1948 CISITALIA COUPE 202 MM
Chassis No. 087 Engine No. 030 Black with red interior.
Engine: four-cylinder, 1,089 cc, 60bhp at 5,500 rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Brakes: four wheel drum; Suspension: independent front suspension with transverse semi-elliptic spring, trailing axle with semi-elliptical springs at rear. Right hand drive.
Designed by Dante Giancosa and Giovanni Savonuzzi, the Cisitalia was the venture for industrialist Piero Dusio into motor racing in the mid-1940's. Initially, efforts were centered around the 1100 class which the new cars soon dominated, rather as in Britain the Coopers of this era were making the affordable 500 class their own. The Cisitalias created a whole new area of the sport in Italy and races were specifically run for the cars. Savonuzzi's aircraft engineering background influenced the design of the aluminum multi-tubular spaceframe chassis. Transverse independent front suspension was used and motivation was provided by tuned 3-bearing OHV Fiat engines. However, the cars were not solely driven by hopeful novices: some illustrious names were to be found among the entrants. Nuvolari, Taruffi, Sommer, Chiron and other great drivers scored some remarkable victories over the 1946/47 season.
The sports cars which followed were also very successful in the 1100 class and in 1947 Nuvolari brought his Cisitalia over the line in second place in the Mille Miglia and his team mates followed in third and fourth places. That season, Taruffi took the national championship for the marque.
The 1948 cars were available in 1,200cc -- this was mainly to meet competition from the French Gordinis. Again the cars were very successful. Meanwhile, the company had enlisted the services of Ferry Porsche to design an F1 car. The 1,500cc with rear-mounted flat twelve cylinder engine, five speed gearbox and four wheel drive was remarkably advanced for its time but tragically, Dusio's resources had dwindled and the car was never to make a starting grid.
The sports cars were always a compromise of racing car design with road refinements. However, when Pininfarina was commissioned to design the bodywork for the 202 Sports Coupe, he produced one of the most pleasing bodies of this type ever seen. So highly was it rated that in the early fifties, the Museum of Modern Art in New York installed a show called AUTOMOBILES AS SCULPTURE which featured ten of the best designed cars worldwide. After the show ended the Museum bought the Cisitalia from the owner for their permanent collection, where it is still on display in the INDUSTRIAL DESIGN section.
The cars were very expensive in comparison with other models of the period. Consequently, only 153 of the coupes were produced. Mr. Rose purchased the Cisitalia from Esdel Pfabe, formerly of Painesville, Ohio, in 1976. The car was raced in the early fifties, by SCCA driver Tony Pompeo. Mr. Pfabe had owned the Cisitalia since the late 1960s, and during his ownership it was repainted from red to its present black. The interior headliner appears to be original and is in beautifully preserved condition, as well as the original bakelite control switches and gearshift knonb. As a 202 MM model it is fitted with the more desireable dry sump twin carburettor engine.