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						Cisitalia 202 Mm

Cisitalia 202 MM Aerodinamica

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Hemmings

Looking at classic sports cars through the lens of 2021 and beyond, it’s easy to fall into the idea that all the cars have been discovered, sold or documented. But every so often, I come across something that challenges that notion, and today it’s an intriguing aerodynamic coupe built by Cisitalia. The seller provides very little information on the car, and there’s considerably less out there on the web about this storied marque than you’d imagine. But given the car’s sultry lines and interesting price point, we can’t help but dig in further.

Suffice it to say that Cisitalia might be the most interesting manufacturer that most folks have never heard of. There’s more amazing history hiding the further you dig, but for our purposes today, we’ll have to cover things quickly. Cisitalia (signifying Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia) came to be when the wealthy Italian industrialist Piero Dusio hired Dante Giacosa of Fiat to develop a new race car around 1944. Dusio had been an avid racer through the 1930s, and his textile business afforded him funds to invest in the project after the conclusion of World War II. Since Giacosa was still employed by Fiat, it wasn’t surprising that he dove deep into the Fiat parts bin to design Dusio’s first car — a small, single-seater called the D46 that turned the post-war racing world on its head. The four-cylinder engine was based on the Fiat Topolino, but output was up to 60 bhp when displacement was increased to 1,100 cc, and dry-sump lubrication and an Abarth twin-carb manifold were fitted. The custom-built tube chassis used modified Fiat axles and suspension, along with the four-speed transmission and finned drum brakes. So successful was the D46 that Dusio commissioned a two-seat version to be built for 1947, which would come to be known as the 202.

The 202 utilized many of the same space frame principals and extensively modified Fiat mechanicals as the D46, but its diverse and elaborate body styles would earn its place in history for Cisitalia. Dusio had 202 chassis sent to many of Italy’s top coachbuilders, including Pinin Farina, Vignale and Stabilimenti Farina, and indeed, all 170 202s were coachbuilt cars. Pinin Farina’s 1947 202 Coupe would go down in history as an incredible advancement in Post-war automotive design, and was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1951, and another 202 is still part of their permanent collection today. But possibly more exciting are the streamline 202s designed for the Mille Miglia.

From the best accounts out there, five 202s were entered in the 1947 Mille Miglia, all wearing special aerodynamic bodywork penned by Giovanni Savonuzzi and built by Vignale. Two of these cars were coupes, referred to the 202 CMM for Coupe Mille Miglia, and three were 202 SMMs for Spyder Mille Miglia. Legendary Italian driver Tazio Nuvolari piloted one the Spyders, and despite his age and compromised health, Nuvolari lead the race well beyond its halfway point, fending off stiff competition from larger displacement cars. Nuvolari would have to settle for second after his engine ingested water, but his drive was nothing short of miraculous regardless. In honor of his performance, all further 202 MM Spyders were officially called Nuvolari Spyders.

So that was a lot of history, but these are just some of the factors that set the stage for the car we’re looking at today, and also contribute to its murky origins. See this car isn’t a 202 CMM, it seems to be a 202 MM Aerodinamica, which is a bit more compact than the 202 CMM. The issue is that there isn’t any information out there on the Aerodinamica, and I think you’d need find a true marque expert to figure out how this car fits within the 202 lineage compared to the CMM, or if in fact, the Aerodinamica was just a step along the way. Dare I say there’s a chance the car doesn’t really exist at all, it could be homebuilt, as I wasn’t able to track down any other photos of an Aerodinamica aside from the CMM, or a red replica that calls itself a 202 SMM Aerodinamica. But with all the different coachbuilt 202 iterations out there, I don’t think you can discount this car that easily. The mechanicals all seem right, and the car definitely has the right look. The only thing that seems truly out of line is the interior, which lacks Cisitalia fit and finish, and the telltale steering wheel and amber knobs used on most of the other 202s I’ve seen.

Unfortunately I don’t have a definitive answer on the subject, but I want to leave you with an exciting possible explanation for the car. I stumbled upon an article from 2017 that talks about a 1948 Cisitalia 202 MM Aerodinamica, a car that I believe is this exact car. The article summarizes that this car is chassis No. 202/4, which was assembled by Savonuzzi himself after the ’47 Mille Miglia as a 202 MM prototype. The story alleges that Savonuzzi left Cisitalia before the car was completed, and the car was later purchased and raced by a fellow through the 1960s. Now that’s a lot to take in, and hinges on whether this is indeed the same car, and whether or not another 202/4 is accounted for — that’s where I’m hoping one of you can chime in.

The asking price of $485,000 seems on the fair side of reasonable if it is indeed a real 202, even more so if it's some sort of Mille Miglia prototype. What gives me hope for a conclusion is that the seller claims to have full documentation on the car, which hopefully includes some sort of smoking gun. We're actually so intrigued that we reached out to the seller to try to get the scoop, so keep your fingers crossed!

See the Cisitalia 202 MM Aerodinamica here on Hemmings Classifieds.

Looking for more on the storied Cisitalia marque? U.S.-based Duncan Entertainment Group will be debuting a documentary covering the cars and personalities that made Cisitalia in the first season of their series Magnificent Madness. A preview and more information can be found here at magnificentmadness.com.

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