Known for being one of the first seven automotive designs honored by New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Cisitalia 202 has long since epitomized the pinnacle of Italian design. It was also a revolutionary exercise in style, as the fenders, headlights and hood were all integrated into one smooth, flowing shape. While the 202 is the most well known of the Cisitalias, its successor wasn't as famous. Based on Fiat 1100 mechanicals, the 33DF Voloradente, or "low flying" in Italian, was capable of a 105 mph top speed, which was quite a feat for a four cylinder engine at the time. About fourteen or fifteen of these cars were ever produced, with five of them being aluminum bodied. This 33DF for sale in The Netherlands is one of those five.
This car was driven by the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally champion for about 20 years. Only 5 of these aluminum versions were made. When Cisitalia intended to create a successor to their immensely successful 202 series Berlinetta it was not difficult to decide to use the brilliant Fiat 1100 ‘103’ series running gear as a basis for their new concept car. This reliable engine has a rich postwar automotive racing history as it was used in several small capacity competition classes: in saloon car racing and rallying the Fiat 1100 TV showed great potential, in GT and sports car racing it was often the basis of many Italian racing specials constructed by Stanguellini, Cisitalia, Nardi, Moretti and others. Even in the illustrious Formula Junior category it was the technology of choice as applied by Stanguellini, Volpini, Taraschi, OSCA and many other Italian racing car constructors!
As early as 1953 Cisitalia presented this 33DF Volo Radente, which means in translation more or less a 'sharp flight.' It was intended as a ‘Berlinetta da Corsa’ in the small capacity class of the early and mid fifties. Probably not more than 20 examples of various versions were constructed over the years. The responsible designer was Aldo Brovarone. With its small capacity engine it did 170 km/hr, an amazing performance for a comfortable coupe with an engine based on an 1100 cc four cylinder unit! But it was not only the speed that put it in a class of its own, also the brakes and suspension excelled assuring a perfect balance with a very sporty and almost unbeatable road behavior in its class, fully supporting the special name ‘Volo Radente’! The coachwork was quite advanced in 1953 giving ample space and lots of light inside the car using unusually large windows. Some interesting design features of the early Abarth 205/A Berlinetta were incorporated, like the large wrap around rear window, most unusual at that time. The luxurious appointed interior gave the driver and the passenger a feeling of sporty luxury, synonymous for the high quality associated with Cisitalia.
The racy 33DF was followed by the 35DF and finally the more luxurious and less sporty appointed 36 DF of which only a few examples were built before Cisitalia ceased production. Chassis number 00510 has a 1084 cc engine with two downdraft Weber carburetors, linked to the strong Fiat 4 speed gearbox with sporty floor shift. Valves, pistons, camshaft and porting have been reworked. The coachwork is made of all aluminum and also designed by Brovarone. The car is on alloy rimmed Borrani wire wheels and equipped with specially made alloy ventilated drum brakes.
The history of 00510 is fully known since its ‘birth’ and already as early as 1972 the well known 'Automotoclub Storico Italiano' (ASI) registered the car as a historical vehicle. On the early ASI papers the car is described with a total weight of 880 kg, including petrol and spare wheel. At that time it was owned by Felice Marchese of Voghera, Italy, the Rally Monte Carlo winner of 1971. Still on its original ‘black plate’ Italian number plates 326073 Mi chassis number 00510 is one of the very few surviving examples of this historically significant car.
Over the many years of its life it was entered in rally and hill climb competition. Sundry photos and documents show the car as early as 1976 in major Italian and Swiss historic events. The car performed extremely well, often making the magazine and even newspapers headlines. Quite a few original newspaper clippings witness this. Known drivers are Introzzi, Ganoglio and the mentioned Felice Marchese. Mr. Marchese owned the car for several decades, actually until his death. Later the car was the property of Gabriella Marchese and/or the son.
In recent years the car underwent a thorough body-off restoration in Italy. With the preservation of the original details the car was restored with great care and can now be considered to be one of the very few remaining 33DF’s in the world, ready for about any historic automobile event in the world, including the Mille Miglia where it will be a serious contender, feeling perfectly at home on the straights and on the twisty mountain roads! Asking price €190,000
Any time a manufacturer gets one of its cars exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, you know it's going to reflect favorably on the brand. Add into that the rarity factor we have going on here, and you have a car worth more than some of the priciest Abarths out there. This very Cisitalia was sold last year at Retromobile for €148,920 and was curiously advertised then as a 1954 model. It appears from my research that in fact it is a 1954 model according to the serial number and that the seller has misadvertised the vehicle. In less than one year, could such an obscure classic appreciate more than €50,000? In this market, probably not.