Part 31 – Carrozzeria Allemano
By David Cavaliere
Among the notes and letters I have received during the several months of these features, have been requests for more articles about the Italian coach builders. The Carrozzerias of Italy have produced many of the world’s most beautiful cars. Already in the series, we have visited with Bertone, Boano, Boneschi and Colli. This week we bring to your Carrozzeria Allemano. As a coachbuilder, some of the designs that Allemano produced were their own, while others were by designers such as Michelotti, Savonuzzi, Scaglietti and Scaglione. Mass production was the antithesis of Carrozzeria Allemano. Great attention to detail and exceptional workmanship for one-off and small production runs were its specialty. And its cars were very special.
Carrozzeria Allemano was an automobile coachbuilder in Turin from 1928 until 1965. Founded by Serafino Allemano. Initially, Serafino Allemano operated a small fledgling repair shop. It is really quite remarkable that the company was able to prosper during the difficult economic period of The Great Depression, but prosper it did and in 1935, Serafino decided to concentrate exclusively on the field of bodywork. The outbreak of the Second World War forced him to suspend activities; however, once the war ended, the finest days for the coachbuilder began. The company made various cars based on their own designs, and in some cases, external designs, such as those by Giovanni Michelotti.One of its earliest cars, the 1948 Ferrari 166 S, was entered in Mille Miglia and won with Clemente Biondetti behind the wheel. Allemono produced versions of the Alfa Romeo 2500 in 1950 and a Lancia Aurelia in 1952. He was commissioned to produce a Berlinetta for the Cisitalia 202 in 1951. It was designed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, but built by Allemano. At that time, Scaglietti was under contract to build the bodies exclusively for Ferrari. For Fiat, Allemano created three Fiat 1100 TV (by Michelotti, 1954), the Fiat 600 (1955-1958), a few Abarth 750s, Fiat 850s and Fiat 2200s. Some of the Fiat 600 designs were also used by Abarth and Siata.
Allemano had a very close working relationship with during the 1950s and 1960s. The coachbuilder made 21 Maserati A6G 2000 in 1954, the prototype designs for the Maserati 3500 GT (1957), and built 22 Maserati 5000 GTs (1959-1965). Many of these bodies were designed by Michelotti, but outsourced to Allemano.
When Enzo Ferrari began to place his own name on his cars following WWII, the Allemano Ferrari 166S Spyder #001S represented the culmination of Ferrari’s early racing and development. It achieved unprecedented competition successes that formed the foundation of the Ferrari legend. The original 1.5 liter Ferrari 125 V12 was successful, but postwar racing regulations soon adopted a two-liter limit for Formula 2. First produced for Scuderia Ferrari with cycle-fendered Spider Corsa bodies, Enzo then had two long wheel base 166 Sports built by Allemono, one was a coupe, the other a spyder. Count Bruno Sterzi became the first private owner of a Ferrari – the Allemano bodied 166 Spyder Corsa #001S. This car was raced by driver teams of Clemente Biondetti /Igor Troubetskoy and Bruno Sterzi /Nando Righetti. In 1950, it was sold to Baron Stefano La Motta of Sicily, unfortunately La Motta crashed and was killed in the car in 1951. Afterwards, the car was scrapped.
The Allemano Ferrari 166S Berlinetta #003S was first registered to the Scuderia Ferrari in 1948. Clemente Biondetti and Giuseppe Navone drove the car to a stunning overall victory in the 1948 Mille Miglia. After a road accident the car was rebuilt by Carrozzeria Colli in Milan, receiving a newly styled front end, and was painted dark red. Later it was crashed again and was scrapped.
The Panhard Dyna was an ideal base for coachbuilders who wanted to build their own car. The chassis was light, not too expensive and the engine had very good output, powerful but not a beast. It was also easily to obtain – Panhard would sell their chassis to anyone. In the case of the Allemano Panhard Crepaldi Dyna 750 Coupe, four were built for the Panhard importer Crepaldi of Milan, Italy. His racing team didn’t fair too well in the 1953 Mille Miglia. It finished 171 out of 300 participants, yet even through less than a handful were built, two out of the coupes are known to still exist.
The Allemano Lancia Aurelia B53 Coupe was a one-off display car created for the 1953 Turin Motor Show. The body was designed by Giovanni Michelotti, who worked for a number of design houses in addition to Allemano, most notably Vignale. Michelotti’s design was brought to life by the highly skilled panel beaters and craftsmen of Carrozzeria Allemano. The body was made primarily of steel, but the hood and doors are of aluminum.
The Allemano Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe of 1953, was a unique example with coachwork designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi. With a new Berlinetta body and an engine with DB3 specifications. After a thorough restoration, the car won first prize in ‘Italian Coachwork Class’ at the 1994 Pebble Beach Concourse, perhaps the world’s most prestigious event.
The Allemano Maserati A6G/54 & A6G2000. Maserati’s first true production car, the A6 series, was introduced to the public at the 1947 Geneva motor show. The 6CM engine was substantially redesigned and modernized. This engine was soon adapted for the road cars in 2-liter form as the A6G/2000 and A6G/54. The A6G/2000 was also simply referred to as the Maserati 2000 GT. Maserati chose to outsource the bodywork. No two cars were alike and each reflected the first customer’s design preference. All the cars were sold as bare chassis to be fitted with bodies from Allemano, Frua, Zagato and Vignale. Produced from 1946 to 1957, only 139 A6s were ever built. In its final version the A6G/2000 made 160 horsepower. Weighing less than 2,000 lbs, the A6G/2000’s performance numbers were quite remarkable, claiming a top speed of 140 miles per hour.
The next series of cars that Allemano produced for Lancia was the Appia Coupe in 1956. Like the Aurelia, the Appia was built in a number of series, but the latter’s range was far less elaborate. Three series of Appia berlinas were made – the first, a limited edition of Appia rolling chassis, emerged from the Lancia factory in 1956. Most of these were similar to the specifications of the standard Appia S2 (44 hp), but a number of the cars were modified with a more powerful engine producing 53 hp.
When examining the various designs among the models of cars produced, the Allemano Abarth 850 Coupe was more elegant and comfortable than Zagato’s version, but it was also heavier and less sporting. First introduced in 1959, the Abarth Allemano Coupe was very well received, but was sold in very small numbers. The car was built on Fiat’s 750/850 GT chassis and was powered by an 850 cc engine. The exact number built is not known, but it is generally agreed that the total is less than 200. To have a hand built car with such a small capacity engine was disadvantageous. It was a major drawback for the Cisitalia 202 and in the case of the Abarth Allemano Coupe, at a price of $3,385, it was in direct price competition with the Porsche Speedster and Alfa Romeo Guiletta Spyder.
For readers who recall Part 5 of this series (February 11, 2016), Automobili Turismo e Sport was featured. The 1963 ATS 2500 GT, one of the first mid-engine sports cars, was designed by Franco Scaglione, but the bodies were built by Carrozzeria Allemano.
The Maserati 5000 GT was first built for the Shah of Iran. The first Allemano bodied 5000 GT was displayed at the Turin Motor Show in 1961 and became known as the ‘Indianapolis’ in honor of Maserati’s victories at the ‘Indy 500’ in 1939 and 1940. Allemano built 22 examples through 1964.
Following the commercial crisis of the early 1960s, the carrozzeria closed its doors. The historic importance of Allemano was nonetheless significant because, along with other talented coach builders (Pininfarina, Bertone, Vignale, Ghia, Savio, Michelotti and others) the city of Turin was established as one of the world capitals of automotive design.