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The story of Carrozzeria Scioneri from Savigliano

Apart from a few Lancias and Alfa’s, the atelier founded in ’43 in Savigliano (Cuneo) by Cavalier Antonio, a simple pannel-beater, made a name for himself for his custom-built cars fitted on chassis of the Turin-based company, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. But from 1969 to 1984 the activity was limited to the simple customization of the most popular models.

The beginning

Antonio Scioneri began his activity as an apprentice at Carrozzeria Vittoria and then at Fissore. He worked at Fissore from 1928 to 1943. Between the end of 1943 and the beginning of 1944 with great effort, he managed to become independent and opened his own workshop in the town of Savigliano, in the Italian region of Piedmont, as “Scioneri Carrozzeria Automobili” where he performed subcontracting commissions for his two former employers, both engaged in providing cabins for Fiat and Lancia military trucks.

1953 Fiat 1400 Promiscua

At the end of the war Antonio Scioneri continues taking care of everything he can find, from the repair of old vehicles to the reconversion of military trucks. He takes out the subcontract for an important order of fittings for the Army, but the client does not pay and he is forced to go bankrupt in 1950. He starts again, however, immediately and gradually takes on a certain notoriety with the outfitting of trucks, especially on behalf of the Italian importer of Hanomag. At the beginning of the 1950s, he began to deal with cars, first with some Giardiniera station wagons based on the Fiat 1100 and later, in 1953, with a coupé, again on 1100.

Carrozzeria Scioneri in 1954 - Photo courtesy of Centro della Memoria Savigliano

The success

The real turning point came in 1955 with the birth of the Fiat 600. Antonio Scioneri realizes there is a big market in Italy for cars that are slightly different from the Fiat versions, which were extremely standardized and had very long delivery times. He organizes an alternative sales network on his behalf, made up of small provincial dealers, and manages for a small surcharge, to offer cars with personalized design elements, improved finishes and way faster delivery times.

1957 Fiat 500 Elaborata

In 1956, while still very young, Antonio Scioneri’s son Renato joined the company. He was a good salesman and gives further imputs to this type of business model. The formula works very well and is soon extended to a large part of the Fiat range – 500, 600 Multipla and 1100 – and occasionally also to Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Lancia Appia, although the latter are rather a promotional initiative of the respective manufacturers and do not have a real sales feedback.

In 1957, Scioneri unveiled officially its first model for the Turin Motor Show.
It was a car derived from the Fiat 1100 with a very special line, halfway between a saloon and a coupe. Scioneri also produced some particular versions, such as the Fiat 600 with four doors and giardiniera.

Fiat 600 berlina. Courtesy of "Io Carrozziere"

The workshop was expanded in 1958 with the creation of a new department dedicated to the “customization” of new automobiles. The new business consisted of changing or adding chrome parts and the addition of a two-tones body painting, like it was done for the American models of that time. With this type of customization Scioneri achieved great success, standing out, among others, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Scioneri Two-tone, and the Fiat 600D Scioneri Two-tone.

In 1959 Scioneri also tried to create a more luxurious model, based on a Fiat 1500 which was designed by Michelotti. This seemed to be not the right direction, in fact Scioneri decided to concentrate the production on spider and coupé versions of the Fiat 600. The idea of a true sports car, however, was not abandoned; once again, based on a design by Michelotti, Scioneri unveiled another ephemeral 1500 two-door sedan in 1961 and finally, in 1962 the beautiful Sportinia, also based on a Fiat 1500 chassis. In 1960, Scioneri’s workshops had become too small and moved to new plant in another area of Savigliano.

1961 Fiat 1500 Sportinia

The main activities, however, remain customization of series cars, and in smaller numbers, sport cars derived from the 600s, replaced later in 1964 by similar models based on the newly created Fiat 850.

The decline

In the mid-1970s, the business began to decline. The great proliferation of small coachbuilders made this market very competitive and the smallest companies were forced to close their doors or diversify its activity for more orders.

In case of Scioneri, the dramatic drop in sales that happened from 1974, forced the company to cease production of automobiles, and to resume the business of customizing large series models by modifying the interiors, creating luxury versions for Fiat models.

The offer includes a large part of the Fiat range, up to the 124 sedan, plus the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Fiat Ritmo Scioneri Jolly

Other successful versions of the Fiat 128, 127 and, even later, the Ritmo followed between the end of the 1960s and the 1970s. Despite the relatively good sales achieved, the company’s financial situation began to deteriorate dramatically, to the point that Scioneri had to close its doors definitely in late 1979.

With the 1980s Renato Scioneri continued his strategy of luxury versions at a relatively low price, but now, even the big manufacturers like Fiat are now offering different trim levels and the alternative proposals of the coachbuilders are less and less competitive. In any case, the business continues with the Panda “Valentina”, the custom versions of the Uno, Tipo and the Cinquecento.

2 Tatra T613 at the Scioneri Workshop

In 1989 Renato Scioneri also unsuccessfully attempted an agreement to import and develop the Tatra T613 and tried to build a van derived from the Fiat Uno, but times became increasingly difficult.

Fiat Punto Scioneri 3 doors

The custom versions of the Fiat Punto, presented in 1994, are the latest innovations. In 1995, the death of his father Antonio, who had also retired from business ten years earlier, further reduced Renato Scioneri’s confidence; his last presence is at the Turin Motor Show in 1996 with a Fiat Tipo, which was no longer in production. In fact, the last years of activity concern only the trade of cars and components, which ends definitively in 2005. Renato dies shortly after, in 2008.

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Tribute to Marcello Gandini with the Prototype Unveiled at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show: A Unique Model Exuding Elegance and Personality

From May 24 to 26, the BMW Group Classic and the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este will host the legendary Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The most spectacular cars from different eras and around the world will compete in various categories to win prestigious awards. Among these are the coveted BMW Group Trophy awarded by the Jury, the traditional Coppa d’Oro based on public votes, the Design Award for concept cars and prototypes, and the special ASI Trophy for the best-preserved post-war vehicle.

The presence of the Automotoclub Storico Italiano (ASI) at this unmissable international event is highlighted by the display of the Citroën GS Camargue prototype from the ASI Bertone Collection. This car enriches the theme dedicated to Marcello Gandini – the recently deceased master of car design – set up in the park of Villa Erba on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. Also at Villa Erba, as part of the “Amici & Automobili” event, the ASI-affiliated Veteran Car Club of Como will accompany the Camargue with a precious selection of historical cars from its members.

The Citroën Camargue was first presented at the Bertone stand at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show, where it was met with great enthusiasm from both the public and the press. Built on the innovative Citroën GS platform, which was launched in 1970, the Bertone coupé, styled by Marcello Gandini with the assistance of Marc Deschamps, retains the compact sedan’s layout and dimensions. The car features distinctive front and rear overhangs – the front being much more pronounced to enhance the car’s dynamic look. Lower and wider than the GS, the Camargue boasts a wedge-shaped front typical of Gandini’s style, contrasting with a truncated rear end supporting a broad, panoramic canopy with amber-tinted glass, paired with a chic metallic champagne-colored body. Despite its striking and original design, the Bertone proposal did not reach commercial production due to Citroën’s economic crisis during those years, which led to its merger with Peugeot in 1974.

The format of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este includes a double location in Cernobbio, on the shores of Lake Como. On Saturday, May 25, the exclusive Hotel Villa d’Este’s park will host the display of all competing cars, the jury inspection, voting, parade, and the awarding of the Coppa d’Oro and special prizes. Simultaneously, Villa Erba will host the “Amici & Automobili” meeting with an exhibition of historical cars from clubs and enthusiasts.

On Sunday, May 26, the event will continue at Villa Erba with a festival celebrating automotive passion: all cars in the competition will be displayed in the park until the concluding parade, where the Design Award, class prizes, and honorable mentions will be awarded.