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The story of Carrozzeria Garavini

The beginning

Eusebio Garavini was born in Forlì on the 23rd of July, 1878 from father Fortunato, and mother Clotilde Tesei. In 1899 he moved to Turin and became a factory worker for Diatto’s workshops, where, after a little while, he gained more and more responsibilities in the machining departments. He then went to work for Locati & Torretta and, in the end, after he gained his certificate as a technical director, he started working in Carrozzeria Taurus in Turin.

Carrozzeria Garavini

In 1908 he took over Carrozzeria Piemonte which was planning the production of horse carriages and frames for motorized vehicles of any kind. The company, under the direction of Garavini, obtained great results, so much so that in 1911 it turned into G. Diatto – E. Garavini & Co. Other members of the company, situated in Turin, precisely in Corso Regina Margherita, were G. and E. Diatto, G. Fissore, F. Tosa, and G.B. Ceirano.

1914 Fiat 18 BL - Photo courtesy of Fondazione Negri

The dream starts off

Diatto-Garavini’s company started its activity with fifty workers, a remarkable workforce at the time for a company that was destined to the production of luxury cars, lorries, and omnibuses; but in 1914 the number of workers doubled. At the beginning of World War I the production shifted to military vehicles and ambulances; to make up for the increasing necessity for workers it reached five hundred work units and labor was divided into two turns. In 1917 the Diatto brothers left the company which, on the 11th of April 1918 turned into s.a.s. E. Garavini & Co.

1924 Advertising Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Limousine Dorsay

The success

At the end of the war, the company turned back to its production for civil use: FIAT, Lancia, Isotta Fraschini and Itala took advantage of its services for the bodies of their vehicles. A vehicle created by Garavini’s creativity, which gained great success was the “belvedere”, which had a special roof that could be unfolded and folded by just one person. Among his clients, there were Benito Mussolini, King Menelik and Queen Thaitù, and other dignitaries and royals from all over Europe. In the field of industrial vehicles, the company designed and built refrigerated wagons, vehicles for public transport, and ambulances for companies in Rome and Turin.

1924 Itala Tipo 61

In 1926 the company released its first completely metallic body with a roof that could be completely opened. In 1927 the “pleumelastica superleggerissima” was exhibited in the Milan Salon, it had a suspension system made of rubber pads inserted between the body and the frame which were designed to make the drive more comfortable. The system was defined as “the only real innovation” of the Salon during those days. From the official catalog of the Milan Salon from 1928, we see that the company had sales showrooms in the main Italian cities and that it provided busses for Rome’s and Turin’s urban services. Moreover, we can see the various vehicles exhibited, among which it’s worth remembering the spider cabriolet with the FIAT 509 frame, the car with the FIAT 510 frame, and the one with the FIAT 510 frame with folding seats and a middle partition wall; but it’s also worth mentioning other vehicles on Isotta Fraschini, Itala, Lancia-Lambda frames and a Lancia omnibus on a type-long Omicron frame.

1927 Lancia Pentajota Omnibus

The vehicles exhibited at the International Milan Salon in 1930 were also highly regarded by the public. Among these is worth remembering Victoria, which was defined as one the “most beautiful interpretations of the FIAT 514”, and the powerful Lancia-Lambda cabriolet. In that year’s Milan Salon there was also a low-noise belvedere bus with a transforming body, which was a true attraction. The bus could be transformed into a closed or open bus by just one person, and the uprights had the minimum thickness and it had wide protective glasses even in the opened version. The vehicle had a unique ventilation system that made sure the air was filtered in the passenger environment and that fumes were conveyed outside even when the glasses were completely closed. Then it had an innovative system for that time which allowed the driver’s seat to slide and to be adjusted according to the driver’s needs. The seat itself could also be tipped-up, creating a single plan with the seat immediately behind it.

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Dark years and WWII

The following years, also because of the international crisis, Garavini went through serious difficulties that led it to bankruptcy in 1933. After that, it was taken over by a management company in 1935 and turned into Stabilimenti Garavini.

Photo courtesy of Garavini Torino

During World War II the facilities worked at full speed making vehicles for the army but also ambulances and motorized sleds for the ARMIR (the Italian expeditionary corps in Russia). The conflict seriously damaged the facilities and after the war, Garavini chose to focus his productive effort on busses. In 1942 Garavini patented the three-axis trolley bus on which they anchored draw, suspension, and direction gears. Among other inventions from that period, Garavini’s company made sunroofs and folding doors.

Photo courtesy of Garavini Torino

Garavini was president and general manager until his death, which happened on the 6th of May 1947.

After war and the decline

At the beginning of the Fifties, Garavini’s facilities expanded in a large triangle in the village of Vanchiglia, in Turin. After the war, Garavini’s company introduced some innovations in the production of cars, for example, they abandoned every trace of wood in the body and preferred bodies with a completely metallic shell, which had already been introduced back in 1926, they also worked towards the invention of a monocoque since, according to Garavini engineers, the ideal car had to have a weight-bearing body so that there was a greater transport capacity with less weight and with the same power. They widely used light alloy like duralumin, which undergoes simple anomic oxidation to create a superficial layer that’s extremely tough and unalterable.

1947 Fiat 1500 Trasformabile

Because of the standardization of products that occurred after the second world war, there was less interest in custom-made products. Since Garavini’s company didn’t want to lose its essence made of luxury cars with personalized details they were forced to close down in 1958.

The rebirth

To celebrate the 111 years of the Coachbuilder Garavini, 2020 the brand sees its rebirth and will us delight with new creations in the next years. Keep following us for new updates.

More info here: www.garavinitorino.com

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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.