AUTOVETTURE PICCOLE Takes Center Stage as the Theme for the 2024 Proiettore Macchina at the Cortile Italian Car Show
by Bernard Martin
PITTSBURGH, — The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (#PVGP) is delighted to unveil the theme for the 2024 Proiettore Macchina at the Cortile Italian Car Show: AUTOVETTURE PICCOLE. This Italian phrase, translating to "small cars," celebrates the elegance and innovation found in compact Italian automobiles.
The PVGP Cortile invites enthusiasts to explore the charm and craftsmanship of small Italian cars that have left a lasting impact on automotive design. From iconic microcars to stylish compact models, this theme promises to showcase the diversity and ingenuity of Italian automotive engineering.
Participation and Highlights
Owners of AUTOVETTURE PICCOLE are encouraged to participate in the Cortile Italian Car Show, contributing to the vibrant display of Italian automotive excellence. The event promises a captivating experience for both participants and spectators.
How to Participate
For those wishing to showcase their AUTOVETTURE PICCOLE at the Cortile Italian Car Show, registration details and additional information can be found on the the registration link which will open in January 2024.
Below is a list of cars that we want to invite to our 2024 event. Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments!
Each year the Cortile selects a marque or model to highlight for the annual event based upon factors such as historical significance, unique local interest, brand resurgence. The cars of Alejandro deTomaso have been selected as our 2016 Proiettore Macchina!
Alejandro de Tomaso (1928–2003) started his career in the car industry as a racing driver for Maserati and O.S.C.A. He participated in two Formula One World Championship Grand Prix's, debuting on January 13, 1957. In 1959 he founded De Tomaso Automobili originally to build prototypes and racing cars.
De Tomaso Automobili (1959 - 2004) was a Modena Italy based automobile manufacturing company founded by the Argentine-born Alejandro de Tomaso with funding from his wife, Isabelle Haskell, an American heiress and race driver.
De Tomaso's first road-going production model was the Vallelunga, named after the famous racing circuit, was introduced in 1963. The Mangusta, introduced in 1966 was the first De Tomaso car produced in significant numbers. With the Mangusta, De Tomaso moved from European to American Ford engines. About 400 Mangustas were built before production ended in 1971.
In the late 1960s, Ford was in need of a high performance GT to combat the likes of Ferrari and Corvette, and assist in generating additional dealership traffic for its mainstream product lines. De Tomaso Automobili was relying on Ford 289 and 302 V8's engines in the Mangusta model and had purchased the Ghia design and coach-building concern. After Ford's failed attempt to purchase Ferrari, a Ford-De Tomaso business arrangement was consummated and work began on a new mid-engined GT which would become the most iconic of the DeTomaso cars produced: The Pantera.
From 1961 to 1963 De Tomaso designed chassis for a number of Formula One teams using O.S.C.A., Alfa Romeo, Fiat-8 and Ferrari V-6 engines. In 1970 Alejandro De Tomaso took an interest in a rising F1 team and built a magnesium chassis, designed by Gian Paolo Dallara, and powered by a Cosworth V8, for Frank Williams Racing Cars for use in the 1970 Formula One. The relationship began to sour after Piers Courage fiery crash at Zandvoort. It would mark the last year De Tomaso appeared in F1.
The Pantera followed on the heels of DeTomaso's F1 fame in 1971 with a 351 Cleveland Ford V8 and a low, wedge-shaped body designed by Ghia's Tom Tjaarda. Through an agreement with Ford, De Tomaso sold Panteras in the USA through Ford's Lincoln and Mercury dealers. Between 1971 and 1973, 6,128 Panteras were produced in Modena, the largest number of a single marque of De Tomaso produced. The Pantera was finally phased out of production in 1993 with somewhere around 7000 total units produced.
In 1971 De Tomaso also introduced the Deauville which was attempt to rival contemporary Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz saloons. In 1972 De Tomaso introduced a coupé based on the Deauville, the Longchamp. The Longchamp used a slightly shortened Deauville chassis and had the same Ford V8 engine. The body design, however, was substantially different, and influenced by the Lancia Marica prototype, also designed by Tom Tjaarda. A total of 409 Longchamps of all variations were built, by the time the production ended in 1989.
Alejandro deTomaso made many acquisitions throughout the 1970's. De Tomaso Automobili owned motorcycle company Moto Guzzi from 1973 to 1993 and from 1976 to 1993 De Tomaso owned legendary Italian sports car maker Maserati, and was responsible for producing cars including the Biturbo, the Kyalami, Quattroporte III, Karif, and the Chrysler TC.
In February 1976 Alejandro de Tomaso purchased Innocenti. Innocenti had acquired the rights to Mini from British Leyland and from 1976 to 1987 the top of the range Innocenti was the Innocenti Mini de Tomaso. Over the years they produced Lambretta scooters as well as a range of automobiles.
We are very excited to feature the cars of Alejandro de Tomaso at this years Cortile
Innocenti was an Italian machinery works originally established by Ferdinando Innocenti in 1920. Over the years they produced Lambretta scooters and, most notably, Mini's from 1965 until 1975 under license from British Leyland. Although the sales of Innocenti's second only behind Fiat in the early 70's a new manger was put in charge and at the end of his three year tenure in 1975 the company was purchased out of near bankruptcy in February 1976, by Alejandro de Tomaso and was reorganised by the De Tomaso Group under the name Nuova Innocenti. All of this background is important to understand more about our first registration for this year's celebration of DeTomaso at the Cortile: A 1975 Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300.
Many details of internal and external were produced by Italian brands (IPRA for the radiators, Carello and Altissimo as regards the headlights). Also for what concerns the mechanical part were made of different choices such as the adoption of the booster on all models Cooper (the English Mini the brake booster solely on the Cooper S).
Mini Magazine wrote:
Gary's 1975 Innocenti Mini
According to Gary Daniels, the first registrant to this years Cortile and the owner of the 1975 Innocenti pictured on this posting: "In researching the rarity of this car, I contacted the Mini Cooper Register who has an Innocenti register for more information, They informed me that all factory records had been destroyed and they could not varify the production information of this car. I did find an Inncenti website that listed serial numbers and production date information.
According to them, this car was produced in January of 1975 and that January was the last month of production for the Innocenti factory before the purchase by Alejandro de Tomaso. Production numbers for Innocent Minis ran approximately 28,00/year up until 1974 where production was cut in half. In 1975, production was very small for all versions of the Innocenti due to the short production run ending in January, 1975. The 1300 Export version is the most luxurious and smallest production volume of all Innocenti Minis.
Nearly all body panels and body parts were made by Innocenti. Notable exterior features include the distinctive Inno grille, badging and extra chrome work, plastic wheel arches, side-repeaters and Rostyle steel wheels. Notable interior features are interior door latches, three-spoke Halebore steering wheel, cigarette lighter and heated rear screen. The dashes is distinct in that the instrument cluster is made up of six Veglia gauges, lined up in a row.
All Innocenti's were equipped with Cooper S brakes and a choice of 998cc or 1275cc engines. This car in original trim had a 1275CC Cooper S spec engine with an 11-stud head, S pistons, and an S crankshaft. The con-rods were Innocenti spec. Carburetors were twin SU 1.25-inch, 538 cam and Lucas 25D4 distributor producing about 71bhp. Top end was about 95MPH.
This Mini Innocenti 1300 Export has been modified to include a 16 valve, supercharged and fuel injected 200+BHP engine, uprated brakes, adjustable suspension, roll cage, Cobra race seats, four-point harnesses and 10” three-piece alloy wheels with Yokohama 032R tyres. Weighing in at 1300 pounds, this car has impressive performance!
Gary's 1967 Rallye Monte Carlo Winner Mini Replica
Gary Daniels is also bringing his replica 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winner for display in the Mini Car show at the PVGP,
so you'll want to walk down the hill to check it out as well.
According to Primotipo...
"By 1967 the Mini Cooper S was long established as a race and rally winner; in the Monte the cars won in 1964, 1965 and 1966, the cars driven by Paddy Hopkirk/Henry Liddon, Timo Makinen/Paul Easter and in ’66 Makinen, Aaltonen and Hopkirk dominated the event.
They finished in that order only to have French officialdom throw them out, and Roger Clark’s 4th placed Lotus Cortina, advancing Finnish Citroen driver Pauli Toivonen to a hollow win.
The cars ‘were excluded for having iodine vapour, single filament bulbs in their standard headlamps instead of double-filament dipping bulbs’, this was a bit of French bullshit which allowed a Citroen win…
The Mini’s advantage was rammed home in 1967 when Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon won the event one last time, the age of the Mini was coming to an end, the ‘rally reign’ of the Ford Escort Twin-Cam/RS1600 and other more powerful specialised cars was about to begin…" [Read More at Monte Carlo Rally 1967: Morris Cooper S]
This is a compilation of articles from a variety of sources and contributors. Attrition and sources are always provided at the top and/or the bottom of the posting.