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Cisitalia was founded in 1946 in Turin, Italy by Piero Dusio, a wealthy industrialist and former professional athelete, who had a passion for amateur car racing. After the end of the War he organized the company to build race cars using mainly Fiat parts. The company name comes from Consorzio Industriale Sportive Italia.
The first cars built were monoposto racing cars named the D46 which enjoyed some initial success and became the basis for the company?s successful model, the 202 road car.
Cisitalia went on to develop a mid-engined, four-wheel drive formula one car, designed by Ferry Porsche. This used a 1.5-litre flat-12 supercharged engine with 450bhp! This project, along with others including a large five-seater car and a tractor, ultimately caused the financial downfall of the company, which entered receivership in 1949. It continued to produce and develop cars until about 1952.
The first exhibit of automobiles as works of art in a museum occurred in New Tork City in 1951, at the Museum of Modern Art. This landmark exhibt, called simply "Eight Automobiles," was the beginning of interpreting the automobile as more than transportation. Included among the curators' choice of the eight finest cars ever built was a Cistalia. Many automobile historians and designers consider the Cisitalia to be one of the most beautiful cars ever conceived.
The Model D46 Cisitalia was designed by former Fiat engineer Giacoso. About 40 cars were built during 1946 and 1947.
The Model 202 was introduced at the Italian Grand Prix in 1947 to much acclaim for its styling. The 2-passenger coupe, originally designed by Pinin Farina and reworked by Vignale, was based on the D46 spaceframe chassis and used primarily Fiat suspension with a transverse leaf spring and lower wishbones at the front, with a live axle and longitudinal leafsprings at the rear.
The Fiat 1100 engine was reconfigured to use twin Weber carburetors and had an output of 60 horsepower.
Variations of the 202 were also built including the 202 MM (Mille Miglia) competion car designed by Vignale at Stabilimento Farina. Vignale also designed and built a sider version badged the 202SC. The coupe version was known as the Gran Sport. At total of about 153 cars were made.