February 29, 2020Giorgio | Mantua (Italy)


I am sure that you (we), vintage cars lovers, live a dualism, not declared but yet real, which shows itself in a continuous diatribe, with arguments to be seriously used in a pub.

There are those who love Ferrari and those who want to hear only about Porsche. Don’t you agree that the arrogant charm of the Maranello reds, the collective dream, the performances bring the Ferrari’ owners directly into the elite of the unapproachable? No it is not really like that, they are cars fit for exhibitionists, not reliable, “unusable”. The understatement?? class of a 911 (just a random example …) is incomparable: you can use it to go shopping, go to the theater, good for racing on a track day on Sunday but also for a weekend ride. All these things with the same car.
Immediately after, it comes the rivalry between spider and coupe! I personally love this second category and, given the choice, I would have no doubts: coupe. I find them more sport cars, made for own pleasure. Whoever picks them up, to me, does it for himself. Those who take a spider instead, do it to “get noticed”; and you know well what the kind of debates are among enthusiasts when it comes to deciding what is coolest.
I could go on forever: German or Italian; sedans or station wagons; car or SUV. And from then you can go into the details: front or rear wheel drive; manual or automatic transmission; gray color or colored. There are no limits. You can argue over everything.
In the car history there has been one of these battles, without a winner, which most of all made the design of the Italian car great in the world: Pininfarina or Bertone. Supporters of the other Carrozzerie might forgive me, we have had many of them and all very great (Zagato, Touring, Castagna, and so on), but I believe that the first two are objectively the most famous and discussed.
We are talking about an epic battle, where competitors were (BTW: how sad to have to use this verb in the past today) two artists in the interpretation of automotive design. Whether they were production cars or prototypes, often presented in car show behind the corner, in Turin, the shapes drawn by these two atelier always redefined the taste of the public to conditioned the trends of the following mass production.
These two masters battled with elegant or bold lines, fluid surfaces or sharp cuts, continuity of style or sudden discontinuity. Dualism. Pinin (Sergio, then) and Nuccio.
Lancia Stratos, Fiat 130 coupè, Alfa Montreal, Peugeot 504 coupè and cabrio, Ferrari 308 and 308 GT4, Cadillac Allanté and Lamborghini Countach.
Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Miura. Alfa Romeo Duetto and Giulia GT.
Here we are! In my opinion, these two pairs of cars represent the climax height of automotive industrial design. The clash between gods that produced everlasting masterpieces.
What can I add again about it? Nothing, everything has been already written about these two artists. But I can only say that my personal automotive taste has shifted from one to the other over time.
The strange thing is that I am becoming more radical. Perhaps because life is busier, and I have less time, today I find myself having stronger ideas. Sometimes these ideas are against the main stream. I decided not to buy an efficient new car but to rely on my dad’s car, which became my daily driving, an “old” 25-year-old sedan. And every journey is an adventure to dodge the tow truck, slapping the face of responsible choices…
In this late rebellion, I moved my taste from Pininfarina to Bertone. 25 years ago, if I won my “13” at the Totocalcio (the highest score in this kind of bingo, trad.) would have been immediately invested in a Daytona. Today my 6 in the Superenalotto (another kind of high score lottery) would go for a Miura. The formal elegance and perfection of Leonardo Fioravanti replaced by the dramatic wonder created by Marcello Gandini.
Eureka! Perhaps this is the key: in a period where information is super-democratic and continuous (see: social media), nothing is any longer surprising, everything is consumed in a flash. But there are still feelings that remain deep inside.
And when I look at Bertone’s car I have that deep feeling. Which, for a moment, takes me away from my identity card.