CISITALIA - ABARTH 204
The story of the brief but meteoric life of Cisitalia places it as a cornerstone of the post war automotive industry. Turin entrepreneur Pietro Dusio, formed the Cisitalia company in 1946. Cisitalia would then go on to produce the D 46 single-seater and the 202 Nuvolori Spyder, 202 Sport and GT. Designed by Dante Giacosa and Giovanni Savonuzzi, the cars shared success using and engine based on Fiat 1100 tipo 102 components developed by Carlo Abarth.
In 1947, inspired by the success of his early racing cars, Dusio along with Carlo Abarth commissioned the design of a grand prix car. The engineering services of Ferry Porsche, and Rudolph Hruschka were obtained. Income the Germans were to receive for the project was devoted to the release of Ferdinand Porsche, who at the time was held prisoner in France.
Two Grand Prix cars were completed but never fully developed. However, the enormous expenses required for the 360 Grand Prix project, seriously undermined Dusio's financial situation. By 1949 the company was put in receivership, One complete PG car is now on display in the Porsche Museum and the other car resides at the Donnington collection.
Abarth was forced to leave the firm, receiving in lieu of his salary all of the 204 Sports Racing cars together with a few boxes of parts. Amongst them was an exhaust pipe designed and developed by Giovanni Savonuzzi, inspired by the workings of gun silencers.
The newly founded "Abarth & C." chose as the company's emblem the scorpion, Carlo's zodiac sign and "Squadra Carlo Abarth" was born with a line up of all the 204s. On the 10th April 1950 Tazio Nuvolari won the "Palermo-Monte Pellegrino" behind the wheel of a Cisitalia-Abarth 204. It was the introduction of the Scorpion in the world of motor-racing.
In 1952 facing bankruptcy, Dusio received a proposal from the Argentine dictator Juan Peron to relocate the Cisitalia production to Argentina. The move was accomplished but Peron was deposed in 1955 and the company never fully recovered.
Car is in California
photo and text credit: © 2010 Tillack