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The Flamboyant Car Design

Between 1946 and 1950 Ghia, Stabilimenti Farina and Pininfarina proposed a limited series of car bodies with a low and flowing line whose most striking feature were the covered wheel arches on the front and rear, a solution that required to widen the car to allow steering. These cars had opulent shapes, built on the chassis of various brands and conceived with the primary function of showing off the main elegance competitions so widespread at the time (Ghia’s creations made a sensation at the “Jour d’Elegance” in Lausanne in 1946).

Build as cabriolet or coupé without central pillar, the cars were defined “flamboyant” by an American journalist of the time and this term remained as an almost official qualification for them with which the two coachbuilders gained wide notoriety in Italy and abroad, especially in France.

This definition referred to the eccentric interpretations of the aerodynamic school by French coachbuilders in the second half of the 1930s and characterized by particularly sinuous and enveloping lines.

1946 Fiat 1500 Cabriolet Gran Sport by Ghia

Designed by Felice Bianco, Ghia built 2 Coupè (one based on Fiat 1500 and one on Fiat 1100) and 2 Cabriolets. The car shown here is the Cabriolet Fiat 1500 that was originally painted grey-blue, winner of several elegance contests all over Italy.

© Ard und Arnoud op de Weegh

1946 Lancia Astura Coupè by Stabilimenti Farina

Michelotti’s creation, known as “monolith” as Michelotti himself called it, this model caused a big sensation during the fashion show in Lausanne, which also appeared on all the posters of the event. The front part anticipates the “tank” style that we will see on other models of Stabiliment Farina.

1947 Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet by Pininfarina

Also PininFarina ventured into the Flamboyant Style with this one-off built on a Lancia Aprilia chassis. It was unveiled at the 1947 Geneva Motor Show. It survived and today is part of a private collection.

© Archivio Riccardo Moncalvo

1947 Lancia Astura Cabriolet by Stabilimenti Farina

Two cabriolets built with Michelotti’s design. This model, created to amaze, won in 1947 the Coppa d’Oro at the Concorso d’Eleganza of Villa d’Este leaving behind the Cisitalia 202.

1948 Lancia Aprilia Berlinetta Sport by Ghia

Designed by Felice Bianco this Lancia Aprilia Berlinetta Sport was unveiled at the 1948 Turin Auto Show. The photo shows the two mobile wheel arche covers designed by Umberto Capalbi in open position.

1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS by Ghia

This futuristic Super Sport convertible built on a 6C base was released in 1948 and was awarded the same year at the elegance concours in Rome and Montecarlo.

1948 Talbot T26 Record by Ghia

The French Talbot Lago Record enjoyed a celebrity moment at the end of the 1940s thanks also to the original bodyworks set up by Ghia.

© Cussler Museum

1949 Delahaye 135 by Ghia

In 1949 the mechanics of the Delahaye 135 housed a sumptuous and audacious bodywork prepared by Ghia with some typical connotations that earned it the definition of “flamboyant”.

© Artcurial
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The Siata 1100 GT shares its bodywork with the Fiat 1100 Charmant, both made by Vignale. Designed by Michelotti, this little yellow gem is part of the Milano Classiche collection in the province of Varese, near Milan.