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The role of the Carrozzeria

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by thecarnut, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
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    For some time I have been wondering just how much of a GT car’s construction was done by the Carrozzeria (Touring, Vignale, Ghia, Bertone, etc) versus Maserati in Modena.

    I will start this thread with a bunch of questions and perhaps people can add answers with documents and/or photos to back up the claim.

    Let’s take a 3500GT Touring coupe as an example.

    - The 3500GT chassis was designed by Maserati but who actually built them?
    - How did the chassis get delivered to Carrozzeria Touring in Milan ? (train?)
    - In addition to the body panels, did Touring make all the trim pieces (bumpers, grill, etc)?
    - Were the cars painted at Touring or at Maserati?
    - Who made the interior …. Touring or Maserati?
    - To what level of completion was the body delivered to Maserati? (was the interior already installed?). If the interior was already installed then that would imply that Touring also had to install the electrical harness since that needs to be done before the interior.
    - How was the completed body transported from Milan to Modena? I assume the engine and suspension were installed in Modena therefore the bodies would have to be in some sort of dolly (any photos of this?) for transportation.

    Ivan
     
  2. Azul

    Azul Karting

    Nov 6, 2011
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    Madrid
    #2 Azul, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Hi Ivan,

    I hope this article from an old Road & Track magazine can answer some of your questions.

    Cheers!

    Alejandro
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  3. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
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    Alejandro,

    Great article ... this is exactly what I was looking for!

    I had heard than in the case of the Mistral, Frua did the design but the construction was done by other companies. This article seems to verify it. For the 3500GT Touring coupes and the 3500GT Vignale spyder I believe those bodies were built at Touring and Vignale.

    It is interesting to see the Mistral body transported in the back of a truck!

    What this article tells us is that a significant portion of the construction did not occur at the Maserati factory. In fact, it looks like the Maserati folks installed the suspension, engine, exhaust and perhaps a few options ... everything else was done by someone else.

    Ivan
     
  4. italiancars

    italiancars F1 Rookie

    Apr 18, 2004
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    For the most part Maseratis have always been parts bin cars, for the most part the only thing they really built was the engine.
     
  5. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
    Consultant

    Mar 4, 2005
    7,805
    Ivan,
    you forget that the Mistral was the first Maserati that was made in a modern production process. It did not have the simple tube-chassis of the 3500GT-derivates anymore which basically was a pure 50s design.

    The Vignale was painted at the Vignale-workshop. Assembly of the mechanics and interior was made by Maserati. Transportation to and from Vignale was by truck. This was possible due to the very limited production-no`s here.

    Although they made much more cars I am pretty sure that Touring had the same production process.

    The chassis of all 3500-derivates was made by Gilco.

    The Mistral monocoque coachwork was made by Maggiora S.p.A. in Moncalieri near Turin. Completion was made by Officine Padane in Modena (they also handled later the Bora and Indy).
     
  6. wilde

    wilde Karting

    Jan 12, 2009
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    France
  7. hanspeterk.

    hanspeterk. Rookie

    Jan 26, 2013
    14
    You can see in the book "Le macchine di Gilberto Colombo" (1993 / Martino Colombo) that Gilco made the frame for the Maserati 101 GT 3500 - and of course for the racing cars like the A 6 GS 2000, A 6 GCS 2000, 300 S, 150 S, 200 S ...
     
  8. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2006
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    Walter,

    Reading the Road and Track description of the Mistral's production process it sure does not sound too modern to me. Heck ... Ford's Model T production process of the 1920's was light years more advanced :)

    Do you have photos of 3500GT Touring and/or Vignale body's as they were delivered to Maserati? Just curious to see if the body had the windshield and chrome pieces attached.

    Were 3500GT bodies delivered one by one in the back of trucks like the Mistral photo? It sure must have been a sight seeing all those bodies in the streets of Modena.

    Ivan
     
  9. fidjeland

    fidjeland Karting

    Aug 6, 2013
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    Ahh.. the April -68 issue of Road & Track is such a great read for all you interested in "real" Maserati cars (older now but new then). Contains a great article on a A6GCS-52 (hmm, old then) written by Karl Ludvigsen, and "tests" of the QP1, Mistral..etc. Available on Ebay if you haven´t already got it. If read my issue to shreds.
    Kind regards,
    Jan
     
  10. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    #10 thecarnut, Aug 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Thanks Jan! Just did a search on ebay and had to get a copy when I saw it also has a Mistral spyder on its cover.

    Ivan
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  11. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    Mar 4, 2005
    7,805
    Ivan,
    the Mistral was the first Maserati that would be made as a monocoque rather than the old ladder-chassis. Therefor its the first "modern" Maserati of all....!
     
  12. ColdWater

    ColdWater Formula Junior

    Aug 19, 2006
    621
    bicoastal USA
    #12 ColdWater, Aug 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Here is a well-known photo from the monograph "Touring Superleggera" by Bianchi Anderloni and Anselmi. I don't own the book, but believe that both Maserati and Lancia delivered 3500GTs and Flaminias to the carrozzeria as platform chassis with engine and drivetrain installed. The superleggera framework and complete bodywork and interior would then be added, and the cars returned to the manufacturer for final testing and quality control. This was standard procedure for many years.

    It makes sense that unibody Mistral would require more complex logistics. Are Mistral engine compartments body color, unlike the Touring-built cars which are generally black ?

    Seeing that R&T cover is a jolt - it was the first edition of that magazine that I purchased, obviously demonstrating an affinity for Maserati from an early age.

    Don
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  13. 3500 GT

    3500 GT Formula 3

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    To my knowledge, this is not how the 3500 GT/T was built. The early cars had the "chassis/frames" built by a specialist company not Gilco. And they differ slightly from the later cars around chassis number 250.

    After the early run of cars, Maserati contracted Gilco, to make the frames chassis to a new design slightly different from the early cars. Gilco, was able to make the chassis more efficiently and timely as production and sales increased.

    The chassis/frames were delivered to Touring by a contractor from Gilco and then Touring built the Superleggera frame work for the body. The body was hand hammered from a wooden buck, and welded together and assembled on the chassis as required.

    The chrome/bright work installed after the body was on the chassis, and each piece was fitted to the specific car, by chassis number. I.E. chassis 345 got chrome bits 345 etc.

    The interior etc. was fitted by Touring, but I'm not sure if the gauges were fitted by Maserati or Touring.

    Many special order cars were fitted to the requests of the owners. Borrani wire wheels, radios, power antennas, special differential, and some with sunroof, possibly by Touring.

    The engines and transmissions were installed at Maserati, by Maserati. Each car engine was tested, inspected by Maserati. Special ordered engines with high performance camshafts, Weber DCOE 12's instead of 8's, Weber carburation instead of Injection was done at Maserati by Maserati, as far as I know.

    The car was then road tested, approved or not approved for delivery to the customer or dealer, and then shipped.

    Or at least that is how I understand the build process.

    I'd be enlightened to hear other comments on the manufacturing process from other members! :)

    ~Ciao and best!
     
  14. PG1964

    PG1964 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2010
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    Torino, Italy
    #14 PG1964, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
    I can't speak for Frua, just for Touring and Vignale.
    These 2 coachbuilders, one closed in December 1966 and the other in November 1969, were pure coachbuilders, not equipped to assembly the mechanical parts on a car. The sections were: scoccheria, verniciatura, cromatura, selleria e tappezzeria, capote, assemblaggio e finitura.
    The completed bodies were delivered by lorries to Modena weekly. In the first period of the production (3500 GT, convertible and Sebring) they could build even 4/5 bodies a day. However it depended on the agreement and the sale contracts, because some customer asked for extra-series details.
     
  15. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    If the coachbuilder was installing the interior I think by necessity they must also be installing the wiring harness since that needs to be done before the interior is installed.

    Ivan
     
  16. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    All of the GT cars had black engine compartments.

    On the right hand side of this photo there appears to be a Flaminia spyder that has its front suspension and tires. Perhaps for some cars Touring was doing more than just the bodies, or perhaps these were rejects sent back from Lancia to get fixed.

    Ivan
     
  17. ColdWater

    ColdWater Formula Junior

    Aug 19, 2006
    621
    bicoastal USA
    The degree of completion of cars in the photo raises doubt about the assertion that engines and transmissions were installed in 3500GTs by Maserati after the bodywork was assembled. I'd like to see some photos or other evidence before accepting that.

    Pre-war and into the 40s and early 50s it was customary for Maserati, Ferrari, Alfa and others to deliver rolling chassis with the engine and drivetrain installed to the coachbuilders, although basic chassis fabrication and other tasks were subcontracted to Gilco and others. It is unlikely that this would have changed for the 3500GT, especially given the traditional scope of Touring and Vignale as Paolo points out. Indeed it was the switch to unibody construction that doomed these traditional coachbuilders, and this is the reason why the engine was installed later in the Mistral (but still prior to fully finishing the coachwork).

    It is unlikely that an efficient, standardized production process would involve shoehorning heavy engines and transmissions into an essentially finished body shell, significantly raising the potential for defects and accidents and making alignments considerably more difficult. To the best of my knowledge Flaminias were delivered to Touring, Pininfarina and Zagato as rolling chassis, and 3500GTs are very similar in construction.

    Don
     
  18. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    In the photo the 3500GT and the Flaminia in the foreground are not rolling chassis. The bodies do not appear to have the suspension and are on a dolly.

    Ivan
     
  19. PG1964

    PG1964 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2010
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    It depends on the producer: Touring installed the front-rear and the trafficator lights on the Flaminia convertibles, but not on the Alfa Romeo spiders 2000/2600.
    Eventually isn't very difficult to get into a tunnel (under the carpet) a cable braid, helping along a cable terminal.
     
  20. PG1964

    PG1964 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2010
    412
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    You have to know that we aren't talking about big producers, but about small coachbuilders. You can't take your stand on a single picture.
    Do you know how many of those cars came back to the coachbuilder because a modification or a damage?
     
  21. VeloceOne

    VeloceOne Karting

    Jul 18, 2007
    87
    For the QP1, it is my understanding that the body was stamped and assembled by an out side company, and then trimmed out by Vignale.

    As far as the engine and trans go, they were installed from underneath on a subframe, so that could be done without incuring damage to a completed body. Regards, Ian
     
  22. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    Totally agree, but Touring made over 2000 coupes for Maserati therefore there must have been some sort of agreed manufacturing process in place.

    Ivan
     
  23. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    I think the QP1 is an exception, on the other models the engine and trans had to be installed from the top. Of course, the Bora is also an exception.

    Ivan
     
  24. thecarnut

    thecarnut Formula 3

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    The wiring harness definitely needs to go in before the interior. Just think about it ... how are you going to wire the dome light after headliner and windshield are in place? Door courtesy lights, window glass, power windows, etc all need to be installed before the door panels.

    I have taken enough of these cars apart, and then put them back together, to know that there are some things that need to be done in a particular sequence.

    Ivan
     
  25. 3500 GT

    3500 GT Formula 3

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    Don, my view it isn't really an assertion. To my knowledge the engine and transmission and drive train components were installed at Maserati by Maserati.

    I have photos that document this.

    If you think about the manufacturing process, it doesn't make sense to have Maserati build the engines at Maserati then ship the engines/gearboxes, final drive to Touring, and then ACTUALLY built the car around the chassis with the engine installed. How do you weld the firewall and fender well covers with the engine/carbs etc. with the engine in place??? And then you have the cars shipped back to Maserati for final testing and assembly????

    I total agree with Ivan R. after taking them apart/restoring and working on them you understand how things were built/assembled/manufactured.

    You have to install the engine/gearbox after the car is built, then install the exhaust system, cooling system, cabin ducting, etc etc etc.

    There is always room for error on my part but, an email to Cozza and or Fabio may be of more help to you.

    Ciao and best!

    ~Trev
     

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