FCA Heritage will join Grand Basel later this week with an Alfa Romeo 1900 from the museum which it will show alongside the anticipated Gio Ponti “Diamond Line” realisation to reflect that this innovative project was based on the dimensions of this sedan.
From this coming Thursday to Sunday (6-9 September) a new international exhibition combining automotive design and contemporary art will be taking place in Switzerland. Grand Basel will present cars in art, design, architecture and lifestyle contexts.
It will be a global motor show displaying prestigious collectibles from the past and present – and so in keeping with the spirit of FCA Heritage, the organisation responsible for fostering and promoting the history of the company.
FCA Heritage will be taking an Alfa Romeo 1900 picked from the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese. The car will be on display alongside a three-dimensional 1:1 scale model of the car designed by Giò Ponti in 1953 that has never been seen before.
The famous Italian architect created a futuristic car, inspired by the "Diamond Line" style concept interpreted by Ponti in product design and architecture, the most famous example of which is the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan. The car was imagined but never came into fruition.
Ponti based the project on the measurements of the Alfa Romeo 1900 sedan. The original drawings were transposed into a three-dimensional model by Head of FCA Heritage Roberto Giolito.
Alfa Romeo 1900 (1950)
The sports saloon concept originated back in 1950 with the 1900. Alfa Romeo's first car built entirely on a production line, it was also the first to be designed according to industrial criteria, including the monocoque, and the first with a four-cylinder engine developed for mass production.
The most significant features of the 1900 are its dynamic capabilities. Speed, road holding, handling and active safety made it the first high-performance three-box saloon, features that had previously been reserved for true sports cars (in the bodywork configuration) and higher segment models. Real sports performance in a family car was an innovative idea at that time, in a market that was heading towards major expansion.
The 1900 collected numerous racing victories, including a coveted first place in its category at the Mexican Carrera Panamericana in 1954, hence the famous "The family car that wins races" advertising tag line.
In the mid-1950s it became the first "Panther" Flying Squad car of the Italian State Police, which was modernising its fleet with the addition of high-performance vehicles to lead the fight against crime. Interestingly, from then on, all Alfa Romeo models would be used as police cars.
Photos: Grand Basel 2018