1952 Cisitalia Nuvolari Spyder
Lot 152
1952 Cisitalia (by Auto Italia) 'Nuvolari Spyder', Chassis no. SC 01 Engine no. SC 1
Sold for £68,700 (US$ 115,353) inc. premium
Lot Details
1952 Cisitalia (by Auto Italia) 'Nuvolari Spyder'

Chassis no. SC 01
Engine no. SC 1


  • Founded in 1939 by Piero Dusio to manufacture sports equipment, Consorzio Industriale Sportiva Italia (Cisitalia) amassed a fortune for its former soccer star owner making military uniforms during WW2. A motor racing enthusiast, Dusio used his fortune to become involved with the sport he loved, building the first Cisitalia competition car in 1946. This was an advanced monoposto with spaceframe chassis - the first time this method of construction had been used for a series-built racing car - powered by a modified FIAT 1100 engine. There being little else available at the time, the Cisitalia sold well and Dusio followed up this successful single-seater by building a two-seater sports car. Coupé and spyder versions were made, one of the latter almost winning the Mille Miglia in 1947 with the legendary Tazio Nuvolari at the wheel. The fact that Nuvolari was able to lead the race in such a small-engined car speaks volumes for the Cisitalia's superior design, only the misfortune of a flooded magneto relegating him to second place.

    In 1948 Cisitalia introduced the hugely influential 202 Gran Sport coupé. Pinin Farina was responsible for styling the 202 which, with its elegant lines and integrated all-enveloping coachwork, set the pattern for every Gran Turismo that followed. Indeed, Pinin Farina and Cisitalia were uniquely honoured when the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired a 202 for its collection. It was at this point that Dusio's ambition got the better of him; a supercharged 12-cylinder Grand Prix car was developed with the assistance of Ferdinand Porsche and Carlo Abarth among others, but the project all but bankrupted Cisitalia, forcing Piero Dusio to close down his Italian operation and relocate to Argentina where he founded Autoar.

    Dusio took with him Ing. Renato Ciofi and a quantity of chassis, engines and other parts. He sold the license to build his cars to Ciofi but did not remain with the company, which began manufacturing Cisitalias again in 1952, commencing with this car, chassis number 'SC 01' (Sport Competizione 01). The aluminium coachwork was inspired by that of the 202SMM Nuvolari Spyder, exhibiting only minimal differences, while the characteristic tubular chassis is slightly shorter at 2.30m (down from 2.40m). Numerous improvements were made, the engine being based on a stronger five-main-bearing Simca 1100 block rather than the original three-bearing FIAT, while the braking system features extra-large ventilated drums for racing. Built with left-hand drive (the Italian series was right-hand drive) the car features an original (and very rare) Cisitalia racing steering wheel, original racing instruments and Cisitalia badges. The car was raced in Argentina by José Pacheco Alvear, subsequently being imported into Italy in 1988.

    In May 2003 the Cisitalia was offered for sale at Bonhams' Monaco auction (Lot 253) where it was purchased by the current owner. The catalogue description was as follows: 'It is reported as in excellent mechanical condition, the engine having been rebuilt 1,600km ago by Robert Vesco and the transmission checked over in 2002. Both coachwork and interior are described as in "good original" condition.'

    Since its acquisition in 2003 the car has formed part of the vendor's private collection in Italy. It is accompanied by Italian import papers confirming EU duties paid, and a letter of authentication from Cisitalia International Club.
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