The poster of the 33° Automotoretrò in Turin will certainly be reminded as one of the most beautiful and charming in the history of this event: a powerful red Lancia D50 is projected into a view of the town. This Lancia single seater represented the main anniversary to celebrate during 2015: on March 27 1955, indeed, Alberto Ascari won in a D50 the Grand Prix of Formula 1 in Valentino, one of the main parks in Turin. The car had a long development, which fully committed the firm during 1954: conceived under Vittorio Jano’s technical direction, D50 had a sophisticated layout for the time, with the fuel tanks arranged in side pods in order to have a better distribution of the weight. The V8 engine with an angle of 90° was designed by Ettore Zaccone Mina, and with its double overhead camshaft for each cylinder bank, it provided 250-260 HP.
The Ascari’s victory in the Grand Prix of Valentino seemed to be a further step ahead on the rise of Lancia as one of the most technologically sophisticated brand in Europe. An image already conquered in production cars with the launch of Aurelia saloon in 1950. Instead, this victory was the beginning of the disaster: few weeks after the Grand Prix in Turin, Ascari jumped into the water at Harbor Chicane during the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo. The Milanese driver died after few days in Monza circuit, while he was testing a Ferrari.
Lancia company was financially exhausted by his double effort to look for victory in racing and to build a new skyscraper in Borgo San Paolo, which would accomodate the firm’s headquarter. Furthermore, there was not any project for new production cars and their plants were outdated. All racing materials were transferred to Ferrari, who raced the D50 during 1956 season, winning the Formula 1 World Championship with Juan Manuel Fangio. Finally, Lancia family sold his stake in the company to Pesenti, the owner of Italcementi.
In front of this red single seater in the atrium of exhibition, the observer is in doubt if to consider this car as a too much skilled woman for this world, or instead as one of those ‘femme fatale’, who are able to throw down a man in the deepest desperation.
Automotoretrò is not touched by similar questions and as always, it continues to be a profitable event: at half past ten the queue in front of the ticket office was so long to promise at least an half hour in cold and rainy weather before to have the beloved ticket.
The format of the past editions was confirmed, with Automotoretrò in the pavilions of Lingotto, Automotoracing in the spacious Oval and an outside large area for car shows.
Exhibitor, with a vast selection of cars for sale and every sort of spare parts, models and automobilia, crowded spaces. A vendor of Japanese Katanas sounded a little bit out of theme: especially considering that this sort of things should be held far from Italian drivers’ hand, already aggressive on their own!
Among the most fascinating cars exposed, the wonderful Maserati 420M/58, known as ‘Eldorado’, from a popular Italian ice cream brand, who sponsored the car. The powerful single seater was driven by Moss during the ‘Trofeo Dei Due Mondi’, a 500 miles race held in the high speed ring of Monza, with the participation of European and American cars. Moss placed the white Maserati with its 410 HP and a maximum speed of 350 Km/h, at fourth place in the first stint and at the fifth place in the second one. In the third and final stint the tremendous vibrations generated by the concrete surface of the high speed ring, broke the suspension, sending the car out of track at about 260 km/h, fortunately without consequence for the driver. Beside the ‘Eldorado’, another beautiful Maserati: a Type 63, heir of the celebrated ‘Birdcage’ Type 60 and 61, in the ‘Scuderia Serenissima’ colors.
In its stand, ASI showed a magnificent Lancia ‘Florida’: the custom-built car, designed by Pininfarina in 1955, already displayed all the main features of the future ‘Flaminia’ model. Very elegant another Lancia: this time a private 1936 Astura with cabriolet bodywork designed by Stabilimenti Farina.
Mercedes confirmed his interest in the Italian event, with the presence of some precious 300 SL coupé and cabriolet, as a sort of flywheel to promote sales of used cars with his First Hand program.
In Automotoracing section, the far most stunning car was the 2012 Audi R18 E-tron Quattro raced by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Alan McNish. Beside this extreme prototype, an Audi A4 saloon used in the 90’ by the Italian driver, who at the time was a star of the Italian Touring Car Championship. But surely the old Stratos', 037s, S4s and Deltas lured the most part of the attention from the Piedmontese funs, who still remember with nostalgia the myth of Lancia in national and international Rally championships. Especially in these times in which the beloved brand seems to be destined to an end.