Amelia Island, 2017


  • Logistics were tricky; We had our Semi coming back from the SVRA Sebring race weekend with Harvey at the wheel and eager to get back to his Snowbird Jupiter digs. We had Keron on his way south in our 5th wheel rig: Bentley and Cisitalia aboard. All went like clockwork! Keron left Stratford, CT early Saturday morning, had the Cisitalia delivered to Gooding & Company on Sunday then the 5th wheel trailer “Bentley garage” safely tucked away near the Concours by Sunday night. Harvey left the vintage race meeting at Sebring, FL early Monday AM, found Keron just off I95 in the AM, swapped a semi for a dually and Keron headed north with race semi trailer in tow. Snow bird Harvey went south in the dually for some warmth and rest with a promise to return after Amelia festivities were concluded.

  • AT THE AUCTION: Great exhibit placement for our Cisitalia. Thank you David & Angus!

  • Here's where we started on this project:

    Piero Dusio was a successful Italian industrialist with a dream. A car of his own creation was the focus. The Cisitalia name and the cars produced aptly illustrate an achievement of one man’s passion for the automobile. Dusio built up the Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia (Cisitalia) prior to the start of World War II. It was a successful conglomerate with interests in the textile and hospitality industries, along with sporting goods and banking. He attracted some exceptional design and driving talent including Dante Giacosa, Carlo Abarth, Ferry Porsche and the incredible Tazio Nuvolari to help him create exceptional machines. Though started in Italy, Cisitalia and Piero did not stay too long. The works moved to Argentina apparently due to some taxation issues and the Italian government. Juan Peron’s wallet and hospitality were the solution; Dusio moved and established Autoar (Automotores Argentinos) S.A.I.C. on 22 March 1949. The company relocated and some of the yet-to-be-completed cars did as well, possibly including this one, 054 SC. It was soon used around Buenos Aires though the exact date of sale is difficult to determine. 054 is early in the chassis number sequence so we are assured that this is one of the cars that made its first continental journey early in life. Argentina's roads called and years of service then storage found 054 a bit tired but ready for more travel circa 2000. Folklore at the southern hemisphere garage site recalled this to be a car that Dusio had lent to the Perons for personal use on an occasion or two. Though son Carlo Dusio stayed behind in Italy and operated a restructured Cisitalia works, the driving wheel had in fact “gone south.” Restoration of the vehicle you see here took about a decade with great attention paid to originality and the differences between this Vignale-built car and other coachbuilders’ efforts. We at Automotive Restorations Inc. enjoyed the ability to practice our craft at this level.

  • DISCOVERED AND DORMANT FOR YEARS IN A BUENOS AIRES LOCKUP: A deal is soon struck and Cisitalia Vignale Spyder # 054SC gets winched onto a trailer. It is soon to be aboard ship for this Cisitalia’s 3rd “continental conversion” bound for Southern Florida with Argentinian native, now Florida resident Orlando Cairo in control of operations. Yes, we like the wire wheels on the trailer too!

  • David Gooding’s Amelia Island auction is where we thought we’d end our association with this terrific machine. But there’s more to this story with the car now back at the shop and lots of activities in the new owner’s planning stages. More to follow & more can be found on this project on our website, A Cisitalia of Many Continents.

    Onto the record setting auction news: CLASSIC CAR WEEKLY.NET SAID:

    From 25 feet (or, you know, in photos), this Cisitalia might look like any number of postwar sports cars. But it’s coachbuilt – by Vignale, no less – and the details on this car are fantastic. The 202 was Cisitalia’s main road car, introduced in 1947 and produced through 1952. There were some pretty exotic versions of it, including the CMM and the famed SMM Spider Nuvolari. It’s borderline blasphemous to call any Cisitalia “pedestrian” but I think the attractive yet subdued styling on this Cabriolet, coupled with the fact that it lacks any real racing pretensions, is what makes it special. This car is powered by a 63 horsepower, 1.1-liter straight-four. Coupes came first, but the Cabriolet is rarer, with only about 60 built (of a total 202 production run of 170 cars). This example was discovered in Argentina before coming stateside in 2003. The restoration dates all the way back to 2016 and the chassis number is an early one. It is expected to bring between $525,000-$625,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Gooding’s Amelia Island lineup. Update: Sold $550,000.

  • Bill Warner and the whole Amelia Island Concours organization watch the weather. They proved it this year by making a well-educated decision to shift the show to Saturday with some windy and wet weather due in on Sunday. We needed to readjust and we did. I was the only ARI guy on Amelia Island until Brian’s flight landed later on Friday so: Job one - work with auctioneers to find Cisitalia its new home then get the Bentley we were exhibiting with Andy on the field Friday before 6 PM was the order of business. Here we are, parked and ready and the 1st Bentley in situ! Snow in New England meant Brian was a little late but that was minor. Andy and Elizabeth never found Florida that weekend due to flight cancellations! We represented them admirably if we do say and this rare, unusual, comfortable and interesting Bentley had a great and dry Florida day for itself!!

  • SATURDAY LUNCH TIME SIDEBAR: A client called and said…”have a look at that Meyers Manx RM – Sotheby’s has on auction, I’m interested.” The judges were done, the awards were off an hour or two so we did just as asked. Great original body with nicely cared for mechanicals and an owner who knew his car like the back of his hand. California car culture we savor. A clever concept and execution nicely preserved.

  • This is indeed an unusual Bentley. Harold Radford Coachworks built a very few Continental Touring Salons on the Bentley Mark VI chassis. Though we restored it in the early ‘90s, it still looks lovely and the judges assembled, inspected and concurred.

  • It was a fine field of Bentley beauty we were pleased to share. Looking over the grille of our Mark VI one can see a superb group of Bentley Continentals. Well, as the most practical of the lot and fly fishing equipped we were pleased to garner a corporate award.