Retrospective

He designed some of the most influential cars of the 1950s and 60s but walked away from it all

Franco Scaglione was tasked with developing the designs for some of the most iconic cars of the mid-20th century including this Aston Martin DB 2-4.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

His name isn't highlighted in the annals of car history quite like that of Enzo Ferrari, Battista "Pinin" Farina, or Karl Benz. However, Franco Scaglione's work helped shaped the auto industry in a substantial way.

The Italian was of noble ancestry, born to a well-off family in Florence, Italy the year the first transfusion using stored blood was performed - 1916. His father was a chief army doctor and his mother was the captain of the Italian Red Cross.

His upbringing was by no means extraordinary according to most reports. His father died when Scaglione was young and his favorite hobbies included reading and riding. He went to university to study aeronautical ennginenering and entered military service riding to the rank of sub-lieutenant.

World War II changed his path. Scaglione volunteered to be sent to the front, heading to Lybia where he was taken prisoner by the English at El Duda in the aftermath of the Battle of Point 175 in December 1941. He was sent to the Yol detention camp in India near Dharmsala where the Dhali Lama lives today. He stayed there until he was released in 1946.

After a year of receiving from the war at home, engineering went to the side and Scaglione began seeing styling as his new passion. In 1948 he went to Bologna looking to work in the automobile industry. That type of work wasn't easy to find as the auto industry was in post-war survival and recovery mode, with many of them suffering near-catastrophic damage to plants during the campaigns leveled against Italy.

Scaglione made his living sketching clothing for fashion houses instead. The lucrative work was not enough to change his mind. He wanted to work in the automotive industry.

BAT  Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica Continued coachbuilder collaboration Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

By 1951, he was married with a daughter. That year he uprooted his family ad moved to Turin, the home of major coachbuilding companies including Pininfarina, Ghia, and Maggiora. He tried to work with Farina but it ended up not working out. He then was introduced to Giuseppe "Nuccio" Bertone, an automobile designer who ran Carrozzeria Bertone. This meeting was far more fruitful.

He worked with Bertone for the next eight years, creating a number of iconic vehicles including the Siata 208 CS (1952), Alfa Romeo Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica (BAT) (1953, 1954, and 1955 versions), Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva (1954), Aston Martin DB 2-4 (1957), Jaguar XK150 (1957), and the Maserati 3500 GT (1959).

The Siata is notable for its rarity. Just 18 were built - 11 by Balbo and 7 by Stabilimenti Farina. The ones by Balbo were badged as "200 CS" while the ones by Stabilimenti Farina wore "208 CS" badging. The 208 has a 1,996 cc V8 engine that delivers 110-125 horsepower (depending on who you believe). The engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It has an aluminum body and weighted 2,200 pounds.

The Alfa Romeo Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica (BAT) models were all commissioned to study the effect of drag on a vehicle. They were all built on an Alfa Romeo 1900 chassis. Each model is different and achieves a very low coefficient of drag, even by today's standards. All the models survive.

JAGUAR XK150 / XK 150 DHC 1961 - Test drive in top gear - Engine sound | SCC TV www.youtube.com

Only four Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportivas were made but their features made their way into one of the most beloved Alfas of all time - the Giulietta.

The Aston Martin DB2/4 was a slightly more mass market car than the others. The company made 764 of them. Depending on the model year, the cars had 125 or 140 horsepower. The car gained some notoriety after it was featured in the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds"

Jaguar succeeded the XK140 with the Scaglione-designed XK150. It was successful enough but not nearly as iconic as what came next - the E-Type.

By 1959, Scaglione had made enough of a name for himself that he was able to break out on his own and attract clients. He first collaborated with Carlo Abarth and Porsche designing the Porsche 356 B Abarth Carrera GTL, the forerunner of the 911.

Aston Martin DB 2-4

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

He was commissioned to design the Lamborghini 350 GTV, ATS 2500 GT, and the Prince 1900 Skyline Sprint, among others. The Lamborghini 350 GTV was the predecessor of the 350 GT production model. Scaglione designed its body, which was purposefully reminiscent of the Aston Martin DB4. However, its hidden headlights and six exhaust pipes were unique for its time. However, Ferruccio Lamborghini, founder of Automobili Lamborghini, was said to be unhappy with some of the design so he requested revisions prior to the 350 GT going into production.

The Prince 1900 Skyline Sprint was introduced at the 1963 Tokyo Motor Show. It shared a body type with the Skyline saloon. The Skyline Spirit was a sports car that spurred the development of the Skyline GT-R sub-brand and though decades of mergers, acquisitions, engineers, and designers has led us to the modern Nissan GT-R as its direct successor.

In 1967, he worked with Alfa Romeo to design the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, which was one of the world's first supercars. The car made its debut at the 1967 Paris Salon de L'Auto and became the first production vehicle to feature dihedral doors. Just 18 of the models were produced

MASERATI 3500GT | 3500 GT 1962 - Test drive in top gear - Engine sound | SCC TV www.youtube.com

His success was also met with a fair amount of chance. As a designer working with Intermeccanica, he had come up with vehicles including the Apollo, Torino, Italia GFX, Italia IMX, and Indra. When finances at the company became tight, Scaglione invested his own money, funding the production of the Indra out of his own pocket.

INTERMECCANICA INDRA Spider 1972 - Modest test drive - Engine sound | SCC TV www.youtube.com

Intermeccaninca went bankrupt and its owner, Frank Reisner, moved to Canada leaving Scaglione disillusioned with the industry. Scaglione retired, moving to Western Italy where he lived in relative obscurity. In 1991, Scaglione was diagnosed with lung cancer and died two years later, leaving a lasting legacy that influenced the way Italian sports cars look like, even today.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross takes its name from the beloved cars.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

I wasn't a big car guy growing up. Some kids can tell you the horsepower and engine and endless stats about every car on the road. Or they'll notice the difference in taillights between individual model years, or any of a million other nips and tucks that carmakers do to differentiate their cars.

These days, it's my job to know that stuff, but when I was in high school, I didn't know much — but I knew what a Mitsubishi Eclipse was. As I got ready to write this review, I went back and watched perhaps the most famous 90's-era Mitsubishi Eclipse you could find: Paul Walker's bright green ride in "Fast and the Furious".

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross The car is more traditional up front than it is in the back.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The second-generation Eclipse, built from 1995 to 1999, was the best-known (and best-looking) of all the cars, and became a vehicular icon for my generation in no small part to the role it played in "Fast and the Furious". Though I remember the car, I'd forgotten how terrible this movie is. The dialogue is cringeworthy, the cars are absurd (how many gears does that thing have?), and the story is outlandish. But it's still a hoot, and I may end up rewatching the whole series.

But then in 2011, Mitsubishi ended the Eclipse line for good. Or so we thought. Now we have a new one, only the sporty looks and movie-star glamour is long gone. It's called the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and it's... a compact crossover SUV of no particular importance.

That might be a little harsh. It's actually quite an interesting looking vehicle, which is more than can be said for most crossovers. Though the front isn't particularly exciting, the rear has more going for it. There's a dual-window design on the rear tailgate, with a light bar running across the middle. It's very much a love-it-or-hate-it design, but at least it's not boring.

There's a crease running up the doors to the back as well, which looks particularly sharp on the Red Diamond review unit that Mitsubishi sent me for a week. It stickered for $32,720 on the SEL trim, though you can likely negotiate a nice chunk of change off of that at your local Mitsubishi dealer.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross The touch screen is okay but the trackpad that is used to navigate it is detrimental.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Feature-wise, the Eclipse Cross is well-equipped, with a tiny 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower. That's not a ton of power, but for a family crossover it's plentiful and turns in a combined 25 miles per gallon.

Mine had the $2,100 Touring Package, which kicks in a lovely panoramic sunroof, the ever-important adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection and auto-braking, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, and some other minor additions.

If you look at the feature list, the Eclipse Cross is a solid vehicle. The interior design is a little rougher, with hard plastic everywhere and not-so-luxurious touch points. The trackpad to control the screen is terrible, as are the up/down buttons to control the dual-zone climate control (though the heated seats work excellently).

The infotainment screen could be bigger, and the dash screen needs some polish. The engine gets the job done, but it's not exactly quiet. It's a middle-of-the-road crossover. It does what it's supposed to do. You can get it for a good price and it's well-equipped.

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Photo courtesy of Cars & Bids

When it was new in 2005, this Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG Kompressor was merely a traditional G-Wagon with a hand-built, supercharged AMG 5.5-liter V8 under the hood, a boxy body, and a rigid frame that only those that scoot around L.A.'s smooth streets could love.

But then someone (read: not the current owner) had an idea.: 6x6 it. So, Squared Customs did.

The now six-wheeled utility vehicle has an extensive list of modifications. Its exterior is finished in a Designo Magno Matte Gray paint job and accented by carbon fiber fenders, snorkel, and hood scoop. There's also full differential locks, portal axles, forged wheels, and fresh exterior lighting. The bed is made of composite decking.

2005 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG 6x6: 6x6 conversion, plus many other modifications

Photo courtesy of Cars & Bids

The ute's dimensions match a traditional 6x6 from the manufacturer.

The original engine, which produces 469 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, and five-speed automatic transmission have not been altered. It also has its original Brabus bi-xenon black headlights.

The upgraded interior features black quilted leather upholstery and carbon fiber trim. It also has a 5.0-inch infotainment touch screen, navigation, a Harman/Kardon premium audio system, power-adjustable front and rear seats with memory, heated front and rear seats, automatic climate control, a multi-function steering wheel, and SmartKey.

The model is currently up for sale on Cars & Bids. With six days left in the auction, the bids are up to $47,000 at the time of publication.

The seller, out of Deerfield Beach, Florida, reports that despite its 15-year age, the ute only has 97,800 miles on the odometer. It comes with two keys and an owners manual.

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