters; he wanted me to become a simultaneous translator; that decidion didn't get realized and displeasure got to both of us. I managed to graduate without honor and without glory !!!
So everything went away …we both were disappointed but for different reasons!”
Franco Scaglione had a lifelong love for animals and birds of all descriptions and conveyed this appreciation of wildlife to his wife Maria Luisa and daughter Giovanna:
“I think that when my mother was pregnant with me (still in Bologna in early 1950), walking through Babbo’s street my mother noticed two little boys playing with some emphasis at a fountain. Curiously, he approached and realized that the children had found a small bird and tried to drown him. Babbo took the little boy’s hands away from the bird, scolded them well and took the bird away to save him. With mom he brought him to the vet and entrusted to him to make sure the little bird found a way to freedom.
“When a dog or cat was found he was always looking for a suitable name."
"While working in the upper echelon of the Italian clothing trade during the period 1948-1949, Scaglione continued to try to enter the budding automobile design industry."
"His chosen method was modified to approach and present his credentials through the personal contacts he would generate… visiting various auto shows and other occasions and meeting important principals such as Balbo, Stanguellini, Pinin Farina, Bertone and Enzo Ferrari.
"He chose not to write letters to these people and not to wait idly by for responses which might have never arrive.
"At each point of contact he would arrange for a private appointment with those principals to display his skills and knowledge.
"After 1951 he didn’t make any other dress models as he had a lot of work with car drawings."
Mr. and Mrs. Franco Scaglione and their pet "Frida" on the streets of Bologna 1948. Courtesy of the Giovanna Scaglione archives.
"The photo was taken at Bologna in Via Ugo Bassi.
"My uncle took it. My dad loved the animals as well as my mom. A passion that has also passed to me.
"When a dog or cat was found he was looking for a suitable name. In Torino we found an Irish setter, deserted, a poor lean beast who was scared. We named it "Breadstick".
"The dog you see in the above picture was a Danish (big size about 70 kg). In the house we have always had dogs and cats together. All abandoned animals. Babbo took them and brought them home.
"We got to have 5 dogs and 7 cats. How much love and joy they brought home!"
“When he went on to Torino to begin his automobile designer career in 1951 he bought a new Fiat Balilla 3 speed. But he loved much more to use public transport to get around, for relaxing and for comfort.
“But very often he preferred to walk also for long distances. My mother didn't get a car driver’s license, not for fear but because she was inattentive she said.
"She used to say: 'I don't want to cause an accident with anybody in my car.' 'Women at the wheel are dangerous' !! "
“Later Babbo bought one of the first Alfa Romeo Giulietta cars (a white Sprint...his own design... first series in 1954) that he used until he stopped driving due to declining health.”
Giuletta Sprint by Scaglione, original rendering courtesy of the artist Dott. Massimo Grandi from "il Paradigna Scaglione".
"I used to go to Monza to see the Grand Prix with my Babbo and my mother. We had special tickets for the private boxes above the pit lane. If possible I used to go onto the pit lane".
“Babbo had many friends among the mechanics and drivers, but I was too young and I have no memory of that period. When I became older I used to go to see the Grand Prix with some friends of mine.
“Babbo used to go to see other Grand Prix races with Nuccio Bertone, as they were both very enthusiastic race fans and also attended for their work. Babbo was not interested in rallies, however."
“I have a very beautiful memory: It was 1967 and the Intermeccanica IMX was being introduced to the public on the Monza circuit. Before the event I persuaded my Babbo to have a test drive with the car on the circuit. Of course it was not for me to drive… Babbo drove the car and we had a complete tour of the circuit. It was a wonderful experience and a great excitement I will never forget."
“Yes, Babbo used to speak about politics, but always in a quiet manner, with great respect of the other person’s opinions. Every day, at home or on bus or on the train going to work he read the newspaper “La Stampa” edited in Torino. We often spoke about politics at home and everybody expressed their own opinion. He never took part in any political organization, however.”
“He didn't love to play cards or other table games. Sometimes he played cards with his friends but only to spend free time. He loved a lot to listen to the radio… novels or classic music".
“In those years people used to go to play in Casinos, but my Babbo went there only two or three times with Mr. Bertone. He could play chess, but he was bored by the game. Nobody in our home was a fan of games. My mother, however, played the card game 'solitaire' sometimes.”
Part IV: The Beginning of His Automobile Design Period
To solicit employment by the 1950 period, Scaglione turned to calling design executives to initiate an appointment, as he learned it was better to speak personally, display his sketches and provide commentary about each one.
Scaglione used to meet people such Balbo, Stanguellini, Pinin Farina, Bertone, Ferrari and others at various auto shows or in other venues and then arrange to have a private meeting to present his skills and wide-ranging knowledge.
This period from 1949 and 1950 could be considered to be his second auto industry job-seeking transition period.
There were no letters from his job seeking years in Giovanna's archives to examine.
In 1951 Scaglione moved to Torino and sought employment once again in the automobile design trade...far closer to the center of gravity of the automobile design trade. At first he and Luisa moved to Corso Matteotti, 29 and later to Via Osasco, 2.
By this time, Italy’s car industry was achieving new strength and momentum…Alfa Romeo and Fiat, among others built new factories literally over the old ones destroyed in Allied bombing or inside those that had been dedicated to military production.
While the first post war cars were largely heavy, expensive bulky pre-war models… post war economic development began to fill the Italian family bank account with the slow advance of the “Boom Economico” and car production and selling began to increase very quickly…shifting gradually to small cars that people could more comfortably afford.
In this fast advancing scenario, small coachbuilders began to spring up in the marketplace with the production of small to medium-sized cars employing Alfa Romeo and Fiat naked chassis’ and dressing them with in fabulous creations …very small production masterworks of art.
At those times ambitious car designers worked inside their little "Carrozzerie" and tended to locate themselves in the Piedmont area of Italy near the border of France and Switzerland…and near the Fiat industry compound in Torino.
Once again, Franco Scaglione was trying to enter this burgeoning world of automobile design and selected several key companies he felt particularly compatible with.
Few even bothered to return his telephone calls. Once again, as in a earlier job campaign Battista Pinin Farina was very appreciative in his response to Scaglione but was again not able to offer him a job.
It should be noted that Scaglione wanted to be independent and not to work "at the orders of..." as asked by Battista Pinin Farina.
To the above point there was also the fact that Pinin Farina established a personal policy not to allow the names of his designers to be associated with the firm’s creations.
Nuccio Bertone, an independent designer himself, had work to offer Mr. Scaglione and similarly Bertone was able to reluctantly agree to collaborate more or less on the designer’s terms…which included the freedom, at least in the beginning of their relationship, to accept outside commissions while working in a small non-descript office in the Bertone building beside the little factory next door...
Scaglione received a few commissions put forth by Carrozeria Balbo in 1951 creating two unique 1951-1952 Lancia Aurelia B50 coupes. Another commission from Balbo in 1951 resulted in the stunningly unique Lancia Aurelia B53 coupe …just recently immaculately restored and featured with Giovanna in a memorable Fall 2017 afternoon reintroduction in Modena.
The Lancia Aurelia B53 of 1951. Presented at the Torino Motor Show in April 1952. It is one of the very first designed by Mr. Scaglione. Image courtesy of Angelo Rosa, Fotografia Industriale.
Image courtesy of Angelo Rosa, Fotografia Industriale.
Another commission from Balbo resulted in the beautiful FIAT 1400 Balbo in 1952, and then he earned yet another commission to design the “Fiat 1100 Utiletta Frasca” from Carrozzeria Ansaloni.
1953 Ferrari-Abarth by Scaglione, original rendering courtesy of the artist Dott. Massimo Grandi from "il Paradigna Scaglione".
Fiat Abarth 1500 Coupe for Bertone. This car is very famous in that it was the very first vehicle completely produced as designed by Mr. Scaglione in 1952. Copyright Bertone.
.At this point in his life, things were beginning to slowly and comfortably settle into place for himself professionally and for his new and beloved family.
"We used to go to Bologna very often, during the weekend, to meet my mother's brothers. My father had only one old uncle (his father's brother) who lived in Calabria, at Carolei, a little village, 10 km. from Cosenza; about 1200 km. from Torino.
"Every year me and my mother used to go there in September for about 30 days as we had our family home there. My father didn't come with us because he couldn't leave his work for so much time.
"Sometimes, in Torino, we went out and met friends but as every family had little sons, we used to go back home very early in the night. A quiet life it used to be during those times"
Part V: Scaglione Achieves His Dreams…with Bertone
Nuccio Bertone, who truly appreciated Scaglione’s work, was generally inclined to leave Scaglione completely alone to work through the young master’s ideas and fantasies, but Bertone always bore in mind the necessity to achieve economic success through the mass production of his line of cars. He impressed upon the young designer the need to convert his design ideals to big production numbers.
“That bond with Nuccio Bertoneoriginated in the 1950's and turned out to be an enduring and stimulating one. For nine years my father had the opportunity to experiment, honing his art and flair on many sports cars."
If we watch the number of cars produced under Scaglione’s design language leadership during his overall career, we see about 60 cars elaborated in total.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale achieved 2,500 units of production, the Alfa Romeo Giuletta Sprint coupe and the NSU Sport Prinz Coupe each generated more than 20,000 units and the Lamborghini 350 GTV Coupe slightly over 140 units produced.
All of the other brainchild designs of Mr. Scaglione were “one-off” models, were design leaders of their time...that our eyes even to this day... never tire of caressing.
The historical fact of his low production numbers explains how his uniqueness and his driven nature to create rolling art showed how obsessed he was to find uncompromising stylistic perfection.
Other designers, he believed, had the more pragmatic tasks of trying to convert their dreams into economic successes.
In the ensuing years his long list of historic achievements working with the Carrozeria Bertone accumulated.
Fiat Abarth 1500 Coupe- first car designed for Bertone 1952
Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva prototypes
Alfa Romeo Sprint Coupe
The Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica 5
The Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica 7
The Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica 9
Fiat Abarth 750 and 1000 Record models
Arnolt-Aston Martin DB2/4
Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale
NSU Prinz Sport spider and coupe
Porsche-Abarth Carrara GTL
Maserati 3500 GT Coupe
1963 Stanguellini - Moto Guzzi Colibri by Scaglione, original rendering courtesy of the artist Dott. Massino Grandi, "Il Paradigna Scaglione".
Many, many other automobiles in this period were made…some hardly ever seen even today produced to the wishes of private, wealthy individuals.
At this point his association with Nuccio Bertone ended.
Giovanna shares her viewpoint on this matter of the Bertone separation of 1959:
“No, I think that there were no other factors in play in his departure from Bertone that have not been publicly identified up until now. And besides all, all the two versions are true ones. Bertone was a little bothered when it happened that in a magazine article they wrote about Franco Scaglione and not about Bertone (Autoitaliana, Motor Italia, Italian revues or Retroviseur, French revue), but my Babbo didn't do anything to show or highlight himself.”
“It was for his works that he was so valued. For example, in an article speaking about one of his works, his name was mentioned three times and the name of Bertone was mentioned only once… it happened that Bertone was a little annoyed, but I think that this had never been a true cause of clash.”
“After nine years spent at Bertone, Babbo wished to open his own studio and his first client was the Japanese company.”
“So it happened that his collaboration with Bertone came to an end and new younger designers came to Bertone and it is also possible that Bertone desired to have a turn (at taking the design leadership for his firm).”
“Babbo and Bertone didn't meet again for working collaboratively together; they met from time to time during auto shows all over Europe where they exchanged opinions and talk.”
Part VI: Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica
Instead of presenting to you, the reader, with yet another narrative based upon the writing of others who probably had no first or second or tenth hand knowledge of the true facts surrounding the creation of the Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica series... we have chosen to simply reproduce the facsimile below which should serve to illuminate the BAT process from the standpoint of Bertone.
Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica series by Scaglione, original rendering courtesy of the artist Dott. Massimo Grandi, "il Paradigna Scaglione".
Copy of the original Bertone document furnished through the courtesy of Gary Kaberle. Photo by the author.
Sender: G.B. Panicco
Receiver: Mr. Strother MacMinn
Date: November 24, 1989
Subject: BAT cars
Dear Mr. MacMinn,
Thanks for your fax of November 14. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has been a very important event for us and we thank you again for the unique chance given us.
Coming to the specific questions you are asking about the BATs, I must unfortunately say that no historical documents are available with Bertone.
The answers you will find here below come out from memories, talks and so on had with Nuccio Bertone himself.
1. The idea for the BAT production was entirely conceived by Bertone and there was no cooperation by Alfa Romeo to the project. The main philosophy of BAT cars in Bertone mind was to explore the ultimate possibility of advanced design. The choice of Alfa Romeo engine and chassis was the consequence of an important work given in those days by Alfa Romeo to Bertone.
2. As previously told, there was no financial cooperation by Alfa Romeo. Bertone bought the necessary chassis and just informed Alfa Romeo about the idea of using those chassis as the basical mechanical lay-out of a future show car with no plan of possible production. No tests were executed by Alfa Romeo because their experimental department was too busy and too much engaged in other projects at that time.
3. The design of the BAT cars came out straight away. The design project was the very immediate expression of the first idea. The design theme was developed with the cooperation of Franco Scaglione and with the great and unique craftmanship of Ezio Cingolani who was responsible of the project development and manufacturing.
4/5. The BAT 5 model was made directly in full size with very few sketches and most of the work directly done at the modelling stage by Franco Scaglione and continuously reviewed by Nuccio Bertone himself. The same happened for BAT 7 and BAT 9. The previous experience of BAT 5 made the manufacturing of BAT 7 and BAT 9 easier and faster. You have to keep in mind that the three cars were 100% handmade. At that time, no wind tunnel tests were executed. In order to get some aerodynamic information we used the system of fitting on the outside body some wool threads. The cars were then driven on the road at different speeds and the pictures showed the aerodynamic movements of the wool threads.
6. In our file, we discovered that only BAT 5 was sold to Mr. Arnolt. The car was delivered on October 1st, 1953 at the price of USD 7650. BAT 7 was sold on January 13, 1955 to Alfa Romeo for ITl 3,850,000. We have no records about the sale of BAT 9D. Even better, in our file the car is still registered as Bertone property!!
7. The sales price of BAT cars were not aimed to recover the cost of the cars but mainly to “get rid” of them. In fact, for years the strategy of many Italian design Companies, including Bertone, was to show the car and immediately sell them due to lack of storing place.
Sorry for not having more information about BAT cars. I hope anyhow this information will reach you in due time.
Giovanna adds that she was a very young child when the Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica cars were designed by her father...but she does recall the following story her Babbo told her as a little girl:
"These were machines designed and built, not to enter production, but for aerodynamic studies. As everyone knows, they were, however, perfectly designed and capable with certain production modifications of being produced in the future. The European market was not ready for such a futuristic car. I think I have told Robert that BAT 7 has been taken to the Geneva Motor Show via the road by being driven instead of trucked".
"The Bertone staff were extremely late in completing the vehicle for the Geneva show and there was no time to take it with the truck, too slow".
"Nuccio decides to take the car on the highways. Nuccio and Babbo leave with the car and with a spare car and a pair of mechanics, spare wheels and some pieces that could serve in case of failure. Of course a car like this (testing licence plates) attracted the attention of other motorists. When the BAT for stopped gasoline a lot of people surrounded the cars' fenders, admiring it and in doing so asked many questions".
"Time was short and they had to leave immediately. A few words of thanks and away. The two and the BAT arrived at Geneva healthy and fresh: a beautiful car wash, a polish and then they brought the BAT 7 to the Salon. We know how much attention they raised !"
Photo credit: @2019 Peter Harholt
Part VII: The Zenith of his Career - Scaglione's Independent Sixties
While the American titans of automobile design continued from the early 1950’s to travel long distances to the Temples of Design such as Torino and Geneva, London and Paris to learn and observe the holy grail of styling trends being introduced by Franco Scaglione, the Japanese did more than observe and openly plagiarize his design language…
“Only when he designed the Prince Motors Skyline Sprint 1900 for a Japanese company (presented at Tokyo Auto Show in 1960), the company sent to Italy one of his engineers, Mr. Takeshi Inoue, in order to teach him how my father used to work on a project".
“Mr Takeshi stayed a full year in Italy working side by side with my Babbo in his laboratory (at that time he didn't work anymore for Bertone). With Inoue we had a good friendship… he used to come by our house for dinner. He spoke with Babbo in English but tried to speak Italian with me and my mother".
Mr. Takeshi Inoue and Franco Scaglione working together in the designers' office in Torino. Mr. Inoue had been posted by his employer Prince Motor Company to learn from the master how the art of design was realized.
“Mr Inoue went back to Tokyo when the full-sized wooden shape (built by ditta Raniero in Orbassano) was completed and delivered to Japan. Original drawings were delivered directly to the address of the Company in Japan by air mail".
The original Skyline Sprint 1900 designed by Scaglione was spotted 12 years ago still hidden away by Nissan.
Mr. Inoue remained at Nissan and was later involved in the creation of the Skyline series until his retirement.
“Anyway, Babbo was always happy to give advice and lend support to everybody who asked him…”
Scaglione was an extrovert personality, cheerful and he loved the company of other people, and always making himself available to help others.
But by the opposite token he didn't like to show himself off and to be the center of attention, as others around him were accustomed to doing.
So, it could be said among whose people who didn't know him that he was an arrogant extrovert and yet others would consider his gentle, helpful demeanor to be that of an introvert.
1963 Sykline Sprint 1900
Efforts initiated by a Scaglione historian have thus far proven unsuccessful in locating Mr. Inoue whose company Prince Motors was absorbed by Nissan of Japan.
During the remainder of his career, Scaglione worked alone, without collaborative associates and not again offering himself as a mentor or guidance teacher.....
The absolutely marvelous Scaglione-designed ATS 2500 berlinetta of 1963
An internationally acclaimed graphic artist was once quoted as saying:
“I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting the last little piece perfect.”
Such a quotation could easily have been applied to Franco Scaglione’s professional standards.
While not everyone will enjoy and appreciate all of his individual design accomplishments, his achievement in the reduction of coefficient of drag, the elimination of air friction or ‘slipperiness’ rates him in the pantheon of greatness…well beyond the achievements his contemporaries.
Scaglione returned to his hometown of Florence in 1934 and entered the University of Florence, earning a degree in Aerodynamical Engineering in 1937.
Only one or two other individuals practicing the art of automotive design in the world during the 1950's and early 1960's had the training and substantial aerodinamic engineering experience to equal that of Mr. Scaglione.
The actual model created by Franco Scaglione in 1/24th scale along with modelling tools he probably used in the period. Image courtesy of Gary Kaberle
Giovanna comments on the early test of a Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale engineering prototype:
“…all of his standards were achieved without the use of a ‘galleria del vento’…a wind gallery."
“The aerodynamic tests of Sprint Speciale. Not being a wind gallery used but this method is simple, but equally effective way: woolen threads, attached with sticky scotch tape all along the sideboard, hood, and so on. Another car with a cameraman flanked the one in the test and took photographs and video footage when a pre-determined speed was reached for a careful study of how the wool threads reacted".
“One could notice immediately where vortexes were created that could disturb the aerodynamics of the machine. As you can see, woolen threads are absolutely aligned with the machine, except in small points near the wheels. Nice experience and absolutely good value.”
Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
Courtesy of the Giovanna Scaglione archives.
Consider the words of famous Alfa Romeo test driver Teodoro Zeccoli, writing a note to Giovanna Scaglione concerning the superiority of the 33 Stradale design upon its very first aerodynamic testat the Balocco test track and his personal appreciation of her father Franco.
Teo Zeccoli wrote:
“I only work as a test driver and I have to say that there was no need for aerodynamic modifications from the original design.
“I was more impressed by the safety in designing and handling of the car without the need for testing in the wind tunnel.
“From the first test on Balocco track with wool threads, and (we discovered this fact) right away...
“By guiding it through the conclusion of the test (project), it was completely neutral and also very fast.
“Your father was a delightful person and I was working (with him) with enthusiasm and I must acknowledge the merit of him teaching me so many aerodynamic secrets.
"With him I can only say that I was always working extremely well.”
To find out more about the Alfa 33 Stradale's soul, let's mention what Henry Wessels III, the first private owner of a Stradale said:
"At that time there were no speed limits in Italy and the police stopped you only for curiosity. But most often they made gestures to say 'Forward, from the gas!'
"Once, on the highway to Venice, I ran for four kilometers at 10,000 rpm in sixth gear. The speedometer indicated 290 km /h.(about 175 mph). Incredibly, under 240 per hour there was a lot of mechanical noise and when surpassing the 260 mark the intense noise in the passenger compartment dissapeared.
The car was incredibly stable, even in the case of a transverse wind, it continued to travel beautiful straight " -(from an article of Automobilismo d'Epoca)
The wool threads and scotch tape did not lie!
Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives
Franco Scaglione Torino 1960.
Part VIII: Scaglione’s Near Crisis Creating the World’s Most Beautiful Automobile -
The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
From the moment of the first T-33 victory at the 1967 Fléron hillclimb in Belgium to support the growing success of Alfa Romeo racing cars on the circuits of the world, and to add contrast against other competing European “dream cars”, President Luraghi (CEO of Alfa Romeo S.p.A.) absolutely wanted to start small production of a high performance road car.
He appointed the volcanic personality Ing. Carlo Chiti to accomplish his desire, and Chiti in turn approached Franco Scaglione, the genial, sophisticated Tuscano car body designer...who Chiti knew to be the most talented car design artist in the world of automotive design at that time.
Chiti and Scaglione had collaborated as two fellow Tuscans on the ATS 2500 berlinetta.
Scaglione had accepted the design commission while the assembly of those 12 ATS units were contracted to Carrozzeria Allemano.
Speaking about Scaglione, one must remember his impeccable sense of beautiful, artistic "design language", his low tolerance for compromise and his driven fury to transform anything into a perfect artistic shape.
Of noble origins, Scaglione was considered a kind of arbiter within his automobile design circles.
Observing Mr. Scaglione's three preliminary drawings of the proposed 33 Stradale laid before him, Luraghi immediately chose just one of extraordinarily rare beauty and proclaimed:
“Let us produce this one” - - Giuseppe Luraghi
Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale by Scaglione, original rendering courtesy of the artist Dott. Massimo Grandi, "il Paradigna Scaglione".
The proposed car was an amazing design achievement for the day…or any day for that matter… and the initial proposal was to build 50 units based upon the winning “Fléron” chassis.
The Fléron chassis was a futuristic concept based on two large diameter, riveted magnesium tubes, connected together with the same diameter-sized tubular cross member at the rear of the cockpit, forming an irregular H shape perimeter frame of the car.
Another peculiarity was its fuel tank situated inside those huge tubes that ensured the 'roll center' and perfect balance of the chassis would always be maintained...regardless of the remaining fuel volume.
The steering, double wishbone suspension and V-8 engine were mounted on magnesium-alloy subframes. The chassis was produced by a small aircraft factory "Aeronautica Sicula" located in Palermo (riveted magnesium tubes) and "Campagnolo" from Vicenza (front and rear subframe).
The “Stradale” road version featured a number of differences from the race version. The mainframe tubes of the road version were produced of steel, and the extended wheelbase (+10 cm) allowed substantially more cockpit space... while the two magnesium subframes were reinforced with steel to afford major impact protection.
Even in the road version, the chassis was not so different from the one used for racing...the difference being the racing version had some interior structural components fashioned in aluminum instead of steel.
Scaglione demanded and was granted full freedom in designing this dream car with the outcome resulting in an uncompromised layout of stunning proportion.
The engine was slightly detuned for road use, with the redline set at 10,000 rpm. Compression was reduced to 10.0:1, yielding 230 bhp at 8,800 rpm with Italian SPICA fuel injection.
The car followed Alfa Romeo President Luraghi’s edict that the road version specifications must not be inferior by more than 5% from its competition version. While everything else was conceived at extreme spartan levels, the cockpit was sufficiently comfortable and had its own slick, sexy racing appeal.
The major problem for the extremely low Scaglione design of the car (99 cm) was the difficulty in accessibility (getting in and out!).
To resolve that inconvenience Franco Scaglione conceived and produced a vertical opening of the doors along with part of the roof. That solution gave an absolutely stunning appearance to this already exotic design.
To fabricate the body Ing. Chiti and designer Scaglione adopted Peraluman H350 lightweight alloy, and it was mutually decided to build the first prototype car directly inside the Autodelta premises at Settimo Milanese. The working space was allocated in the same section of the building where racing engines were assembled.
The shortage of experienced technicians capable of shaping Peraluman obliged Scaglione to accept the loan of skillful workers from Zagato, and to start traveling daily from his home in Torino to the Autodelta Settimo Milanese walled factory to supervise the building progress on the car.
This tubular chassis is the basis for the competition version owning to the two fuel intake openings shown in the foreground. Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
Franco Scaglione enjoyed an excellent relationship with all of those around him.
Giovanna recalls those days... with her father commuting from their home in Torino to Milano’s Stazione Centrale each morning.
She shares with us a look into his daily life routine...
"Babbo, every day at 6 o'clock in the morning, took the train to reach Milano. At the station he found a worker who had to go from the station to the factory. So they loaded him into the car and went to work together. In the evening he took the train at 7pm. And returned home at 9 p.m. We had time to dine together. All this lasted for more than a year and a half.
"Babbo was a very cheerful and kind person, both at home and at work. Always determined to prevail over his reasons when designing a new car and always available to help workers to model the dress of the car. He used to spend a lot of time working in the workshop side by side with the workers.
"Everybody was pleased of his presence... especially when they were in a trouble with the rapid advancement of work.
"I can say that “Babbo” felt better by the workers side than with managers, with whom time to time he had big fights.
"At lunchtime, my Babbo always ate with the workers. There was no table and so they all brought something from home, including father. You will look strange, but that's alright.
"At home he was always very understanding. Even when he returned tired, he never neglected Mom and me. We always wanted a great deal. Sometimes there were discussions but never anything serious. For me he was a wonderful father.
"Thoughtful but very attentive to my education, making me understand where I was wrong and helping me to grow polite, helpful, he was able to understand the little problems of a child.
"And let me add...time to time we had a few arguments, but never important. For me, “Babbo” had always been a great dad. A thoughtful father, but teaching a good education; when I made mistakes he used to tell me what I made wrong and helped me to grow with good moral principles in order to face life without remorse."
Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
Part IX: The Stradale Project Encounters Unforeseen Difficulties
Two genius' rarely co-exist together comfortably...and sure enough...problems arose between Ing. Chiti, immersed in his racing world, and Scaglione compelled to resolve the growing technical and assembly problems completely alone by himself.
That silent war was flavored with numerous embittered letters that Scaglione sent without effects to all pertinent addresses.
Years later, Scaglione would describe his permanence at Settimo Milanese as “the worst period of his life”. However, with proverbial Tuscan obstinacy, he finished the first prototype in a relatively short time... from January to September 1967.
The finished product was proudly presented to the public at the occasion of the Sport Car Show in Monza. Some remaining testing was finished up just before the point of its official presentation at the Torino Automobile Show in November 1967.
The car shocked the public with its aggressive appearance, its sensual appeal and its price... which was at the top of almost every automobile price list at the global level.
After the initial example was completed under the huge, expansive cathedral-like Autodelta ceiling, Scaglione left Settimo Milanese and Alfa Romeo forever.
“It is considered one of the most beautiful cars ever made. But before the 33 Stradale was able to see the flowers it was a real amazing event to behold behind the scenes… between my father’s daily verbal litigations with Ing. Carlo Chiti, difficult, exhausting and emotionally tiring working conditions, fifteen months of daily commuting from Torino to Milano and return each night (over 350 km travelled each day, starting at the very early hours of the morning and returning to the very late evening) and remuneration delivered with great delays, more than once my Babbo was on the verge of abandoning the enterprise.”
Alfa Romeo had presented to him in October of 1966 a contract for him to review, and on the 29th dayof December 1966 he signed that contract making specific requests. Ing. Carlo Chiti countersigned the agreement on behalf of the corporation.
There was no strict stipulation concerning the number of cars to be supervised by Scaglione under the terms of the contract.
The document was written in an abstract manner specifying the prototype, a single car, to be created 'in situ' in Autodelta workspace with all necessary requirements provided by Scaglione and under his direct control.
It was Scaglione who later decided to satisfy President Luraghi's desire to build a competition Stradale version. When those plans for a racing version were abandoned months later, Scaglione promised to finish the car at a convenient future date.
That particular car was to be eventually given the chassis number 105.33.12 and today rests in splender at the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico in Arese, Italy.
“Requests were disregarded unleashing the wrath of my Babbo. And it was utterly incomprehensible how the company’s leadership could think of taking on such a delicate and challenging job as creating a prototype in a workshop that, like all equipment, could make available only a workbench with vise in poor condition, a portable arc welding, a welding cart and the sole welder to work with part-time.
“Requests by Babbo resulted in Autodelta subsequently dropping certain of its conditions so as not to trigger the anger of the Tuscan designer. In several cases, hours and hours were lost while waiting for Mr. Caffa to be free for a welding operation!
"There was not a pipe bending machine, not a sheet metal bending table, not a calandra, less than you could find in a small repair shop!”
In February 1967 Scaglione ordered the necessary wooden form for shaping the body from the Giovanni Raniero workshop in Orbassano. The form arrived in Settimo Milanese in April, a photo of one essentially like the one Scaglione used is shown separately.
“You come to know, so, he had to only a single worker who, after more than a month, arrives a second.”
Scaglione continued to complain as he knew that he had only one worker available and after more than a month came a second worker from the main Alfa Romeo factory downtown at Portello. These alarming manpower shortages were not known to Scaglione when he signed that binding contract back in December of 1966.
Her father told her…as Giovanna continues…growing visably upset as she continues with the story...
”I did take as much as I could, even in the workshop, reducing me to workmanship team-leader, both for contacts with suppliers...
“I had to take every possible step, both in the workshop, reducing myself to working as a boss-team worker and to contacts with suppliers…” a completely frustrated Scaglione was quoted as telling his daughter.
In the meantime, Scaglione ordered two “lastrature” (full shapes) in aluminium (already cut pieces to be modelled on the wooden form) from his regular suppliers Saracino e Lingua from Druento near Torino.
The very first difficulty for Scaglione was being forced to abandon the vital assistance of his two finest Torinese shape masters, Messrs. Giannini and Pareschi, who found working conditions at Autodelta well below their own acceptable standards.
Scaglione continued his work alone lamenting the lack of almost elementary tools and (the letter still exists) asking for more help from Alfa Romeo President Giuseppe Luraghi.
Luraghi ordered the detachment of two workers from Arese as permanent helpers for Scaglione, and thus he started working on the lightened version of Stradale, known as the 'second' prototype car with four headlights.
The vehicle was conceived and ultimately completed using existing aluminum "lastratura"... lightweight construction practices... on internal components and was created over a standard steel chassis...in spite of 'fake news' urban legends to the contrary.
He returned to work on prototype No. 01; the lightened version No.02 would only receive his personal attention and be completed in May 1968 after vehicle No. 3 was produced under Scaglione’s direct supervision at the Marazzi workshop.
Chronologically, Scaglione personally completed his cars in this order: first vehicle 105.33.01 'four headlight version' at Autodelta; his second vehicle was 750.33.101 at Marazzi; the third vehicle was started at Autodelta in Settimo Milanese and completed as 105.33.12 in May 1968 at Marazzi...almost two months after Scaglione had been 'fired' by Autodelta in March of 1968 !
Franco Scaglione was an extremely responsible person.
When he accepted a duty to create a vehicle he believed it was his moral and ethical duty to bring the agreement to its complete and satisfactory conclusion.
That second car Scaglione completed was originally conceived as a 'four light version' adopted for series production.
Because of changing Italian certification issues, the lower two headlights were no longer permitted for the street cars. Thus, the original four light design was changed to two light design without Scaglione finding it necessary to modify the original exterior shape.
Wooden body shaping model from Giovanni Raniero workshop in Orbassano. Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
As Teodoro Zeccoli, Chief Test Driver for Autodelta for three decades told us when we met him in Imola last May 2017 :
"I remember that workers used to beat the sheet on a big wood form with a hammer then posed it on the shape to see the effect"
Production area showing the process of "fibra di verto" (fiberglass mounting) for the Alfa Romeo T-33/2 Daytona coupé vehicles..same assembly area as used for the 33 Stradale... shown here at the Autodelta factory in Setttimo Milanese.
Mr. Scaglione was desperate because of bad working conditions at Autodelta and he started complaining to all the pertinent people involved…Ing. Satta Puglia , President Luraghi and director Generale Chiti for example. Chiti was irritated with Scaglione’s behavior, and explosive as he was Chiti started to act impertinent to Scaglione on more than one occasion.
The first prototype was well along in production while the second somewhat lightened car was parked next to it under a covering having been delayed by Alfa Romeo management.
There exists an internal Autodelta note dated in August 1967 listing several small changes that were to be executed before presenting the first prototype to President Luraghi, and in September the body was completed and presented at the Monza Special Cars show...and it's shape was nothing short of sensational. The vehicle was internally referred to by Mr. Scaglione as the "marketing car" .
However, there was not an available engine to put into the car … all were being used for racing cars.
In October regular series production at Marazzi began.
Scaglione although contrary in disposition and as upset as he was, moved the wooden form for body shaping from Autodelta to Marazzi near Saronno and began his work.
Scaglione had already accepted the task of having to instruct Marazzi workers how to manage Peraluman H33 used for the body of the Stradale and to supervise production of the second car not specifically covered by his contract.
At the specific request of Carlo Marazzi, the assembly of the 33 Stradale would only happen under the direct control and supervision of Scaglione personally...as Marazzi knew that his workers were not capable of elaborating the Peraluman metal chassis skin.
Scaglione readily agreed with Mr. Marazzi of this fact although his opinion of the workmanship abilities of Marazzi factory employees was not as high as that held by Mr. Marazzi.
Under those conditions Scaglione proceeded to complete the first 'two headlight' version designed for production / road use.
Also in October was Scaglione’s report about his progress on the second car serial 105.13.12...the lightened one...and his promise to first supervise the final production of the 'marketing' Stradale and then revert back to 105.13.12 as soon as possible.
Once again this work on the racing, lightened version was not covered by his contract but he considered it his ethical responsiblity.
In November the first Stradale was presented at the Torino Car Show and was a positive shock. Its success was enormous and its announced price among the highest on the market.
By the end of 1967 Scaglione's report contained a description of the progress being made with car N°2 (racing, lightened version) and N°3.
The progress had been slow… the workers unskilled and Scaglione was very disappointed with his position...not being contracted as a designer but more of a shop foreman.
He was certainly an extraordinary person with nice manners but extremely inflexible in his comportment.
In a word, he was an artist and not technician.
In the beginning of March 1968 Chiti informed Scaglione that his mission at Autodelta was over.
Mr. Scaglione was unceremoniously fired.
Though deeply embittered, Scaglione finished N°2 at the Marazzi workshop (on his own personal time and at his own emotional expense) as he had promised President Luraghi he would do during the previous year.
And as a parting farewell note in May of 1968 he summarized all his complaints in a three page letter to Luraghi and Ing. Satta Puliga, and two weeks later to Chiti personally.
This was his very last official appeal toAutodelta, Chiti and Alfa Romeo S.p.A.
While his relationships with Autodelta were quite often very rocky for a number of different reasons, Scaglione's most offensive confrontation came upon him when he was totally ignored in the preparation of the T-33/2 Daytona racing car...being designed and constructed in the same Autodelta building.
Giovanna painfully adds:
“Although my Babbo was present daily in Autodelta, the most offensive scandal occurred to him when he was beautifully ignored during the preparation of the T-33 Daytona racing car."
He was not consulted to assist in the aerodynamic preparation for the team of cars despite his reputation and history as a aerodynamicist.”
At this point in the narrative more observations are shared by our private source describing some of the more detailed interactions between Ing. Carlo Chiti and designer Franco Scaglione:
He starts by explaining....
“I had exchanged a letter with the late Maurizio Tabucchi about the birth of the 33 Stradale and of the spoiled relationship between Chiti and Scaglione. (There was already a river of ink about that, and the fact is … regardless to their previous excellent collaboration… the Stradale put the full stop to any of possibility of a further relationship).
“It is sure that Chiti had preferences for “his” Tuscan people, and their work together on the ATS 2500 berlinetta was successful. Chiti knew that Scaglione was N°1 and easily convinced Alfa Romeo President Luraghi in favor of his selection.
“However, something turned out to be wrong later."
Our source continues....
“Tabucchi (only in his private opinion) assumed that in these terms: Chiti was a known phenomena with all his attributes of being a 'spotlight chaser'.
"To share the public stage with Scaglione as a ‘co-star’ was not simply his game.
“Scaglione equally pretended his importance, or better yet, asked for that level of respect that he requested as a starting point in any enterprise where he was considered.
“To spoil the circumstances even more, there was the almighty IRI government oversight agency to put the brakes on any unusual Chiti decision that he might have proposed. The existance of the IRI absolutely drove Carlo crazy in most cases. Having to listen to Scaglione and his requests (usually reasonable) probably lead to … rude reactions of which Chiti was proverbially capable.
“Tabucchi wrote something like this in his letter…my interpretation."
Having a deep personal and professional relationship with Ing. Chiti, our source continues...
“Chiti was substantially a roughneck with a tender soul. After his frequent explosions, he always reverted to a ‘no hard feelings old chum’ position with true sincerity.
“Scaglione was different. Born and educated as a noble descendant, he was spiritual with sophisticated manners but in no way less intransigent than Big Carlo. The crash was inevitable and in those difficult circumstances, it was only the question of time.
“Tabucchi, who was close friend of Chiti (imagine two Pistoia people almost the same age!) confessed that on the occasion of a 33 Stradale dispute, Chiti was unrighteous and Scaglione deeply affronted.
“The truth is that Scaglione never forgave all those hard words.
“Chiti later regained all his benevolence towards Scaglione and praised his work with truly convincing heartfelt words.
"Years later, Chiti, in speaking about the 33 Stradale experience, he described Scaglione as a "real nice person" (gran brava persona) and I think that this is the correct interpretation of those facts."
The truth is that Scaglione too, with the passage of years had softened up his judgment about Chiti and his months commuting to and working in Settimo Milanese. Chatting with the late Maurizio Tabucchi and Luca Delle Carri in the occasion of an interview for Auto Capital magazine...an article that was published, as a sheer coincidence, in the exact same month that Scaglione passed away...Scaglione declared in the interview:
"For good Chiti, you had to satisfy his whims, and then you could work with him easily... (Il buon Chiti bisognava farlo scapricciare e poi ci si lavorare assieme...)."
Our source added more detailed background about Mr. Scaglione:
“Then, there was a kind of legend that was born with Nuccio Bertone’s statement that Scaglione was not technically prepared for designing “usable” parts for production. Nothing can be said more wrong than this, but no wonder coming from Nuccio Bertone.
“With all his importance acknowledged, Bertone was and remained “The Coachbuilder”.
"Scaglione was certainly capable of any project solution but he was also “The True Artist” and in continuous search for beauty in any form.
“He was also extremely well-informed in new technologies and true expert in aerodynamics.
“That is why he was so insulted when Chiti brought French expert Michel Tetu to improve the Daytona’s aerodynamics.
“Scaglione’s sentiment about Chiti’s affront to him was clear proof of the dilapidation of Autodelta secrets, and he was certainly right.
“Tetu never improved anything but acquired all Autodelta knowledge and used it in his later projects. However, this is another story.
“This is my reflection about Franco Scaglione and his relationship with Carlo Chiti. “
Scaglione's letter to Alfa Romeo S.p.A. on May 15, 1968 summarizing the absolutely poor treatment he had received at the hands of Ing. Carlo Chiti and Autodelta. Courtesy Maurizio Tabucchi archives
The above document written by Franco Scaglione was a parting farewell note in May of 1968 where he summarized all his complaints in a three page letter to Luraghi and Ing. Satta Puliga, and two weeks later to Chiti personally.
This was his very last official appeal to Autodelta, Chiti and Alfa Romeo S.p.A.
Part X: Evolution of the Stradale Chassis
As was stated earlier, it was the company "Carrozzeria Marazzi" that was appointed to complete the first three Stradale chassis and assemble the remaining Stradale production. They finished 13 known cars until suspending work in March of 1969.
The five remaining chassis, of 18 totally produced and delivered to Autodelta, were 'gifted' to famous Italian car design studios and transformed into stunning and 'electrified' design concepts for major automobile shows throughout the world. Those dream cars today share the spotlight at the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico.
Despite its astronomical price, all 13 production Stradale cars were sold. At the introduction of the 33 Stradale, the car was offered at 9,750,000 lire while a Lamborghini Miura fresh from the factory would have cost 7,700,000 lire and a new Fiat 500 was being offered for 475,000 lire.
It was the Alfa Romeo management decision to invest in the new Montreal model that somewhat spelled the premature end of the Stradale.
Even though the Montreal was a nice car, it was decidedly inferior in every aspect to the 33 Stradale, the new V-8 car arrived in series production with a very serious delay, rendering its introduction obsolete and unable to overcome the lure of Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari mid-engined “cheaper” models.
The first, almost surely aluminum body with number 105.33.01 the correct VIN of the first prototype, had been sold to the Japanese Gallery Abarth collection. The second prototype, 105.33.12, a four headlight version, again was started at Settimo Milanese, but finished only in 1968 by Carrozzeria Marazzi, with small, insignificant different details (wiper moved to the base of wind screen, apertures for ventilation on the rear fenders etc.) as that car was initially intended for competition use.
This is the car on current exposition at the Alfa Romeo Museum at Arese, and those were the only two models featuring a four headlight nose.
All the others (11 produced in the shape designed by Scaglione) were 'two light' versions assembled by Carrozzeria Marazzi.
A small number of spare chassis' were constructed after the 18 that are officially known and accounted for. These five or six were sold to a well-known vehicle reconstruction firm without VIN identification. The disposition of these extra chassis today is unknown.
With its unique shape and fantastic design, the T-33 Stradale of Franco Scaglione ...is to this very day...without a doubt one of the most stunning automobiles ever created by mankind.
Michelangelo would indeed have been proud of this creation.
Courtesy Vladimir Pajevic archives.
Drawing of the second prototype with roof mounted wipers and rear fender air ducting
Courtesy Centro Documentazione Storica Alfa Romeo
Part XI: Giovanna Takes Her First Stradale Ride with Zeccoli
“Every new car designed by my Babbo was a sister to me!
“When he designed the 33 Stradale and realized the car, I bothered my “Babbo” so much that, one day, fed-up and desperate, he asked our personal friend Teodoro Zecccoli, Autodelta test driver, to take me for a ride on the car.
“I remember, we were at the Torino Motor Show; Teodoro had just arrived from a tour with the car with Roky Roberts as passenger (Roky Roberts, in those days was a famous singer in Italy).
“He drove the 33 Stradale up to the hills around Torino, on a road that was closed to the normal traffic so as to test the cars of the motor show.
“After a while I asked to Teodoro: 'Can't we go a little faster?'.
“He looked at me with a worried glance and said:
‘Oh my God! My dear Giovanna we are running at 220 k/h (140 m/h)! what do you want more than this????’
“Unbelievable! The car had such an aerodynamic shape that I didn't hear the wind noise.
“I only had the feeling of speed looking at Teodoro's right foot moving fast between the brake pedal and the accelerator.
”My God! I will never forget that great experience.”
Later version with wipers cowl-mounted / two headlight version.
Part XII: Nuccio Bertone’s Final Words to the World’s Greatest Auto Designer
Nuccio Bertone wrote to the dying Franco Scaglione on May 19,1993...exactly thirty days before the great designer passed to the 'Great Design Studio in the Sky' on June 19th, 1993:
“My Dear Scaglione,
It is a long time or better to say, I didn't have any news of you since our collaboration ended.
I asked around if someone had any news about you, but always in vain.
Only recently , a journalist, Maurizio Tabucchi, informed me that now you live in Tuscany and he gave me your address so I can contact you.
I remember with great emotion your contribution to our projects we had at that time; I remember your sharpness into the shapes of the futuristic cars; I also remember our fierce discussions due especially looking for the excellence.
Your passion and knowledge for aerodynamics brought you to high levels and I couldn't do anything but follow you.
Do you remember our tests on the highways or at the airport with the wool threads? Everything filmed and photographed by the other car beside us? An interesting and amusing job!!!!!
As always happens along our lives, there are the most pleasant and less pleasant events. Time passing away, and many and many years passed over our friendship, but I must say that I remember the first ones and I forget the seconds.
I often asked myself if you had to be an excellent artist much more than a designer.
Your talent, Your culture, Your desperate desire for satisfaction, dissatisfaction, Your personal deportment fit perfectly to that of a Great Artist.
I remember your particular attitudes: the first: your blue eyes that shot vivid flares when satisfied; second one: when a trouble thrilled you, you used to stay static, on your tiptoes.
There are many moments that live in my mind, my dear Scaglione, of the common work we made together.
On 1992 we celebrated 80 years of Bertone Factory. The top event was the exhibition of the three BATs that came from USA: admiration, astonishment, consideration by all the people!
My dear Scaglione, with this my letter, I wish to give you my great satisfaction I received from all the people who looked to your wonderful cars. The three BATS that went in a tour around Europe, now are going back to USA to the current owner who had been so kind to give them for our anniversary.
You must believe me, my dear Scaglione, that I remember you always and often time. I appreciate your work with me for my Bertone firm.
Your Nuccio Bertone
Mr. Scaglione and Mr. Bertone with their Arnolt-Bristol. Copyright Bertone.
The incomparable Titania Veltro, a one-off prototype designed by Franco Scaglione just before turning his focus to the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale project in 1966.
Part XIII: Scaglione's Final Years at Suvereto
After a few attempts to create his own design company in the early 1980’s designing for Fiat a revolutionary Berlinetta Aerodinamica Technica mass transit bus, this solitary genius retired from public life and died almost forgotten, corroded by lung cancer, in his Suvereto apartment in 1993 surrounded by his loving family.
Giovanna sadly shares with us these heartwrenching details:
"...after the Intermeccanica period Ing. Mailander (Fiat Grandi Automezzi chief) called my Babbo. Ing. Mailander asked him to design a coach bus (a comfortable one for long voyages) ...aerodynamic and cozy.
"Babbo began his work and developed very interesting and futuristic drawings (even now I keep some notes on it).
"But unfortunately his great frustration over the outcome of the Intermeccanica situation contributed to his fall into a great depression... and that condition would not let him concentrate on his new task.
"He had three very intense months on the project...very sad months... and he felt he could not go on with his new task.
"He went back by Mr Mailander telling him he would have to end his work. Mr Mailander understood his psychological condition and told him:
'Mr Scaglione, there is no one else who could realize this project; I will put your study into my desk...when you think you can go on with it, you have only to come here and have them back'.
"But unfortunately this didn't happen with great regret to my Babbo and this took part of his life away."
"When my dad got sick and was near death, we had a little red boy cat we named "Papouse" (which means "child" in the native American language.) I found him coming back from my place of work.
"I had found him shivering and soaking wet from head to tail. He could not have been more than a month and a half old, and with some of his tail hair cut off from top to bottom.
"Little Papouse cared for and loved Babbo very much.
"When Daddy was ill, this adorable little kittenplaced himself at the end of Babbo's bed by his feet and never moved from his place on top of the blankets and never left him alone.
"I could tell you a thousand things; we would have to write another article together, believe me."
The end of his life came in the family's second floor house at Via Roma, 1 in Suvereto...amedievalwalled city not far from Livorno.
"I have no photos of these places. We didn't love very much to make photos. But in my mind everything is always vivid. Sometimes memories are clearer than a photos and always much more sweet."
An unknown writer added this observation:
“Sadly, Mr. Scaglione died in obscurity, largely forgotten and under-appreciated for the fundamental redirection he gave to automotive styling by turbocharging the design language and revitalizing the aerodynamic DNA of the glorious Italian and German brands in the fifties and sixties.”
The passing of the great designer Franco Vittorio Scaglione would occur several months following the taking of this photograph...in his home in Suvereto. Image copyright of Maurizio Tabucchi.
Unveiling of a plaque on his "antica casa" in Suvereto honoring the creative life of Franco Scaglione as witnessed by his Giovanna. Courtesy of Gary Kaberle archives.
Image courtesy of Gary Kaberle archives
Image courtesy of Gary Kaberle archives
"...In Remembrance of Franco Vittorio Scaglione...
With My Sincerest Gratitude for Enlightening the World with His Beautiful Designs and Shapes".
- - Jose Manuel Ribeiro Ferreira
Courtesy of Jose Manuel Ribeiro Ferreira
Courtesy of Jose Manuel Ribeiro Ferreira
Part XIV: Giovanna’s Parting Observations to You
."For many years after my father stopped working, people believed that he had died, and his name had almost disappeared from the memory of enthusiasts. It’s all thanks to trade magazines and Alfa Romeo, which I got back into contact with a few years after my Babbo’s death, that the memory of Franco Scaglione lives on. From memorials to publications and to events devoted to him, I make it my daily commitment to ensure that this special person is never forgotten, and not just by me as his daughter.
"He was a truly unique man, both at work and in his private life. He never laid down the law, he always explained why things needed doing.
"Determined, yes, but in spirit, and never tedious: it was impossible not to admire him and to like him."
"And now... I want to thank all my readers, with all of my heart for their patience, and I hope for their pleasure to follow me into this story about my father.
"Through the help of my dear friends Robert, Renzo, Vladimir and Ulrich… I tried to explain my father's character, not only as a designer but especially as a man and as a wonderful father.
"Over the years there has been very, very little information conveyed about Babbo from the personal standpoint ... until now!
"Well, now I hope you have met and become familiar with his real nature and his real personality.
"I think it is always a pleasure to have the possibility to know a person in all his shapes and his everyday behavior.
"Thank you very much for your attention, and please accept my friendly “ GRAZIE MILLE !!!! ” to everybody.
Giovanna Scaglione. Photo by Robert Little
Senior Corresponding Editor Vladimir Pajevic
Co-Editors and Translators Ulrich Zensen, Renzo Carbonaro and Robert Little . Photo by the editors.
In advance preparation for the writing of this feature we five Alfa Romeo enthusiasts first collectively assembled the well- known Alfa Romeo heritage site www.AutodeltaGoldenYears.com.
We used the benefit of our memories and the art of good old-fashioned investigation while conducting many interview segments with our friend Giovanna Scaglione.
Data, photos, documents and letters used for this narrative are from various private archives and Alfa Romeo documents in the public domain, books and old private correspondence with late Maurizio Tabucchi and the archives of our friends who were great Autodelta drivers and mechanics (Gian Luigi Picchi, Alberto Ponno, Michael Seger and Luca Perboni).
The story was cross-examined with correspondence left by Mr. Scaglione.
We have added some vital information and never-released factual content thanks to a kind Swiss gentleman who in times past was heavily involved in the racing glories of Europe.
He supplied himself with measuring instrumentation, note taking tools and became interwoven within the numerous Ecuries, Scuderie and Racing Teams of the Old Continent over a period of decades.
We like to call him- “An Old Friend in Formerly High Old Places”.
He was lucky enough to meet and became friends with the major technical brains and heavy foots of the Big Circus over many decades.
Now, in his “second youth” and with his rich archive, he is remembering facts and events of that heroic era, but continues to insist on his privacy and anonymity.
Thank you R.R.P. (though somebody will certainly recognize who you are). We all hope that your memory and kind sharing will be of future help to our team in putting together a greater mosaic of those beautiful days.
And finally, we owe a sincere debt of gratitude to Dott. Massimo Grandi, preeminent professor of automotive design, noted historian and internationally-recognized writer from the University of Florence for reading our manuscript and extending his kind words and beautiful illustrations.
If you are interested to learn more about the technical achievements and the actual construction of the 33 Stradale or are interested in the evolution of Alfa Romeo racing activities from 1964-1984 please visit our worldwide Autodelta heritage site...supplied in three languages:
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