Art Appreciation: Simca Deho Special

I’m having trouble finding verifiable information on this gorgeous little barchetta. Previous sellers have said she has LeMans and Mille Miglia provenance, but I’m not finding it immediately and we’ve all known sellers that were prone to exaggeration. Usually when I can’t dig up much information on a car, I don’t post about it. But one thing about this little machine is immediately certifiable—she’s gorgeous. So despite the lack of concrete information on it, I couldn’t help but share it with you.

Forgive me.

More photos in this Google Plus gallery.

Period Barchetta Extravaganza Film

A Magnificent Chat with Luciano Rupolo

From the Cinecetta soundtrack, so the gorgeous machines, to the charm of the man at the heart of this short documentary, “Porsche, Ferrari, Bizzarini and Other Fundamental Steps in Life” is beautiful and romantic.

Luciano Rupolo is absolutely inspiring. I envy those that were able to get into vintage racing in the 70’s; a time when you could buy a car like a Giannini 750 Sport as a teenager.

The man has built a hell of a garage in the years since. I love his admiration for his cars, his reverence for his cars, but also his more carefree attitude about them. I equally cringe and applaud when he spins donuts alongside a brick wall in his Iso Grif Competizione or sets his metal cornered briefcase on the bonnet of his Ferrari 250 GT/E. Be sure to watch through his story of finding and restoring what is arguably the oldest Porsche in the world.

Berardo Taraschi Takes a Spin Around Brindisi

Maybe it’s not quite the same as watching Enzo race his own Ferrari, or Henry race his own Ford, or Ferdinand race his own Porsche, but there’s something romantic about this footage of Berardo Taraschi piloting a car of his own make through the streets of Brindisi. Berardo took the win for the event, running the 69km race through the seaside town on Italy’s heel in just over 40 minutes: a 102 km/hr average isn’t bad at all for a 750cc powered Giaur.

With so little information out on the web about the Brindisi race, it makes me all the sadder that I can’t understand more than a few words of the commentary the goes along with this video. But I think I hear mention of the legendary Anna Maria Peduzzi as a participant in the race as well. I can’t remember ever seeing any footage of her in the car before. Is she driving the ’52 Stanguellini we wrote about in 2010? What a treat!

As always, if it’s little, Italian, and beautiful, Cliff has you covered.

Factories at Work: Stanguellini

The Stanguellini Workshop

Expectations and reality have this way of clashing spectacularly. I always have a dream, a fantastic notion of what something might be like. Then I’ll discover that the actuality of it is far more simple; far more ordinary.

This, though, is one of the thankful exceptions. This space is exactly what I imagine when I think of the etceterini workshops. Seeing a few gorgeous Stanguellinis in various stages of completion only makes the point that much more clear: This was no production line factory. This was hot-rodding.

The Stanguellini Workshop

The rough-hewn post and beam construction of the Stanguellini workshop is in many ways a perfect metaphor for this era of Italian sportscar manufacture. Its cleanliness and bare walls suggest practical engineering and luxurious, uncluttered design. The mottled walls and old stumps to panelbeat against remind us that it was no more sophisticated than a repurposed barn. I think one of the things that draws me to the barchettas of this period was that they so exemplify this perfect marriage of the engineer and the artisan in ways that larger manufacturers struggled to hang on to. They’ve got soul.

Thanks, Wheels of Italy.

Decision at Scottsdale: Which Little Italian?


We marveled yesterday at the tremendous lineup at Gooding’s Scottsdale auctions next weekend. With this remarkable list of lots crossing the stage, it isn’t easy for pretend-billionaires like ourselves to decide which cars we’ll be raising our paddles for. Then again, if I was a pretend-billionaire, I’d probably be taking all of them home… Let’s make it pretend-millionaire to keep it interesting.

1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari Front

This 1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari is certainly a beautiful option. It is the esoteric hipster’s choice—why bother consorting with common 50’s and 60’s racing cars when you can hang with the racing machines of the 1940’s. Rare stuff indeed. If you’re an Abarth fan, there’s no reason to immediately dismiss the Cisitalia either. Carlo Abarth was still an employee of Cisitalia when the 202 was designed.

1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari three quarter1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari Profile1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari cockpit

Of the handful of 202 variants (including the 202 and 202MM), the Stabilimenti Farina penned Spider Nuvolari is my favorite. It has all the visual hallmarks of what were to become iconic sports and racing design elements. The oval grille, the beginnings of tail-fins, that low windscreen: They all combine beautifully in this gorgeous little package. Just look at those mesh air intakes! Simply stunning.

1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza Profile

There’s no such thing as a bad Abarth. Although I prefer my Abarth coupes with the double-bubble up top—I doubt I’d fit in otherwise—There’s no shortage of beautiful curves and sexy angles of this 1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza. I particularly like the details on this particular example. At first glance it’s a bit jarring to see a bright red Italian beauty of this vintage without the required Route Borani wires, but I’m a huge fan of these purposeful (and original) pressed steelies. I think they give it a racier look than wires would.

1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza cockpit1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza Tail
If you’re planning on going to the track with one of these machines, the Abarth might be right choice. Designed for the racing class changes of 1960, the 850 was a step above it’s 750 brother and remained competitive in club racing throughout the decade. Sadly, this example is fitted with a later 903cc engine.


1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Three Quarter

With such remarkable company, you might think the 1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile here doesn’t even enter into the equation. It certainly isn’t going to compete with the other two on the track—and you might not even consider it an able racing machine. You’d probably be right. The only sporting Bianchini that comes to mind for me is the tale of George Lucas’ crash in one that prompted his exit from the California sports and racing scene.

Even so, I’m a fan. Italy’s take on the practicality and aesthetic that propelled the Mini to huge successes is clearly in evidence here. Of course, the Fiat 500 clearly is what comes to mind when we think of an Italian version of the Mini. I like the Cincuento, but as a long-time supporter of underdogs, I think I’d take the Bianchina if given the choice between the two. And just dig this two tone interior.

1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Front1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Profile1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Interior

Then again, with an estimate of $35-$45,000, maybe pretend-millionaire me would just take home the Autobianchi as a side dish alongside the Abarth or the Cisitalia. What’s your choice?

More information and photos on the lot detail pages for the 1947 Cisitalia SMM Spyder Nuvolari, 1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza, and 1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile.


The auction is complete and the estimates all pretty much nailed. They all came in at the low to middle of their estimated range. If you picked the Cisitalia, you sir, have expensive tastes. Yeah, me too.
1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari $650,000
1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza $89,100
1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile $40,700

Topps World on Wheels: Cisitalia

From 1953—1955 Topps issued a series of bubblegum cards featuring beautifully illustrated motor vehicles of all shapes and sizes: from military tanks, to construction equipment, to scooters, and—yes—sports and racing cars. Over the next few weeks, I’ll feature some favorites from among their sportier cards. When available, I’ll include the text from the back-side of the card; inaccuracies and all. I love the artifacts of mid-century printing techniques: all the halftones and misaligned screens and ink overflows in these cards are exquisite.

This time: a 1947 Cisitalia 202 Spider Nuvolari. Again, text below is from the reverse of the card.

Horsepower: 55
Cylinders: 4
Length: 147.4″
Width: 55.6″

The Cisitalia runabout is an Italian sports car with an ideal design for road racing or fast touring. Many new design ideas were started by this company, including finned rear fenders, and side exhaust ports like the Buick. Good weight distribution, and low center of gravity allow the car to turn at high speeds.

More on Topps’ World on Wheels at the Topps Archives.

Available in Belgium: 1952 Stanguellini 750S Barchetta

This lovely little etceterini is very much more than she seems. This ex-Anna Maria Peduzzi Stanguellini has as good a pedigree as anyone could ask for. This car, chassis CS04075, was delivered to Ms. Peduzzi, perhaps Italy’s best-known female racing driver, who piloted the barchetta through just about every Italian race of any significance: the ’52 12 Hours Pescara, the ’53 Mille Miglia, the ’53 Targa Florio, plus a victory in the 1952 Eifelrennen Nürburgring just to break her in on delivery. The car’s subsequent owner, Paulo Martoglio, took the car on the quick trip from Brescia to Rome and back again for the ’56 Mille. This car’s history would virtually guarantee entry into even the most selective vintage events.

Today, Marcel Roks Consultants offers the car in Belgium. The car has received a ground up restoration and boasts its original 750cc Twin Cam. Sadly, I’ve never had the experience of hearing the little Stanguellini’s take on a hotted-up Fiat engine, but if it’s anything like my imaginings, it’s certainly an experience worth having. The car looks marvelous, and doesn’t look over-restored or like too much of a garage queen. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to wonder aloud about the photographer for these shots. At what point do you decide this marvelous little car doesn’t deserve to have the plastic furniture moved out of shot? “Nah, just leave that towel draped over that $5 lawn chair. That’ll be fine”. Bah.

Bandini-Maserati 1500: 1 of 1

1953 Bandini Maserati 1500I woke up late on Sunday and turned on Spike TV’s “Powerblock” of automotive shows for a few minutes while I got up and around. During the episode of Muscle Cars, there was a brief spotlight on the early 60’s Pontiac GTO variant, the Catalina. The Catalina was a 2+2 (a designation borrowed from Ferraris of the period), and was available with beefier horsepower than even the coveted GTO. During the segment, they cut to a Catalina owner who commented that, “you never see these at car shows, and never on the street, they’re very rare”. Compared to the GTO perhaps they’re rare, but in the 61-67 era the show focused on, Pontiac kicked over 25,000 Catalinas out the factory doors. Rare, eh?

Now this; this is rare. This Maserati powered 1953 Bandini 1500 is on offer from Digit Motorsport in Arizona. It wasn’t uncommon for Bandini importer, Tony Pampeo, to bring rolling Bandini chassis into the United States and then add a engine, typically a Siata, Alfa, Fiat, MG or Offy. This time, however, Tony dropped a Mille Miglia stalwart Maserati A6 in the Bandini. Bellissimo!

Maserati A6The Mille Miglia eligible car looks immaculate following her €90,000 bare chassis restoration. The sale includes the documentation of the restoration, and certification from Dino Bandini as to this gorgeous barchetta’s authenticity. Remarkable. Now this, my friend, is something you never see at car shows. This is rare.

More photos and information is available at the dealer’s info page.

As always, if its Bandini, then Cliff has photos and information on it at Etceterini’s Bandini page.

Escaped the Hammer: Ermini 357 Sport Barchetta

Ermini Sport BarchettaCliff from Etceterini contacted me about this lovely little barchetta while I was travelling so I figured I wouldn’t have time to post about it before it fell under the auction hammer at today’s Les Grandes Marques à Monaco. It looks, however, like this magnificent little red machine failed to meet reserve and, while there’s always the chance that a deal will still be struck before the auction ends, I couldn’t resist posting up these pics.

I’m not terribly familiar with the Ermini name, but readers of Etceterini will no doubt know that Pasquino Ermini spent the 20s and 30s throwing Bugattis and Talbots around Italian racetracks before finally taking up the wrench to build a number of Fiat based specials. Ultimately he started building complete cars under his own nameplate in ’49. Like so many of the small Italian manufacturers, the Ermini competition machines are based on a Fiat chassis. Interestingly, though, Ermini’s early cars used a Dual Overhead Cam 1100 engine of his own design. The engine proved quite successful. Wrapped in a lovely coachbuilt body, she was even more impressive. Bill Devin used an 357 Ermini as the mold for a line of his successful sportscar fiberflass rebodies.

This example, chassis 1855 has quite a lovely history. She competed in the 1956 and 1957 Mille Miglia and still houses her original Ermini 1,431cc 4-banger.

The hammer fell on this afternoon’s auction without the 357 reaching reserve—which means you still have a chance. Just phone up your banker (if you haven’t already murdered him) and secure the €330,000 – 370,000 this remarkably beautiful little barchetta was estimated to bring in.

Then let me take her for a spin.
Ermini before restorationBodywork and respray completeErmini 357 Sport Barchetta