Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Design Companies Persevere

Bertone Barchetta

Trying to make sense of Italy's automobile and design companies is a tough task. Notably because the Italian car industry did not, as far as I can tell, consolidate like it did in other major industrialized economies that boast an indigenous car industry. Many independent carrozzeria's and design/engineering companies founded in the early 20th century continue to survive - albeit either tenuously or under a new structure. While returning to profitability has proven difficult for some, the legacy engineering artisans and designers have left behind is staggering. This blog has already begun to explore it. Here's a look at a few more legendary names. Each come with its own distinctive international and Italian flair and flavor:

De Tomaso was founded in 1959 in Modena by Alejandro de Tomaso (1928-2003) who was born in Argentina. It's not just soccer players Argentina exported to Italy! Growing up, I had a few De Tomaso pinups in my room.

The story of Bugatti goes the opposite direction. The Bugatti car company was founded by Ettore Bugatti in 1909 in Molsheim, France. It's led a varied existence ever since. One of the all-time great car companies.

In 1912, Carrozzeria Bertone was conceived in Grugliasco (near Torino) by Giovanni Bertone. It originally specialized and built its exemplary reputation in the "construction and repair of horse-drawn carriages." After World War II it evolved into a style studio and a carrozzeria. It also produced the Lambretta and Luna range motor scooters.

Italdesign Giugiaro was the child of Giorgio Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani in 1968. Italdesign's divisions are divided into styling, engineering, prototypes, and program management. Among the companies Italdesign worked with include Volswagen, BMW, Bugatti, Saab, Suzuki, Lancia, Ferrari, Daewoo and the Ford Mustang.

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