One of the most famous names in Italian coachbuilding, Carrozzeria Touring was founded in Milan in 1926 and enjoyed 40 years of outstanding success before its demise in the mid-1960s. Revived in 2006 under new ownership as Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera Srl, the company specialises in ‘low-volume bespoke motorcars and one-off commissions, each one uniquely crafted to the customer’s specification’.
• The only Sciàdipersia coupé built
• 380,000 – 580,000 €
• Only one owner
• Complete with its original luggage
• Registered in Italy and less than 11,500 km from new
The driving force behind Carrozzeria Touring was Felice Bianchi Anderloni, a lawyer turned test-driver who had strong family links with his employer, Isotta Fraschini. Moving on from Isotta Fraschini, he worked for Peugeot Italiana and in the winter of 1925 took control of Carrozzeria Falco in Milan together with his friend and business partner, Gaetano Ponzoni. Its name changed to Touring in 1926, the company obtained a licence for the Weymann method of body construction and soon was supplying bodies to a wide variety of Italian manufacturers. Designer Giuseppe Seregni was hired in 1927 and it was his Flying Star roadster, built on an Isotta Fraschini 8B chassis, which would establish Touring’s reputation for styling innovation and matchless quality.
A self-taught engineer, Anderloni well understood the advantages conferred by reducing both weight and aerodynamic drag, famously declaring: “Weight is the enemy and air drag the obstacle”. In pursuance of these goals he developed the Superleggera (Super Lightweight) method of body construction that is forever associated with the Milanese coachbuilder, which consisted of an outer skin of aluminium panels supported by an underlying framework of small-diameter steel tubes. The first Superleggera bodies were built in 1937.
Guided by Anderloni’s son, Carlo, and designer Federico Formenti (hired in 1940), Touring would go on to create some of the most beautiful and influential cars of the post-war era, commencing with the Freccia d’Oro and Villa d’Este models on the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 chassis. Among Formenti’s other memorable designs was the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante of 1952 and the Shah of Iran’s Maserati 5000 GT of 1959, while together with Carlo Anderloni he was also responsible for the Aston Martin DB4 of 1958.
Unable to secure contracts to utilise the increased capacity of its new factory near Monza, Touring fell into receivership in March 1964 and was gone for good by the end of 1966. But, as is so often the case with a valuable motoring name, that was not the end of the Touring story. Carlo Anderloni and Carrozzeria Marazzi preserved the ‘Touring Superleggera’ trademark and used it to support the company’s heritage until the current owners acquired the rights in 2006. The new firm is headquartered near Milan, its hometown, where it continues to produce limited-edition sports cars adhering to the classic design principles established by the original founders.
The inspiration for the Sciàdipersia, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2018, was the three Maserati 5000 GTs that Touring built in the late 1950s, the first of which had been ordered by the Shah of Persia, a noted Maserati enthusiast. And like its illustrious forebear, the 21st Century Sciàdipersia is based on a Maserati: the GranTurismo two-door coupé. Thus the Sciàdipersia has the 454bhp 4.7-litre V8 engine found in the sportier GranTurismo models and an MC Race Shift robotised six-speed manual paddle-shift gearbox or ZF six-speed automatic transmission with torque converter. Weighing some 120kg (264lb) less than the GranTurismo, the Sciàdipersia accelerates to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds on its way to an estimated top speed of 299km/h (186mph).
The interior also remains largely to GranTurismo pattern, albeit enhanced with opulent Italian leather and brushed aluminium trim. Externally, though, the Sciàdipersia departs radically from its donor car, featuring a completely redesigned body loosely based on the Touring 5000 GT’s low-slung three-box silhouette, though considerably sleeker. According to Touring Superleggera: “As with every masterpiece, it all starts with a simple concept: the arrow, slimming down the centre sections to extend the perceived length. Its natural dynamism is further enhanced by the front and rear fender ridgelines.
“Unusually, but fittingly for a full four-seater, passengers are immersed in the surrounding natural environment thanks to the extensive glazing and the vast glass roof, permitted by the slim architecture of the rear pillar.” Few would deny that the result is preferable to that achieved by Maserati. The exterior colour chosen is known as ‘Orient Night Sky’, which Touring says is intended to evoke a clear sky at night-time, while aluminium accents feature on the nose, tail, and ‘C’ pillar, harking back to the original.
Each one would be hand-built to order and only 15 cars were planned for production, though Touring Superleggera refused to quote a fixed price as that would vary depending on an owner’s personal specification. Currently the limited series is sold-out, only one coupé (this car) has been completed, while all the other ordered, and currently manufactured, are cabriolet.
This Sciàdipersia is based on a 2017 donor car and has had only one owner. Presented in immaculate condition, it is offered with the original purchase invoice for €760,620 and comes with its set of customised Foglizzo luggage. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own this masterpiece of automotive design from one of the most celebrated names in Italian coachbuilding.
Report by bonhams.com