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Discussion Starter #1
Dear all,

I am looking for all information about Auto Italia.
This company was founded in the early fifties in Argentina by Ing. Renato Ciofi.
I have picture of just one car. This car was a remake of the Cisitalia 202 spider Nuvolari, but had a shorter wheelbase.

Who can tell me more about Auto Italia?
I would like to discover more about the history and the cars made by Auto Italia.

Thank you very much!
Best regards, Vincent van Gool.
 

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Hello Vincent,

I did some quick searching and came up with this auction listing from bonhams:

Lot Details

It appears that Ciofi may have either bought the rights from Piero Dusio to build the Cisitalia or that he was building them under license from Dusio.

Posting in case you have not yet seen this.

Gordon Emslie
 

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Ciofi "Cisitalia" N. SC01

Working from the text of the auction offering, one may wish to do a bit of research as to when the first five-main Simca engine was made available so as to ascertain the likely "period" origins of such a car ... if all was as simple as the description implies.

In short, 1950's is possible. "1952", as claimed, is not. If this were a court of law, once one piece of testimony is determined to be incorrect, all the other statements require closer examination ... or exclusion. Quite correctly! Even though this is no legal court, one might be wise to apply similar rules if it is the truth that is sought.

This means that we would perhaps be wise to refrain from using this reference as a meaningful reference unless additional context can be found that gives even minimal support to the other claims made?

John
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi John,

I have received some more information about an Auto Italia car.
It looks slightly different from the car at Bonhams, but i guess these cars are all handmade to customer specifications.
So if this car is not the same as the Bonham car, it looks at least two Auto Italia cars are made. Maybe someone from Argentina is able to contribute to this thread ?

Vincent.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Auto Italia Badge

Now for sale on Ebay from Argentina, see picture.
Sellers tekst that goes with this badge: Cisitalia AutoItalia identification plate. Abarth sport corsa.

I wonder in what way Abarth was involved ?
Maybe Dr. Lugo is willing to comment on this badge as this is his territory and we all can learn a bit more about this interesting part of Cisitalia history.

Thank you.
 

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A question ...

How badly do you wish to believe in the implications of the ID plate? When was it made? By whom? For what purpose? If we give a newly-made plate too much significance, are we stepping into some sort of prepared "trap" that is intending to mislead us at some time in the future?

Please be careful out there!

John
 

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OT
John, I have enjoyed reading your comments over the years on this forum, and in particular it's fascinating to consider the "traps" and other nefarious preliminary efforts that some might make to preface a fraudulent "discovery" sometime in the future. I'm not a collector, just an interested enthusiast, and appreciate learning the intricacies of the high end collector world.

Thanks for your input.

Carl
 

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Simca 5 Main Bearing Engine "Rush"

Working from the text of the auction offering, one may wish to do a bit of research as to when the first five-main Simca engine was made available so as to ascertain the likely "period" origins of such a car ... if all was as simple as the description implies.

In short, 1950's is possible. "1952", as claimed, is not. If this were a court of law, once one piece of testimony is determined to be incorrect, all the other statements require closer examination ... or exclusion. Quite correctly! Even though this is no legal court, one might be wise to apply similar rules if it is the truth that is sought.

This means that we would perhaps be wise to refrain from using this reference as a meaningful reference unless additional context can be found that gives even minimal support to the other claims made?

John
The Simca Rush 1.3 L unit with a five-bearing crankshaft, was fitted to the Arondes beginning, October 1960. There was also a 70 hp version of the engine, called Rush Super it first appeared in September 1961. So these cars couldn't of come out in the 1950's but early 1960's.

James
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Autodromo of Bs As

Dear Mr. Lugo,

Thank you very much for your contribution.
Unfortunately this picture doesn't open and is too small to learn from.
Do you have a better quality high resolution picture available to share with us?

You talk about "th "Auto Italia".
Does this imply only one car has been made?
I found in the past at least 3 cars claimed to be made by Auto Italia.

Maybe you can reveal some more background information so we can learn about this "hidden" part of car history?

There are a few stories on the inter saying Mr. Ciofi took care of the private collection of Mr. Dusio. Another story says Mr. Ciofi build some cars under licence of Cisitalia. Are these true stories?

I hope you want to share you knowledge with us.
Thank you very much in advance!

Kind regards, Vincent.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Pictures by Dr. Sergio Lugo

Dr. Sergio Lugo asked me to post a few pictures as he has some technical difficulties posting pictures. Find below the pictures Mr. Lugo shared from a few Auto Italia cars. Thank you very much, i hope more information will follow.
 

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Ciofi images

It is nice to see a new image of the modified Cisitalia 202SMM. I'd not yet seen the image with the race #15 on it. I do not yet know which chassis this was ... although I can make a guess.

The white car has been touted for a while as having been built by Ciofi. Recent attempts to sell the car have generated some rather vague and hopeful descriptions that have promoted Cisitalia and Abarth "connections" ... that seem equally vague up to this point. Only recently has the number "003" been reported for the chassis numbering. For those who might not know it, I should perhaps remind others that we can be a bit forgiving of an Argentinian-built car that might have had no chassis number during early use. It seems that the Argentinians generally relied on the engines to supply identification numbers. Anecdotally, it seems they were also quick to abbreviate to the last digits (or digit) of a number. A car with chassis number 4001 and engine 4002 might be called simply, "number 2". As a practical consideration, it seems quite logical that a car might acquire a chassis number at a later date if the car were sold internationally ... where a chassis number is a virtual requirement for customs purposes. I am not saying that this is what happened in either case of these two cars, but I do consider it a possibility, particularly for "003".

The Crosley engine with "Braje" speed equipment certainly has no connection to Cisitalia nor Abarth. Nick Braje was based out of Southern California and his tuning equipment was not embraced by the Italians ... since some Italians (Nardi, Siata, "Italmeccanica" and Bandini in particular) were making speed equipment of their own. The general build characteristics do not truly resemble any Cisitalia or Abarth car. The wheels are not those which were used by Cisitalia or Abarth. In general, the car has been finished (during a "restoration"?) in a bit too refined a manner to be a competitive racing car of its time ... and I am unaware of a category in Argentinian racing in which a Crosley engine would have been competitive in a sports car that was built with an intention to be raced. There are other mechanical limitations that I can see in detail photos as well. So, if the car was built originally pretty much as we see it today, I have to think it was perhaps intended to be a boulevard cruiser?

There is always room to learn more about any car or person, so additional documentation for any Ciofi-built or Ciofi-modified car would be most welcome. In fact, any reference to Renato Ciofi would be quite welcome! So far, I have found no reference in Cisitalia literature to Renato Ciofi being associated with Cisitalia in any official capacity. This does not mean that there was no relationship but I have to note that the references to such a relationship began turning up at some time quite recently while the white "003" car was being promoted. This "factoid" can now be found in numerous spots on the net that picked up the marketing description for the car. This "factoid" was then picked up by those who are promoting "229" ("22.9"), a car that has been searching for an identity for quite some time. First, it appeared on the market as "Cisitalia", then went through some other descriptions ("Galicio-Cisitalia" and "1947 Cisitalia-Abarth") before returning most recently(?) to "probably Cisitalia" while venturing a guess as to the donor chassis ... even though the chassis does not really exhibit true Cisitalia characteristics. Similar? Yes. But so many subtle and not-so-subtle variations are present that I have to consider that it is merely a concept derived in part from what was done by Cisitalia in a few early cars. In the end, I can acknowledge a sense of possibility ... if quite a number of changes were subsequently made to the chassis. Recent promotional literature now indicate that the car has a pre-war Fiat engine ... with a "Fiat" number that does not make sense for a pre-war engine.

At the moment, my research files list both the white car (claiming Ciofi number "003") and the red coupe ("22.9") as having origins yet to be determined. I cannot yet consider either of them to have any meaningful ties to Cisitalia. Even the "Ciofi" and "Galicio" connections are only anecdotal at this time. Any lack of documentation is no proof that either car is not (individually) what has been claimed, at least in part, but it would be very nice if some clearly inaccurate claims had not been made in the past about either of these cars. The errors of presentation and marketing make it even more dis-comforting when other claims are made that cannot (yet?) be supported by something (anything!) that makes either car seem as "historic" as the sellers would like us to believe.

Individually, each is a cool car as it sits. Nothing yet shows how either is truly "historic" in a way that makes me wish to do more than study both of them some more. If only there were more hours in the days and nights!

I think the business card for Ciofi has to have been from the 1960 to 1962 time period for its creation since it lists Fiat 1500 and 2100 as a specific specialization. If it were later, surely the 2300 would have been listed as well? Of course, we do not know that Ciofi revised his card when the 2300 came out, so the card could have been handed out at a later time.

Perhaps this is enough "thinking out loud"?

Any clarifications will be most welcome!

John
 

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Chassis 22.9 or "229" ?

One more thought for the moment.

It seems to me that the "22.9" number reported for one of the cars described incompletely above really should be referred to as "229". I think the "point" or "period" punch-marking in the chassis is a centerline punch that was done while the chassis was being constructed. It is located in such a way as to make it seem as if it is part of the number ... but probably is not. Taking this thought to another "maybe" (that may be somewhat risky?), this might reflect that the car MIGHT have had an engine numbered "229" at the time when the chassis was numbered?

Happy studies!

John
 

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Auto Italia 003

Dear all,

we are the owners of #003, and when we bought the car about 1 1/2 years ago, the information accompanying it war relatively scarce. There were a number of pictures of unknown age, showing the car prior to restoration, but most of the pictures were taken relatively recently. Meanwhile we have received a number of old documents which I could scan in and share here, if this is of interest. As far as the old bills and tax sheets show, the Crosley engine was imported earlier than the car was produced. There is an old invoice with the engine number on it, issued by Macoco Trading, dated 1947. The last entry in the Argentinian Title is stamped in 1977, and there are other invoices (road tax?) also from 1977 and from 1968. On some of the invoices, I cannot make a clear connection to the car, but at least the ones mentioned show chassis number and/or registration. Whether they are genuine or not, I cannot tell. If they are, then car carried its VIN number at least since about 1977.
It would be very helpful if somebody could bring some light into this Auto-Italia / Ciofi story. In fact, I was hoping to learn more through people from Argentina, like Dr Sergio Lugo, whom I would like to encourage to add a few details, if he can.

Regards,

Alfred
 

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Discussion Starter #17
car # 3

Dear Alfred,

It would be very interesting to see some more of your car.
Please post so we can learn some more about the Auto Italia cars.

Kind regards, Vincent.
 
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