Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Scientists Claim Oldest Human Blood Found

The German and Italian scientists said they used an atomic force microscope to examine tissue sections from a wound caused by an arrow that killed the Copper Age man, who was found frozen in a glacier, and from a laceration on his right hand."
They really looked similar to modern-day blood samples,"said Professor Albert Zink, 46, the German head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy in Bolzano, the capital of Italy's German-speaking Alto-Adige region.
"So far, this is the clearest evidence of the oldest blood cells," he said by telephone, adding that the new technique might now be used to examine mummies from Egypt.
Institute for Mummies and the Iceman?
Man, I shoulda paid more attention in school.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Revival Of Viotti

I didn't realize the Viotti brand - long since gone since 1964 - was purchased by a Chinese group and subsequently revived. Since this event, it's gone on to acquire other brand names and eventually developed its first concept car:

It's great to see this company established in 1921 back in the saddle and contributing to the Italian automobile legacy. As with many independent auto-craft shops, this one now has a distinctly international flavour with Brazilian, French and American input.

The Willy AW 380 Berlinetta is inspired by Willys (famous for its military Jeeps) whose trademark was purchased by Viotti and was assembled by Willys in Brazil along with Alpine France.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bartoli: Nothing But Greatness

Aaaaand so it begins. 2017 that is. Let's kick it off with a sports theme. Every once in a while I like to         go outside the mandate of this blog. The great cyclist Gino Bartoli's remarkable story is worth it.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Buon Anno

And so we say good-bye to 2016 and salute 2017.

Be well, play and drive safe e cent'anni!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The OM 665S: A Forgotten Machine

How's this for a story.

1927 was the year the Mille Miglia race began its ascent into legendary status. A competition it helped to make iconic brands like Alfa Romeo and Porsche. For more on the Mille Miglia - which was reborn in 1977 after a 20 year hiatus - visit here.

But it wasn't those cars or Ferrari or Maserati or BMW who won its first race. That distinction belonged to the cool looking OM 665S (aka the Superba) of the Officine Mecchaniche company.

An obscure, long forgotten automobile it also won at Le Mans. Despite its early success and promise, the company eventually stopped producing cars and focused on truck and buses. By 1938, it was closely affiliated with the FIAT group (manufacturing, among other things, train parts) only to permanently be absorbed thirty years later and seven years after that came under the control of IVECO.

So what was the ultimate fate of a company who won the first Mille Miglia? It exists today as a forklift manufacturer.

Quite an evolution don't you think?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Innovative Italians: Microcars

Hey, for what it's worth, belated Merry Christmas/Buon Natale.

Check this baby out. I have no idea what's being said but it's a cool video:

It's the Italian designed 'microcar' Iso Isetta. It went on to be licensed in a number of different countries including Germany (seen in the video) with the 250, 300 and 600 models.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fall Of An Iconic Name: Bertone

The last time I mentioned Gruppo Bertone it was in 2010 and the company was still operating. In fact, it designed the 2013 Aston-Martin Rapide.

Unfortunately, one of the most famous and iconic of names in automotive design filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

The list of brands Bertone worked with is substantial and impressive including the likes of Citroen, BMW, Ferrari, Mazda, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Volvo and Ford to name a few.

Being from Montreal, it's appropriate for me to mention they also designed the Alfa-Romeo Montreal created for Expo 67. The exquisite Montreal was designed by one of the 20th century's top car designers Marcello Gandini 

It's a shame about Bertone but at least it leaves behind a catalog and creations we will marvel at for posterity.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Corvette And Its Cisitalia Connection

The Cisitalia 202's role in spawning an American icon: Corvette.

"...What it was all about, of course, was a two-seater convertible sports car. Working from Earl’s rough outline, McLean and Bohnstedt came up with a design for the car’s body that appears to have been inspired by an Italian roadster called the Cisitalia 202. In those days, most sports cars had long engine compartments that narrowed almost to a point at the front end of the car, with broad, flowing fenders that were a separate and quite distinct element of the car’s design. Not so with the new GM roadster: Like the Cisitalia 202, it was a low, flat, wide, almost square box with fenders that were integrated into the rest of the body. Today the integrated-fender look is standard—it’s so common that it’s difficult to even remember what cars looked like when their fenders were separate from the rest of the engine compartment. But to see that look on a roadster in the 1950s was not only novel, it was stunning."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

It's In The Blood

The Italian automotive Renaissance 1945-1975:

"...With their startling, often sensual designs, Italian cars from the mid-century had an immense influence on the automotive industry around the world. The successful racing efforts of Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo ensured that Italian automakers dominated international competition. Lessons from racing were applied to the design of road cars and Italy’s auto industry helped lead an international styling renaissance. In 1954, Road & Track declared, “The Italian influence leads the automotive design world. It remains consistent, commanding, spirited and graceful.”

The artistic and innovative spirit of the Renaissance never left the Italian soul.

But it's in dire need of an economic and political Renaissance.

Beauty And Design: 'It Seems The Italian Eye Is Second To None'

Nice quick overview of Italian genius that has put it at the scientific, engineering, artistic and technological forefront of Western and world history.

Italians have generally had their hands in the 'cookie jar of history'.

In addition, to its visible legacy, Italians have also been big 'invisible' players throughout the ages. For example, Italian merchants bank rolling the early stages of the age of exploration.

Here's a list of Italian inventions.

From eyeglasses to the battery to the jacuzzi and pretzel. The 'geographic expression' Metternich once scoffed at has played its part in the advancement of world history.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Beauty Of Iso Grifo

Italians In Space

Italy just isn't about sexy cars, boats, planes and motorcycles. An engineering culture - and rich scientific pedigree - like Italy will naturally look to the skies and beyond.

We even have seen a couple of them honoured by the ESA including Giovanni Domenico Cassini (who helped organize the Paris Observatory) with the Cassini Mission to Saturn. Giovanni Schiaparelli who was named five times and fairly recently physicist Edoardo Amaldo.