Fiat Barchetta

 

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The other day I was following a Fiat Barchetta and was reminded of what a pretty and glamorous little car this particular Fiat was. It was in metallic grey with an open burgundy roof. It was in fantastic condition, gleaming chrome and clean paint, with its hood down, wind blowing through the driver’s hair it looked very cool.

There is a growing trend amongst classic car magazines to try to predict those cars that will be future collectibles, that unlike regular vehicles will either hold or  increase their value over a period of time. For me the smart thing to do would be buy a low mileage, well maintained Fiat Barchetta, mothball it, as I have a hunch that this car may well become one such vehicle – a classic.

As someone keen on the evolution of trade marks the “Barchetta” is somewhat enigmatic. Simply in Italian “Barchetta” is a way of saying small boat. Giovanni Canestrini the Editor of “La Gazzetta dell Sport” is credited with the origin of the name in the 1940’s. Initially in the name was used by Ferrari, Maserati and the lesser known manufacturer, Moretti, who all produced open top race cars.

In 1948 and 1949 a Ferrari 166MM – based on the earlier competition Barchetta called the 166S of which only 39 were made – won the Mille Miglia, the endurance race set in Northern Italy which ran from 1927 to 1957 – only being halted by War.

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In 1966 Abarth produced the 1000SP Barchetta – a track success. In 1991 Maserati produced seventeen Barchettas for the track. In 2001 Ferrari released their stunning 550 Barchetta Pininfarina to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the stellar – now Mahindra owned – Turinese design house.

Whilst this extensive use of a distinctive name would be manna from Heaven for the trade-mark lawyers I suspect the fact that the majority of the dramatis personae in this particular performance were either owned or co-owned by the Turin giant “Fiat” is probably the simplest answer to the lack of any dispute.

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Using the project name “Tipo B Spider 176” between 1990-94 Fiat’s in house Centro Stile team comprising primarily Andreas Zapatistas, Alessandro Cavazza and Peter Barrett Davis conceived and developed the Fiat Barchetta. With a 1,747 cc DHOC petrol engine it was based on the chassis of Fiat’s Mark 1 Punto.

It was first released in February 1995 and is classically Italian in styling. It draws from both the Fiat 124 – see our earlier posts on this iconic sports car –  Fiat 124 Sport Spider – a re-imagined icon   – and the earlier Ferrari 166MM.

Production ceased in  June 2005 with a final production run of around 57,700 cars.

So, back to my suggestion of an investment in this beautiful Italian sports car. A simple but limited search on the internet shows that low mileage examples – under 100,000 Kms – particularly LHD – currently go from around €3,000 to €5,000.

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Images – with grateful thanks – courtesy of Sylvia Druet, Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler SpA.

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Philippe Starck

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Whilst a designer cannot be defined by one of their designs, Phillipe Starck’s “Juicy Salif” is definitive of an era when form and function were not mutually incompatible but certainly pushed boundaries. It’s designer has proved to be one of the most versatile and influential on an entire generation – or two – of consumers.

As many readers will know, I used to live and work in Paris in the early 1980’s for an international law firm housed on the Champs Elysees. I was intoxicated by Paris but it was not all Pastis and Gitanes. I knew of the young Parisien designer, Phillipe Starck, who had been appointed as Art Director to the furniture business of the House of Pierre Cardin, a client of the firms, but couldn’t have anticipated his impact on my World.

Starck was born 18th January 1949, after studying at the prestigious product and interior design École Camondo on Paris’ Left Bank, he worked for Adidas and founded his own design business Starck Design/Ubik. This led to his work with Alessi – see our previous post on the power house of Italian Design  – Alessi Bollitore kettle  in 1990, Starck designed the Juicy Salif for Alessi.

It is said that the idea came to Starck whilst having lunch on the Amalfi coast. He realised that his plate of calamari hadn’t been dressed by lemon juice and had an idea. He scribbled some thoughts onto a napkin that is now preserved at the Alessi Museum. Some say that the Juicy Salif is a triumph of form over function in that it’s said it doesn’t work that well …. for Starck, he is rumoured to have said: “It’s not meant to squeeze lemons, it is meant to start conversations.”

Early projects included the refurbishment of the interior of newly elected President Mitterand’s apartment at the Elysee Palace, followed by the interior design of the iconic Cafe Costes in Paris in 1984, for brothers Jean-Louis and Gilbert Costes, a design which included the now celebrated leather and bent-wood, Costes Chair.

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By the late 1980s Starck was designing environmentally sensitive buildings in Japan including the 1989 “Nani, Nani” and in 1990 the Asahi Beer Hall in Tokyo.

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The late 1990’s into the new Millenium saw Starck heavily involved in the revitalization of the hotel sector with signature projects in New York with Ian Shrager’s “Paramount”

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The Delano in Miami and in London, The Sanderson. The latter is sympathetically based in the Grade II listed 1950’s Reginald Uren’s designed building at 50, Berners Street, London W1 that until 1992 housed the showrooms of Arthur Sanderson’s fabric business deep in London’s Rag Trade area.

Starck interest in things nautical has led to commissions to design some of the world’s most stunning yachts including two “A” motor and sailing yachts for Russian Billionaire, Andrey Melnichenko.

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Starck’s more recent work has involved designing four e-bikes in partnership with Mousthache Bikes, customized to the environment of use including snow and sand….

and the Pibal cycle for the City of Bordeaux.
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UK TV viewers may recall the 2009 BBC2 series fronted by Starck “Design For Life” reality TV show. Over a number of weeks selected Design Students were encouraged – and sometimes railed on by the Gallic Starck – to revive an English passion for design. The weakest were iliminated and the winner was given a six month placement at Starck’s Paris office. Arriving on set with his wife riding pillion on his motor bike, Starck clearly engaged with a UK audience. A fluent English speaker, you were left wondering whether his elaborate pronunciation was part of an act. Excellent TV, but it didn’t make a second series.

Would you like to add a Juicy Salif to your kitchen? If so, click on the Amazon link below the image of the Juicy Salif

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Alessi Juicy Salif Citrus Juicer

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – Starck Network, Moustache Bikes and Alessi

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Alfa Romeo 1300 Duetto – For Sale

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Many of us will dream of owning a Sunday Car – a preferred classic car – that can be enjoyed in the right climate but for a limited amount of time. The aim is not to add materially to the mileage whilst ensuring that it works well when needed with  minimal trips to the mechanic. The dream is for you and your nearest to enjoy, pose a little, relax and breathe.

One of my clear favourites in this precise category is the Alfa Romeo 1300 convertible. I have celebrated this wonderful vehicle on several occasions in the columns of Aestheticons. Please click on the highlighted following links to read our previous posts – Alfa Romeo Spider and Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

The difficulty for many of our UK based readers is the availability of good stock of this beautiful car in Right Hand Drive. Well here’s a potential solution.

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The guys at the amazing Swiss-run curation site – in a nutshell comprising classic cars and associated lifestyle – Classic Driver –  Classic Driver – are busy celebrating their 20th anniversary with 20 Limited Edition Aston Martin DB11! Yes they launched in 1998 on the internet, geez I have shoes older –  Church’s Brogues . They are also currently running a campaign for an auction to take place on 7th July 2018 and by Historics at Brooklands. One particular vehicle to feature at this sale is a red – is there any other colour – 1970 Alfa Romeo 1300 – Alfa 1300 Convertible  – It carries a guide price/estimate of between £22,000 – £27,000. My feeling, whilst I am rubblish at valuations, is that looks like a particularly good sweet spot to kick off the innumerable pleasures of owning a classic car and enjoying classic motoring.

As many will know the Brooklands Museum is a venue particularly close to my heart – please see my previous post Mike Hawthorn – 1958 Formula One World Champion.

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This charming example of the Alfa Romeo Duetto is a right hand drive version and pre-dates the rather challenging era of added rubber bumpers that, in my view, detrimentally affected the aesthetics of this wonderful car in later models.

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STOPPRESS – Don’t know if you have yet had a chance to look at the listings for the Historics at Brooklands auction on 7th July 2018? A deeper study of what’s on offer has disclosed another classic Alfa Romeo – this time a left hooker – with an estimated value at between £50,000 to £60,000. A 1290cc 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta – simply one of the most stunning Alfas ever made.

 

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Image credits – with grateful thanks – Classic Driver and Historics at Brooklands https://www.historics.co.uk

 

Hubert de Givenchy

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Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy founded his eponymous haute couturier business in Paris in 1952 having previously worked alongside Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior.  His elder brother, Jean-Claude, became President of Parfums Givenchy with early fragrances being developed for Hubert’s muse, Audrey Hepburn, for whom he designed an iconic black dress worn beautifully in “Breakfast at Tiffanys”.

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The brothers – I suspect reluctantly – divided the House of Givenchy in 1981, with the perfume business going to Veuve Clicquot and, in 1989, fashion going to the staggeringly successful LMVH business. LMVH subsequently acquired Parfums Givenchy.

An elegant and tall M de Givenchy with piercing blue eyes was very noble. I am proud to say that I played a very small role in the dramatic personae of his iconic business in the early 1980s.

In 1980 I moved to Paris. I had read Clive Davis book on working at CBS and was enraptured with the idea of working with such an exciting American company. CBS’ European HQ was in Paris, a city that I have always adored. My hopes of working with this giant in the communications market were dashed but later history would complete that particular circle.

Ok so I was in Paris, I had a law degree and a couple of phone numbers. A friend from college had a brother who was a partner at a Law Firm on the Champs Elysees upstairs from what was the Bank of America and Monoprix supermarket that subsequently housed a Virgin Megastore. To my remarkable good fortune I was given a job with the firm.

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The firm’s roots were deep in old French aristocratic families and they specialized in representing couturier clients – many of whom became “brands”. There I met the people including Pierre Cardin, the master of brand licensing, Karl Largerfeld, who then worked for Chloe and brothers, Hubert and Jean-Claude De Givenchy.

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Hubert’s “atelier” was on Avenue Georges V – where th boss always wore a white lab-coat – for this impressionable 21 year old it was an Aladdin’s Cave. A heady combination of barely-dressed, striking models, celebrity clientele and the high art of French fashion design with wonderful fabrics.

Knowing my appreciation of his working environment, on the smallest pretense his team would call me over from the Law Firm’s office to his atelier just to lap up the atmosphere!

The firm employed me as a “Stagiere” – akin to a para-legal – that combined translating documents, standing in queues at the Company’s Registry, seeking signatures of clients to a variety of agreements, catching white Pugeot 504 taxis in the Spring sunshine on the Quai Dorsey and, almost every Friday, eating remarkably good Cuz cuz Royale in the Moroccan restaurant on Rue de La Boetie.

Ever encouraging I spent a lot of time assisting Hubert with legal matters. I was very touched as my “Stagiere” contract approached its end, Hubert called me to his office, said some very kind things and presented me with a huge bottle of his signature Givenchy “For Gentlemen”.

I was very sad to hear it announced that Hubert de Givenchy had passed away on 10th March 2018. He was a hugely talented designer, very charming and massively inspirational.

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Photo credit – with grateful thanks – Rex Features, LMVH.

 

 

 

Fernet-Branca & Friends

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There are several iconic Northern Italian drinks that are seeing huge increases in their popularity. Why? Because they are splendid and have memorable, even overwhelming, flavours.

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Campari – please see our previous post here – Campari  – is a favourite and when mixed with soda or orange juice it becomes a excellent pre-dinner long-drink. The taste can best be described as “bitter” in a wonderfully flavorsome way almost perfumed. Like so many of its contemporaries the recipe for Campari is a closely guarded secret.

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Why not add this cool T shirt featuring Leonetto Cappiello’s iconic Campari vintage advertising image. Minty Tees Men’s Classic Bitter Campari XXXX-Large Maroon

A drink has been seen recently to challenge Campari’s position. This upstart is Aperol and is only fractionally younger than Campari. It was first offered in 1919 by the Barbieri company in Padua. Post WW11 it became very successful and was “rediscovered” recently by the international market.

It is now made by Campari and whilst it may be seen as competitive, Aperol is less bitter and beats the relatively low alcohol Campari on alcohol content. Depending on where it is purchased Aperol’s content various from 11% in its home market and 15% in Germany.

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Why not try a delicious Aperol? Click the following AMAZON link Aperol Aperitivo, 70 cl

Aperol Spritz is a favourite was of serving this refereshing drink as an aperitif. It comprises 6cl Prosecco, 4cl of Aperol Spritz and a splash of soda water.

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Why not try these pre-mixed Aperol & Sodas by clicking the following AMAZON link Aperol Soda (6 x125ml)

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Served as after-dinner “digestifs” the recent trend is for those drinks that take their flavours from infused herbs and are often described either as an Amaro (literally Italian for “bitter”). For me, the best of these, is that was launched by Bernardino Branca in Milan in 1845 and known as “Fernet-Branca” which led to the founding of the Fratelli Branca Distillerie.

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We know that the recipe of Fernet-Branca aromatic spirit is an industrial secret handed down through the generations – its currently known by Fernet-Branca’s President, Niccolò Branca – the but its thought that its 27 herbs and other ingredients consist of myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, aloe and saffron based on a distilled grape spirit. It has a reasonably high alcohol content at 39%

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Fernet-Branca is used in several cocktails including a “Toronto” – Canadian whisky, Fernet-Branca, angostura bitters, and sugar syrup and a “Hanky Panky” – developed by The Savoy Hotel legendary bartender, Ada Coleman – comprising 1/2 Italian Vermouth, 1/2 Dry Gin and 2 dashes Fernet Branca. Stir and garnish with orange peel. In Argentina, partly as a result of the number of Italian emigres post WW11 and partly because Fernet-Branca’s concentrated marketing effort there, the mix of Fernet-Branca and Coca-cola – known as “Fernet con Cola” – continues to be very popular.

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If you’d like to enjoy this fine Italian digestif please click the following link to buy a bottle of Fernet-Branca on AMAZON  Fernet Branca, 70cl 

I must confess – I don’t know what it is – but there is an essential combination of almost magical ingredients with Fernet-Branca that creates an elixir that has the most soothing effect on an over-burdened digestion. I am no Doctor but hugely recommend Fernet-Branca. Then again, I do tend to buy into those products that demonstrate certain claims which are extensively tested over the long-term.

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Images courtesy of Davide Campari Milan SpA. and Fratelli Branca Distillerie.

 

 

Lancia Fulvia Coupé

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There are several well known, even iconic brands, particularly in the automobile and fashion businesses, that having been subsumed into larger acquirers and, subsequently, shelved. A good example of this is Lancia, now part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Italy) conglomerate.

Their most recent car, the Lancia Ypsilon – based on the Fiat 500 platform – was re-branded in 2014 for the UK and Irish markets as a Chrysler. In 2017, it was announced that the Chrysler brand would no longer be used in the UK and Irish markets! It seems unlikely that the Lancia brand will be revived – which is a great tragedy.

I guess there’s a “dirt sticks” argument to the demise of Lancia for a UK audience. In the late 1980’s the Lancia Beta suffered greatly from sub-frame rust and corrosion issues so much so that they had to be repurchased by the company from disgruntled owners. Lancia withdrew from the right-hand drive market in 1994 selling their last model, the Lancia Delta, in 1995.

There have been some trophies among the mire, with a wealth of rally success but one particularly fine road going example is the iconic Lancia Fulvia Coupé.

Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili was founded in Turin in 1906 by former Fiat racing drivers, Vincenzo Lancia and Claudio Fogolin. The first Lancia was appropriately called “Alfa” and was produced between 1907 to 1908. Following Vincenzo’s death in 1937 his wife and son poached one of Alfa Romeo’s designers, Vittorio Jano, who oversaw a period of great innovation, including hydraulic dampers, five speed gearboxes, V4, V6 and V8 engines. Early vehicles were virtually handmade.

The business was sold to Fiat in October 1969 and there followed an era when Lancia’s claim to fame was in World Rallying.

The Lancia Fulvia was produced between 1963 and 1976 following its launch to great applause at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show.

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Like its predecessor the Aurelia, it took its name from a Roman Road; the via Fulvia being that stretch that ran between Tortona to Turin.

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The Fulvia was available as a Berlina (saloon) 4-door saloon – as above – (in 1972 as a V4 version), a 2-door Coupé, and Sport. Ugo Zogato’s team also designed and built a fastback coupé – based on the Coupé’s floorpan – and, in 1968, a prototype Zagato Sport Spider that debuted at the 1968 Turin Motor Show.

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The Fulvia Coupé was a compact two-seater coupé was initially equipped with a 1216 cc engine, delivering 80 bhp at 6000 rpm, this was gradually enlarged to a 1534 cc engine delivering 132 bhp. Designed by Lancia’s in-house designer, Piero Castagnero, the Fulvia had a shorter wheelbase than the Berlina and it was the last Fulvia model to be discontinued. It was replaced by the ill-fated Lancia Beta Coupé in 1977.

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In 1971 the Lancia Fulvia Coupé Series II Coupé had a 1298 cc engine producing 90 hp (67 kW) at 6000 rpm. A special celebratory model was released in 1972 to celebrate Lancia’s Montecarlo Rally victory that year. An update Series 2 Coupe – becoming the Coupé 3 – was introduced in 1974 .

In 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Fulvia name was re-imagined in a concept from the Centro Stile Lancia headed by Flavio Manzoni. Sadly, the new Fulvia Coupé, with its distinctive brown leather interior, didn’t progress past prototype.

Lancia Fulvia 2003 Concept

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As Lancia Fulvia Coupe’s are increasing in value – may be you’d be happy to settle of a desk top but loyal die-cast model? Please click the Amazon link after the image.

There’s a choice – a red Lancia Fulvia Coupe in rally livery – please click the Amazon link below the image

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Lancia Fulvia Coupe Hf Rally Car Lampinen Andreasson 1/43Rd No1 Type Y0675J

Or in a beautiful dark blue – please click the Amazon link below the image

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BEST MODEL BT9645 LANCIA FULVIA COUPE’ 1300S 1967 DARK BLUE 1:43 DIE CAST MODEL

Do you have any Old Italian Legends in your life? If so this is the perfect long sleeved T shirt for them! Click the Amazon link below the image 

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 Teesandengines Men’s LANCIA FULVIA COUPE Grey Long Sleeved T-shirt Size Medium

Or the short sleeved version – for the Spring and Summer! Please click on the Amazon link below the image.

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TEESANDENGINES Men’s Lancia FULVIA Coupe 1972 Italian Grey T-Shirt Size XXXXLarge

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Images courtesy of Lancia