video cisitalia d46
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Cisitalia D46, according to Giorgio Oppici

A couple of days ago we discovered through the digital publication Classic Weekly this beautiful video about a Cisitalia D46 of origin. This model is one of the last cars with which Tazio Nuvolari, one of the best drivers of all time, competed; indeed, it was the racing car that he drove without a steering wheel during a lap in the Coppa Brezzi in 1946, clinging to the steering bar. The anecdote is mythical, although according to the specialist Félix Muelas it would not be the same unit used by the Flying Mantuan in the difficult trance described.

The approach of the director -Giorgio Oppici- to the object can only be poetic, because it addresses the rebirth of motorsport after World War II. After the terrible conflict, nothing was the same in old Europe, not even its cars. The conception of these would change little by little, making them economically more affordable, at the same time that their aesthetics would become modern. In this last aspect, Cisitalia, Along with Pinin Farina, he was one of the main players of change by lighting his Model 202.

By 1945, many automobile manufacturers were either bankrupt or in need of a costly transition from military to civilian production. The allies even prohibited some of them, such as BMW or Mercedes, from resuming their work; while others like Alfa-Romeo they would have to slowly reinvent themselves.

Therefore, it took until the late 1940s to restore sporting competitions to the highest level. It is in this context that innovative and well-financed projects could succeed, providing drivers and fans with the necessary machines to forget the tragedy and re-enjoy motor sport. Great aces, such as the aforementioned Flying Mantuano, Taruffi, Cortese, Chiron or Biondetti would not hesitate to run with them.

The Cisitalia initiative came from the Italian pilot and industrialist Piero Dusio, who tangle Dante Giacosa - designer of the Fiat 600, among other vehicles of great importance -, Giovanni Savonuzzi, Carlo Abarth, Ferdy and Ferry Porsche and even Gianni Agnelli to create a winning car. It is the D46 that you see in the images of the header video, mounted on a tubular frame and animated by a Fiat 1100 engine; small but smart, the fruit of postwar shortages. Gordini would do something similar with the Simca-Gordini, making it possible for light machine races to be contested in a lesser formula framework.

Cisitalia Porsche 360, the ruin of the company
Cisitalia Porsche 360, the ruin of the company (By Larry stevens)

Brands such as the aforementioned were the queens of racing until the 50s dawned, which brought back teams such as Ferrari or Alfa-Romeo and their unbeatable Alfetta. Cisitalia would try to follow the game of the greats without success: he commissioned the Porsche for a Grand Prix car in the style of fifteen years ago; that is, the realization of a revolutionary project that this time did not have the invaluable support of Nazi money. Try to make an Auto-Union or a Mercedes Silver Arrow it cost the fledgling Italian company its financial stability.

Not even the help of the Argentine government could make the aspirations of the Cisitalia Porsche 360, with a mid-engine twelve-cylinder boxer and four-wheel drive, come true… But hey, I'm spreading myself too thin. Let's stay with the myth of the first Cisitalia, the one that brought joy back to the circuits in the first moments of the reconstruction, the one that also revolutionized automotive design. Its decline is not worth it, since almost everything has to languish and die some day.

What do you think?

Javier Romagosa

Written by Javier Romagosa

My name is Javier Romagosa. My father has always been passionate about historic vehicles and I have inherited his hobby, while growing up among classic cars and motorcycles. I have studied journalism and continue to do so as I want to become a university professor and change the world ... View all

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