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Italdesign Giugiaro’s Four Aces

During the 1970s, Italdesign Giugiaro unveiled a series of sports cars with very similar designs for different car manufacturers which, in terms of name represent the 4 (3) aces of poker cards, Those models where:

  • Asso di Picche
  • Asso di Quadri
  • Asso di Fiori

All three models had positive feedback from the public, but only the Asso di Fiori had a productive following which became the Isuzu Piazza.

Asso di Picche ♠

In 1973, Italdesign, requested by german coachbuilder Karmann, known for several collaborations with Volkswagen Group brands, unveiled the first model of the “Aces” series under the name Asso di Picche (Ace of Spades) at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The model was built on the basis of the already well-known Audi 80; it was thus equipped with a longitudinal engine, front-wheel drive with a MacPherson-type front end and a rigid-axle rear end. For the mass-produced vehicles, which were never made, it was assumed that the powertrains already present on the car from which it was derived would be used, namely the 55-hp 1.3L and the 75-hp or 85-hp 1.5L belonging to the VW-Audi EA827 family.

Asso di Quadri ♦

Three years later, in 1976, again requested by Karmann’, Giugiaro presented an immediately mass-producible coupe, the Asso di Quadri (Ace of Diamonds), at the Turin Motor Show. The Asso di Quadri inherited only the name from the previous series while the mechanicals were derived from the BMW E21. The engine was still longitudinal but it was rear-drive; the front end was still MacPherson, while the rear end had triangular arms. The engine was the 2.0L, 109-hp 4-cylinder M10 of the E21 320i. The Asso di Quadri had also a three-box design and received the same treatment as the Asso di Picche by being transformed into a coupe. It presented, however, smoother and more aerodynamic lines than the 1973 version. Unfortunately, the fate of the Asso di Quadri was the same as the Asso di Picche and as a result it also had no production follow-up. Nevertheless, Giugiaro two years later, in 1978, repurposed the styling of the Asso di Quadri as the basis for the future BMW M1.

Asso di Fiori ♣

In 1978, the Japanese manufacturer Isuzu asked Giorgetto Giugiaro to design a new sports car to replace the 117 Coupe; thus, in 1979 during the Geneva motor show, the last product in the series, the Asso di Fiori (Ace of Clubs), was unveiled at the Italdesign stand. This version was built on a Gemini base, which was derived from the Opel Kadett C of the General Motors group. The mechanics remained faithful to the classic mechanical scheme of longitudinal front-engine rear-wheel drive with an articulated wishbone front end, while the rear end confirmed the rigid axle solution with Panhard bar. The engine was a 130-hp Isuzu 1.8L. The Ace of Clubs innovations consisted mainly of the elimination of exterior drip pans, windows flush with the body, and doors and hatches designed so that the sheet metal wrapped around and covered the center pillar and roof. That same year the prototype was unveiled by Isuzu at the Tokyo Motor Show, earning positive reviews and the green light for production under the name Isuzu Piazza.

Asso di Cuori ♥

Giugiaro was also intent on creating the Ace of Hearts (Asso di Cuori), but the project was never realized.

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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.