Part 3 – Amilcar Italiana, Ansaldi and Ansaldo
By David Cavaliere
In this issue I’ll cover three of the lesser known, short-lived Italian makes.
Amilcar Italiana was created to manufacture under license the French-designed Amilcar automobile models. Amilcar car began by producing cycle cars, but in 1922, designed and produced a 4-cylinder 903cc engine that it placed into a small car with a wheelbase of just 91 inches. The model, called the Amilcar CC, appeared in 1922. The side-valve engine had a rudimentary hit and miss form of splash lubrication, and came with a three-speed gearbox. It was a simple design and could be easily produced, prompting Amilcar to seek licensees for the design throughout Europe. The CC subsequently became available in additional versions – the Amilcar C4 was a slightly longer sports car; the CS (1004 cc) and CGS Grand Sport (1074 cc) models were each introduced in 1924 and featured uprated engines with four wheel brakes. In 1925 the license for production of these cars was bought by the Italian firm Compagnia Generale Automobili (General Automotive Company – CGA). The objective was to produce the affordable, relatively high-performance French cars in Italy. By doing so, CGA could save on import duties. The company had production workshops and offices in Milan. The initial models produced by CGA were based on the French series CC.
In 1926, Amilcar Italiana created a sportier model, the GS Sport, equipped with the 4-cylinder 33 HP 1074 cc engines. The four-cylinder engine featured a detachable aluminum head. The next sports/racing car, the CGSS, had a lowered suspension for racing and a slightly higher state of engine tune, delivering 35 HP. It was also available with a Cozette supercharger for those who desired more power. The GS Sport achieved some success in racing and a supercharged CGSS won the 1927 Monte Carlo Rally. The Italian-made cars sold well with 4,700 CGS and CGSS models produced from 1926-1929. Ultimately, Italian-designed models proved to be more successful and popular in Italy and by 1929, production by Amilcar Italiana ended. The French automaker Amilcar continued to produce cars until 1940, but did not resurface following WWII.
Ansaldi was an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in Milan in 1904, by Michele Ansaldi, an engineer, designer, and industrialist. In 1904 the company manufactured a car using a Fiat 10/12 HP engine. The car was produced using some advanced features of the day – a ladder chassis formed to accept suspension, engine and gearbox, a drive shaft and differential unit with beveled gears and universal joints. Fiat liked the design and purchased the fledging company the following year. In 1906 the car was renamed the Fiat Societa-Brevetti, and 1,600 were produced by 1912.