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The Alfa Romeo ‘Satan’s Breath’

Soffio di Satana, is the name given by Eng. Anderloni (founder of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera) to a model of Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Turismo designed and built by him with a very personal, aerodynamic and very elegant style. At that time it was popular to give demonic names to the cars which were particularly beautiful, aggressive and intriguing and which reminded the viewer about the myth of the demon (as they used to say in those days) and the risk and danger of speed.

Photo courtesy of Alberto Novelli

Here, in fact, for Fiat the name Mefistofele, for the Alfa Touring car the nickname of Freccia di Belzebú (Beelzebù’s Arrow) and for the car that we will treat in this article the resounding name ‘Soffio di Satana‘ (Satan’s Breath). In 1953 Michelotti created a beautiful Fiat 8V, aggressive and racy, called Demon Rouge (Red Devil). It was like that in those days, the cult of Satanic names to exalt superhuman strength and speed. So it was Eng. Anderloni who created the refined design of the Alfa Romeo Turismo 6C 2300 car model and gave it the name of Soffio di Satana.

Mistakenly as many people think, it wasn’t Gabriele D’Annunzio who gave the car this title. Moreover, this model was not made specifically for D’Annunzio, but there was already a first liver-red model that had been on display for about two months in the window of Piazza Castello in Milan, in the Alfa Romeo dealership showroom. This piece was bought in those days of exhibition, by the famous singer Gina Cigna; a real star at that time, with an incomparable voice and stage presence. One of the greatest opera singers in the whole world, who, returning in those days from her stages and shows in America, saw the above mentioned car exhibited in that Alfa Romeo showroom in Milan. She instantly fell in love with it, and immediately bought it. The car was delivered to her a few days later, just enough time to complete the sales and registration formalities.

Gina Cigna's Soffio di Satana in 1995

The day after from the day of the purchase of the Alfa Romeo Soffio di Satana, D’Annunzio arrived in the same Alfa Romeo hall in Piazza Castello. In search of a new representative car to buy, D’Annunzio, as a faithful admirer of Alfa Romeo, immediately wanted it when he saw the Soffio di Satana. He was explained that the present Soffio di Satana had already been sold the day before to another customer and that it was therefore not possible to buy it. D’Annunzio, a little disappointed, said that he wanted an identical one as soon as possible, leaving a reasonable paycheck, within 20 days it was delivered to him at his residence in the Vittoriale degli Italiani. It was the second model of ‘Soffio di Satana’, built and made especially for him. It was in the year 1934.

Photo courtesy of Alberto Novelli

The Alfa Romeo Soffio di Satana was sold in 1946 by the Commissioner of the Vittoriale and from that moment lost track of it. It was believed to have disappeared by all the experts in the field when in reality it was jealously guarded by some mysterious collector and reappeared in 2017 to be auctioned in Florence: it was proposed, in fact, as a ‘strong piece’ by the Pandolfini Auction House of Florence, with an estimated value between 500,000 and 700,000 euros and was purchased by a collector for about 450,000 euros. At that point the magistracy intervened and seized it, calling it an ‘inalienable asset’ of the Vittoriale. The car was used by d’Annunzio in the last years of his life at the Vittoriale to pick up guests at Desenzano station and to make personal trips. And it was in this car that d’Annunzio had his last lover, the young countess Evelina Scapinelli Morasso, arrive from Milan. After the poet’s death the property of the Soffio di Satana was transferred to the ‘Fondazione del Vittoriale degli Italiani’ and in 2019 it returned to its ‘home’.

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Celebrating 115 years of Carrozzeria Garavini, the brand sees its rediscovery and relaunch in the world of cars, design and elegance.

At Garavini, craftsmanship, manufacture and uniqueness come together to create works of art on wheels that go beyond the concept of a simple means of transport to become symbols of passion and refinement.

115 years after its foundation, the company has decided to start again with the Alfa Romeo 4C, in the 10th anniversary year of the model’s presentation, in collaboration with the IAAD in Turin. This partnership between the historic brand and the design institute represents an opportunity to create a high-end sports car that combines outstanding Italian aesthetics with the best technologies.

Poltu Quatu immediately turned out to be the ideal location for the premiere of the project, thanks to the famous Concours d’Elegance which, as the perfect combination of worldliness, elegance and the joy of living the dolce vita, allows the meeting from all over the world of those enthusiasts who, more than anyone else, can appreciate the value and style of a vision such as Garavini’s.

The project takes its inspiration from the 1930s Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 by Garavini, the star of the Italian Dolce Vita and the birth of the classic car movement in Italy. The Garavini Perenne represents an extraordinary sports car that combines the Italian tradition of elegance and style with innovation and high quality craftsmanship. Garavini’s tribute to the model, the 4C, which, with its debut 10 years ago, decreed the real relaunch of Alfa Romeo, is no coincidence: symbolic value, as happens in all valuable initiatives, has a decisive weight in the conception and realisation of unique products.

The soul of the project is Luca Babbini, a young entrepreneur with experience in research and development for various industries, in particular the automotive industry. Babbini’s path, which started at IAAD and has been refined through subsequent collaborations, has always been linked to a passion for luxury, not so much as a material passion, but derived from the emotion that an object or an experience conveys.

“When I crossed Garavini’s path,” explains Luca Babbini, Garavini Design Director, “with family origins and values that can be traced back to mine, I thought it was a sign: the awareness of this affinity has allowed us to give life to a new chapter, a reality in which passion for craftsmanship, luxury and family heritage come together. The Garavini Perenne will be an opportunity to enhance the Turin area but in an international key, thanks to the freshness and desire to do that only a young team, such as that of Garavini and that of the IAAD master’s degree course in Transportation Design, can guarantee.”

On 8 July on the occasion of the Poltu Quatu Classic, a preview of the concept on which the students of the IAAD master’s course in Transportation Design are working, reasoning and declining the Garavini values of elegance and attention to detail, aimed at creating a modern classic with a first series of 15 examples, which aspires to become a timeless model, a source of inspiration for the present and the future. The lines are classic, inspired by a sporty use that smells of fresh air and speed. Driving pleasure is at the heart of the design with a set-up dedicated to usability on the road as well as on the track.

Again Luca Babbini: ‘The valorisation of young people is a key aspect of the project: it always seems, in the common narrative, that unreachable challenges and moments of continuous crisis await us, but the future is full of opportunities and style and beauty are not a closed chapter. The creation of new classics is the true ambition of a project, which looks to the future aware of its past but with the confidence that it can still make a difference. The Turin area, then, is rich in excellent craft realities with which to create synergies and develop a true pole of high craftsmanship. There is nothing to stop us from looking beyond the automotive field and broadening the declination of our values with incursions into other sectors… in short, there is a lot to build on, and the Garavini lifestyle begins today with Garavini Perenne.

The result of this partnership is a high-end compact sports car with a sculptural aesthetic design. Garavini is committed to satisfying a discerning international audience that appreciates the art of automotive design and Italian craftsmanship. The ability to excite both long-time enthusiasts and new customers is a challenge Garavini sets itself, aiming to create a fascinating and successful future for the brand.

The Garavini Perenne will be released in 2025.