Every now and then a really interesting car-related old photo turns up. On rare occasions, more than one turns up - or in this case sixteen. Even better, they're of a stunning assortment of mid-1950s motor-cars on display at a prominent international motor show, namely the Turin motor show of 1955. Some of these cars were displayed on just this one occasion, only to return to the shadows of their builder's factory, never to see the light of day again. Others survive to this day. I must say a big Thanks to Greg in the USA who sent me this set of amazing image scans a few years ago. While I could have put each car onto its own page, in the end I decided to group them all together on this single, Turin Motor Show 1955, page, to keep the context of all the separate photographs intact.
This page will be very much "work in progress", and undoubtably more information on the exhibits, and I'm sure the odd correction (!), will be forthcoming as time goes by. I've gone with Greg's identifications of the cars shown in the photos, and will update and amend them as necessary over time. Obviously I welcome contributions from anyone who can shed more light on the cars exhibited.
Firstly though, the story of how Greg stumbled onto this collection completely by accident, at a Sunday flea market in Pennsylvania.
Flea market photo discovery.
"I found them at a regularly-held flea market on the weekly Sunday sale that goes on. There are a few of these markets and "co-ops" within a few miles of each other in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This area has been well known for antiques and "old stuff" for a few decades now. It draws interior designers and collectors down from NYC and nearby Philadelphia, looking for shop inventory and pieces for whatever project or clients they have. Many famous discoveries have been made in this old area of Pennsylvania."
"The photographs were placed loosely on a shelf inside a display case and labelled "old sports car pictures". I've had an interest in old Ferraris and Italian coach builders because of some television shows that cover the auctions where these cars are sold for ridiculous amounts (gets one's attention). I recognized the Maserati A6G Zagato (it says Maserati in large letters on the wall behind it) because I had been looking for a scale model of one for my small collection."
"I knew the red car was a Ferrari but couldn't tell which type. I bought two of the Ferrari and one of the Maserati pics, and started looking into them when I had them at home. It was obvious they were from a car show, and the era of the Zagato car helped narrow it down. I went back TWO WEEKS later and all the others were still there so I bought them all. The Boano Jag was the big clue, as it was only shown in Turin as far as I could determine. The metal bar/barrier in front of that car and the Chrysler next to it could be seen in one other photo I found online with the Chrysler, so the connection was made."
"All the cars in the little archive are interesting, but the "big news" cars from the show are absent; the Lincoln Indianapolis, the Ghia Guilda, and the Alfa BAT 9 concept cars. I wonder if they were picked up by someone before me? What else might have been in there? I have to laugh at myself for being able to figure out what the rare coachbuilt cars were (Allemano Maserati!?) but not having a clue what the most mundane looking car of the group might be!"
1. Alfa Romeo Guilietta Spider, Sprint, and Berlinetta.
First image is a high-up view of the Alfa Romeo stand. In the foreground is a delectable Giulietta Spider, while
behind it is a tin-top Sprint, and behind that a four-door Berlinetta. I'm curious about the vehicle just visible in the
distance. It appears to be a three-wheeler, but what is it?
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size images.)
2. BMW 503.
To Germany now and a convertible BMW 503. In all, 413 examples of the 503 coupe and convertible were produced between 1956 and 1959. A BMW 502 saloon can just be seen in the background, as can a couple of vehicles from rivals Mercedes-Benz.
The Boano Carrosserie Turin stand had a couple of interesting exhibits. To the left is their take on Jaguar's XK140 sports-car, while alongside it is the Chrysler (Boano) Special Corsair II, an experimental coupe that utilised a Nardi chassis, and the Chrysler V8 "Firepower" engine.
4. Delahaye 235 by Guillore.
A visitor to OCC identified this striking machine as a Delahaye 235, with coachwork by French coachbuilder Alphonse Guillore. It's a classic motor show scene, with manufacturer signs hanging from the ceiling away into the distance. Manufacturers represented at Turin in 1955 included
Peugeot, Talbot, Facel Vega, Fiat, Daimler, Bentley, Rover, Lincoln, Simca (Aronde) and Studebaker, as the signs attest to.
5. Ferrari 250 Europa GT.
Two photographs of a 250 Europa GT, the first from alongside the two-door coupe, the second from the passenger front corner. Coachwork is by Pinin Farina.
6. Ferrari 250 MM GT Berlinetta (Pininfarina).
Whoever took these photos was clearly a fan of the prancing horse, as there are four photos of the next car, the unique 250 MM GT Berlinetta. This one-off was a Pininfarina creation, powered by Ferrari's fabled V12 powerplant.
7. Jaguar XK140 by Ghia.
Boano's interpretation of Jaguar's XK140 wasn't the only re-bodied XK to be found at Turin in 1955. Ghia had also been to work on the classic XK, and the results are quite easy on the eye I think. A standard car can be seen alongside, was this on Jaguar's own stand? A fixed-head XK can just be seen over to the left of shot, alongside the roadster. The Ghia car survives to this day, albeit in a two-tone (cream/black) colour scheme.
8. Maserati A6G 2000 (Zagato).
This stunning car is a Zagato-bodied A6G 2000 Maserati from 1955. Note the distinctive wire wheels with (relatively) very few spokes.
9. Maserati A6G Allemano Coupe.
Here we have a Maserati A6G with bodywork by Allemano Torino.
10. Pegaso Z-102.
The first of two Pegasos caught on film in 1955. This car is a Z-102, a stunning creation although the whitewall tyres, while understandable on a show car, would I suggest be a little OTT for normal use.
11. Pegaso Z-103.
On the same stand, and also equipped with whitewall tyres, is this slightly more restrained Pegaso Z103.
12. Talbot-Lago 2500 Coupe T14 LS.
Last in Greg's amazing photo collection is this side-on view of a Talbot-Lago T14 Coupe. 54 examples were built in total, the first being all-aluminium bodied, the remainder utilising steel.
As more information on these cars comes to light, I'll update the page accordingly. My thanks once again to Greg for allowing me to share the photos here.
Video footage from 1955.
A quick search online brings up a British Pathe piece on Youtube, that covers the 1955 Turin Automobile Salon: