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 Enclave Avenir is the top-of-the-line trim level of the SUV for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Buick

Some people are extremely adventurous eaters. I joke that the only food I won't eat is bugs that look like bugs. I'll do Indian, Thai, Korean and Ethiopian, sweetbreads, frog legs and endless servings of sushi. French Laundry. Cut. Alinea.

Others are into tamer fare: vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, grilled cheese (with Kraft American Singles) on Wonder bread, steak with ketchup. Cracker Barrel. Dairy Queen. Olive Garden, if you're feeling fancy.

Though the fancy food folks might look down on the Red Lobster-crowd, if you're a carmaker looking to sell big SUVs in Peoria, you best remember they exist — and what sorts of stuff they're into. Culinary adventures are all about trying new and exciting things, which not everyone likes.

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir The model is elegant, especially in the high-end Avenir grade.Photo courtesy of Buick

Some people — a lot of them, actually — are thrilled with unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. And for them, GM has come up with the Buick Enclave Avenir, the Olive Garden of seven-passenger premium SUVs.

Though Buick might not carry the brand cachet of Volvo or Acura or it's up-market sibling Cadillac, the marque's SUVs (that's all it makes now, sadly) are remarkably popular. The Enclave is the three-rowed big boy, and the Avenir is the top-tier premium trim level. My test unit landed at $59,390 including the Avenir Technology Package which includes adaptive cruise control and improved automatic emergency braking. It's 2020. Both of those should be standard GM. Come on now.

It feels almost like a minivan but with the look of an SUV. Entry and exit is easy and the front and rear captain's chairs are supremely comfortable. The Technology Package adds an improved suspension which is gentle on aging backs and keeps things nicely stable. There are two sunroofs, one in the front that opens and one in the back that does not.

The 20-inch rims are sharp and, while the Enclave does not have the most exciting design in the world, it is inoffensive and soothing. It would look good in grandma's driveway on Thanksgiving Day.

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir The Enclave has a good amount of cargo space at the rear.Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick infotainment system is excellent, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot from AT&T and GM's unmatched OnStar service. The hotspot means that the litany of iPads and iPhones from the passengers in the back (and front) seats will always be able to connect and OnStar means if anything goes wrong, help is just a button press away — unless the air bags deploy, in which case help calls you instead. The Bose Premium audio system does its job well, with active noise cancellation and something called "Buick QuietTuning" to keep outside noise where it belongs.

The front seats are heated and ventilated, and both include a massage function which is a gift from the road trip gods. In my version, the second row seats were heated, but no cooling. The touch surfaces are all lovely and the cabin is light and airy thanks to large windows and those dual sunroofs. Visibility is excellent, and there's a 360-degree camera system to help you park in tight spaces.

The 3.6-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower but stays out of the way, as does the 9-speed automatic transmission. The Buick gearshift is mildly annoying to get used to, but after a week or two, you won't notice it anymore. There are a host of safety features, including rear cross traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot warning with alert feature if you're going to move into another car on the interstate. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.

There's a remote start system, which is great for both hot and cold days, a power liftgate at the back, and a split power-folding 60/40 third row if you want to haul more stuff than people. It'll even tow up to 5,000 pounds if you want to haul a camper or small boat. But an off-roader this isn't. It's an unpretentious people and stuff hauler that won't draw too much attention to itself.

Unpretentious is probably a fair description for most Buick buyers. They don't need to show off. They just value comfort and roominess and want a car that will take care of them.

That's the Buick Enclave Avenir.

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McLaren has chosen an easy-to-pronounce name for its new hybrid supercar - Artura.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren is about to mark the beginning of a new era in hybrid powertrain engineering. In the first half of 2021, its high-performance hybrid series production supercar will go on sale and we now know what it will be named.

The McLaren Artura builds on the legacy of the McLaren P1TM hybrid hypercar, which was unveiled in 2012, and the Speedtail Hyper-GT, which entered production this year and the fastest McLaren ever with a top speed of 250 mph.

"Every element of the Artura is all-new – from the platform architecture and every part of the High-Performance Hybrid powertrain, to the exterior body, interior and cutting-edge driver interface – but it draws on decades of McLaren experience in pioneering super-lightweight race and road car technologies to bring all of our expertise in electrification to the supercar class," said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Mclaren Artura The Artura badging sits on what is likely the rear of the car.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It will be the first car to be built on the company's new platform architecture, which has been optimized for electrification. Design and engineering of the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture took place in the U.K. at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre.

Two photos released by the company show what is likely the back of the Artura, with a honeycomb design beneath the car's badging between two exhaust outlets.

The Artura will get a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that combines with an electric motor. This will be the engine's debut. McLaren says that the engine retains the performance benefits of the company's larger V8s but has improved torque response at low engine speeds. The Artura can also run on all-electric power.

The weight of the hybrid engine system has been offset by the application of weight-saving technologies throughout the chassis, body, and powertrain. Ahead of a full product reveal, McLaren is touting the car's class-leading weight advantage.

The McLaren Artura is expected to be revealed soon. Pricing will likely be announced at that time.

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