A red 1953 Cadillac coupe, once owned by the star Rita Hayworth, is just one of many iconic cars at an exhibition in Los Angeles to celebrate masterpieces of Italian design.
Among them is the 1959 Ferrari 400 Superamerica and the 1970 Maserati Quattroporte which used to belong to the King of Spain.
The Quattroporte was designed by Pietro Frua, considered to be one of Italy’s most talented designers in the 1960s.
Motoring journalist Matt Stone drooled: “What does it for most people are the curvaceous and powerful lines of most Italian cars. You just look at them and they scream speed and have those wonderful organic shapes and they just look sporty, and they feel sporty, and most of them sound sporty, and they’re a lot of fun to drive.”
The curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum, Leslie Kendall, said he took great pleasure in putting the exhibition together.
“The Italian style is identified by a certain concision (sic), a certain economy of line, a certain rational beauty that it has almost muscular looking, like the body, it’s almost shrunk wrap around the internal components of the cars. It’s very lithe and it doesn’t have as much adornment as others.”
The 1947 Cisitalia 202 Coupe by Pininfarina became the first car to go into New York’s Museum of Modern Art collection.
Kendall explained: “This is the very car that blazed new styling trails after World War II. It’s the one that had more influence on the styling of vehicles and the shape of the automobile than any other before really, or since.”
The Fiat Supersonic sold for nearly 1.4 million euros at an auction in the US in January 2011.
There are two on display from Alfa Romeo.
The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa has been sold for 13 million euros. The car’s original body was designed by Sergio Scaglietti.
Also on show, the DeLorean DMC-12 – arguably the main star in the movie ‘Back to the Future’.
The 1970 Lancia Stratos concept triangular car changed the shape of mid-engined exotic cars. The design house Bertone dreamed up the Stratos Zero without traditional doors. The driver has to open up the windscreen in order to get in.
The exhibition runs until February 2013.