1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791

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Lot 448
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe
Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791

Sold for US$ 35,100 inc. premium
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe
Coachwork by Fissore

Chassis no. 118S-003727
Engine no. 118.000-001791
Although Italy had developed volume automakers by the 1950s, the likes of Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia, there remained many smaller "boutique" houses, some of them competition shops, others small production operations. Among the most interesting is Cisitalia, which retained a foot in both camps.

Established by Piero Duso in 1939, Consorzio Industriale Sportiva Italia manufactured and sold a variety of sporting goods. After World War II, Duso built a number of Fiat-powered racing cars using the extended acronym Cisitalia, and branched out into passenger cars in 1947. The Cisitalia 202 had a space frame with Fiat 1100 mechanicals, and as bodied by Pinin Farina was one of the classic designs of all time, becoming the only automobile in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Alas, Cisitalia was bankrupt by 1949, so Dusio decamped for Argentina, to pursue a will-o-the-wisp Grand Prix car project under the patronage of Juan Peron. The Cisitalia 360 GP car was unsuccessful, but Dusio built a good business with Willys Jeep variants for rural Argentineans. In 1960, he attempted to esurrect the Cisitalia brand with government help and a partnership with Fiat Argentina SA.

Fiat had uprated the 1200 Cabriolet with a 1,481 cc engine, sold as the 1500 Spider. They also prepared a 1500S version with a 1,491 cc twin-overhead-cam engine designed by OSCA, another boutique tuning house started by the Maserati brothers after they sold their namesake business to the Orsi family. Fiat licensed the OSCA engine for manufacture in their own plants, but supplied a few back to OSCA for their more sophisitacted chassis. In addition to the Pininfarina-designed Spider, there were a few 1500S coupes by Fissore. Carrozzeria Fratelli Fissore, of Savigliano, started out as a customizing house in 1936, but developed a close relationship with Fiat from the late 1940s.

Some of the Fissore coupes went to OSCA, for their own chassis, and were badged accordingly. Duso ordered a batch of the Fiat version of the Fissore 1500S and had them shipped to Argentina. Estimates of the quantity vary from fifteen to thirty, but they were badged and sold as the Cisitalia DF85.

Even for this focused collection, it took many years to source this unusual car. By the early 1990s the collection's DF 85 had migrated from Argentina to Florida where it was sourced by the current owners through Steve Yanoshik of Ft. Lauderdale in January 1993. Photographs of the car show it to have worn red paint and seemingly to have been highly original; importantly all of the attractive trim pieces remained in place. The owners chose to repaint the Cisitalia to the subtle dark metallic blue it wears today, a color that suits its lines well and accentuates the chrome and aluminum details. Aside from its repaint, over the course of the last 17 years the car has had an engine rebuild with two new pistons fitted and the brakes overhauled. Recently run in advance of the sale, the owners' mechanic reports the car to be running and driving well, the motor being 'strong' and gearbox smooth, it was noted that there was a little travel on the brake pedal which may need attention.

An exceptionally rare variation on a popular and renowned theme.
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
1961 Cisitalia DF85 Coupe  Chassis no. 118S-003727 Engine no. 118.000-001791
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