The SM is the symbol of demise of Citroën as an independent company. It is also the story of corporate management embracing the “bigger is better” theory, and the engineering department wanting to make a better and more sophisticated car, but ending up with something that was just more complex, less reliable and infinitely more expensive than the models it already had.
In the late ’60s, Citroën, at last freed from family control, embarked on a buying spree: Read More
The Diablo was introduced in 1991 under Lamborghini’s brief period of Chrysler ownership, preserving but refining its layout, smoothing out the body’s humps and bumps and improving occupant accommodations. In the middle of the ’90s, Lamborghini built 31 Diablos prepared for use on the racetrack. The race version, known as the SV-R (for Sport Veloce, Race), was for competition in the new one-marque Lamborghini Diablo Supertrophy series. Customers could purchase an SV-R along with a season of racing. Lamborghini Read More
When the Shah of Persia came to Maserati in 1958 looking for a unique and distinctive gran turismo, Maserati included a two-page description of the sports-racer 450S in the information he received. The 3500 GT, then entering production, was not exclusive enough for Shah Reza Pahlavi, whose garages housed some of the world’s finest cars, but the 450S caught his attention and Maserati bravely undertook the creation of the most powerful, exclusive and unique gran turismo ever contemplated, the Read More
In the early 1970s, Bertone’s brilliant chief designer Marcello Gandini was developing a new show car for one of Italy’s wealthiest men-and its newest automaker-Ferrucio Lamborghini. Lamborghini’s intent was to create superlative grand touring cars for the world’s richest and most powerful men. Having started with the graceful 350 GT and 400 GT 2+2, he then began to focus on a successor-still powerful and agile, but more comfortable for long-distance travel.
The result was the Marzal, which debuted Read More
As motoring got into its stride in France in the latter part of the 1890s, it was realized that there was a need to fill the gap between the larger, powerful, expensive motor cars and motor tricycles. The great firm of Panhard-Levassor joined the throng with a light car. Panhard-Levassor could not produce enough of these cars to satisfy demand and so licensed the manufacture of their Voiture Légère to one of their directors, Adolphe Clément, resulting in the Clément-Panhard Read More
Few realize the roots of Nissan reach back to 1912, when a young man named Masujiro Hashimoto created a car. The car was named DAT, after three family member’s initials. By 1934, the cars were Datsuns and the company was Nissan. By the late 1950s, Yuraka Katayama, a young engineer educated in America, advocated both the use of racing to develop the breed and the idea of a car designed for the very different roads and drivers in America.
Rock-and-roll star Rod Stewart was no stranger to the Lamborghini Miura, the world’s first mid-engined supercar-he has owned both a Miura S and SV. When he ordered the right-hand drive SV shown here, he specified a bright yellow finish with dark blue leather upholstery. He also ordered air conditioning, which was relatively novel on a GT car, and a Philips radio/cassette with a recording function.
Only 142 SVs were made, nine of which were right-hand-drive. Stewart kept Read More
Brothers Ernesto, Ettore and Bindo Maserati, the vagabonds of the exotic car world, had sold their family company in 1947 to the Orsi family. They then returned from Modena to their original manufacturing home in Bologna where they established the company first known as “OSCA Maserati,” and subsequently just as “OSCA.”
Under this acronym-today so familiar to aficionados of fine Italian high-performance cars-they produced an initial series of small 1100cc sports racing cars, but speedily developed a big 4.5-liter Read More
Launched at the 25th Geneva Salon in March 1955, the Fiat 600 was designed by Dante Giacosa. This successor to the Fiat 500 “Topolino” (“Mickey Mouse”) mini-car was hailed as “an intriguing car with a future…[showing] how a rearrangement of the basic components can often result in a considerable saving of space.”
With a water-cooled, rear-mounted in-line 633cc four-cylinder engine and all-around independent suspension, the 600 could carry four adults at over 65 miles per hour and sold Read More
The definitive Gran Turismo of its era, the Maserati 3500 GT debuted in 1957 and was the company’s first genuine series-production road car. Maserati’s three decades as constructors of perhaps the world’s finest racing cars showed in every detail of the elegant Touring-bodied coupe, from its exquisite, race-derived 3.5-liter engine through its impeccable road manners, fine brakes and faultless build quality. Here was a car to rival the best that Stuttgart, Newport Pagnell and Maranello had to offer.
This Read More