The Amazing Cars Of Aldo Brovarone
It's fair to say that 2020 isn't likely to be a year most of us will fondly remember. Among all the precious people and things we lost that year, there's Aldo Brovarone, the Gentleman of Car Design.
During his long career at Pininfarina, Brovarone styled some of the most beautiful cars of all time. Still, hardly anyone knew that outside of the company until the late 1990s, when historians and collectors discovered his outstanding contribution to the world of car design. This is the story of the great master Aldo Brovarone.
Aldo Brovarone was born near the city of Biella in northwestern Italy on June 24, 1926. He showed an impressive artistic talent at an early age and, like many others in those days, was fascinated by airplanes and dreamed of becoming a pilot but then settled for more mundane studies that were interrupted by World War II.
After surviving deportation to a forced labor camp in Poland, Brovarone, like many Italians before him, emigrated to Argentina to seek better fortune. There, he was hired by the Italian entrepreneur Piero Dusio, the patron of Cisitalia, who was starting a new automobile company called "Autoar," that could count on president Juan Peròn's backing.
However, the venture wasn't a success, and Brovarone returned to Italy in 1952, where he was hired at Pininfarina. The first automobile he designed for the Turinese firm was the Maserati A6 GCS, and boy, what an auspicious start that was... I've had the pleasure of seeing one of the four cars built at Villa d'Este in 2014, and it's a genuinely gorgeous machine.
In those days, automobile design was strongly influenced by the American industry and its fascination with jet aircraft and rockets. So it shouldn't surprise that Brovarone's following design for Pininfarina looked like it could have been from Detroit rather than Turin.
The 1956 Super Flow was based on an old race car chassis from Alfa Romeo, the 3000 CM. Its lenticular shape and deep side scallop anticipated the design of the legendary Spider "Duetto," presented ten years later in 1966.
Aldo Brovarone further refined the lenticular design theme for the spectacular Ferrari Superamerica II, presented in 1960. Although it remained a one-off, its general design language inspired many subsequent Ferrari models, up until and including the 365 GT 2+2, yet another Brovarone masterpiece.
But Aldo Brovarone's most outstanding achievement must undoubtedly be considered the Dino Berlinetta Speciale, first presented at the 1965 Paris Motor Show. That original prototype, sold at auction for over four million in 2017, is an automobile design landmark: the forerunner of the much-loved Dino 206 and 246 series produced between 1967 and '74. Based on the Dino 206 mid-engined racing car, its extreme proportions and voluptuous curves keep stirring the soul of enthusiasts even sixty years on. No wonder the old master often indicated it as his personal favorite.
But my personal favorite from Aldo Brovarone's back catalog is, without a doubt, the Lancia Gamma Coupé. Perhaps one of the most elegant, gentlemanly cars ever made, it's a real pity that just over 6000 units found buyers in the period.
Aldo Brovarone remained faithful to Pininfarina his whole career, and it's fair to say he ended it on a very, very high note: his last project was the legendary Ferrari F40. Starting from the GTO "Evoluzione" prototype made by Ferrari's trusted coachbuilder, Scaglietti, Brovarone cleaned up the lines and gave the F40 its purposeful front look and iconic integrated rear spoiler.
He continued to live in Turin, producing beautiful illustrations and participating in high-profile classic car events, always with the same cheerful attitude and endearing smile.