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Back to the Future, Italian-style

Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance 1945-1975 

In the wake of World War II, an economically crippled Italy was experiencing resurgence, fueled in part by its burgeoning automotive industry. While Americans had converted their factories for producing war machines, the Italians began exploring new aerodynamic and lightweight car fabrications, inspired by fighter jets and aircraft carriers. As automotive races began taking Europe by storm, the revitalized Italian racing spirit combined with this new design approach, and the Italian Automotive Renaissance was born.

Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance (Rizzoli) is a celebration of these jaw-dropping vehicles, all built between 1945-1975. While today they are an ode to the past, in their heyday these Lancia’s, Alfa Romeo’s, and Cistalia’s were a window into the future of automotive design. The book showcases the collection of eighteen vintage cars and motorcycles, first seen on display at the First Center of the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee and includes some of the most sought after—and expensive—vintage cars in the world.

Grill of a 1952 Lancia B52 Aurelia PF200 Spider

Curated by renowned car journalist Ken Gross, the collection includes such gems as the Fiat 8V Supersonic, the Chrysler Ghia Gilda (yes, an Italian designed it), and, most impressively, the Alfa Romeo Bat 5, 7, and 9, concept cars whose swooping tails and ultra-futuristic lines define the entire era. The book features gorgeous photographs of each vehicle’s body, engine, and interior, as well as a brief history on why the car was selected. With the help of Robert Cumberford, design editor of Automotive magazine, and veteran car journalist Winston Goodfellow, the book is a bold look into the automotive industry’s golden era.

1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero

Bellissima!: The Italian Automative Renaissance is available for purchase here.

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written by Agnes Lizaso