What does James bond have in common with the coachbuild company Carrozzeria Touring superleggera based in Italy? A journey in the history of the company, which celabrates its 90th birthday this year.
“Superleggera” means “Super light” and already the sound of this Italian syllables imparts lightness and elegance. Banchi Anderloni and Gaetano Ponzoni Carrozeria touring Milanese company founded in March 1926. Bianchi Anderloni was a pure technician. He previously worked for Isotta Fraschini as a test driver and later with Peugeot Italia as a mechanic. At Touring he assumed the position of the designer and constructor, while Pamarthi, former lawyer, looked after the administrative tasks. They had taken over the long-standing company Carrozeria Falco by Vittorio Ascar and initially focused on the establishment of bodies on the raw chassis for Alfa Romeo, Citroen and Isotta Fraschini. The proximity to the production facilities of the company and the relationship between Anderloni and Cesare Isotta and Fraschini Vinzenzo surely played a role. The order situation was good from the outset and the hunting wagons for Princess Margaret of England were one of the first projects.
But Anderloni had higher goals. The Carrozzeria Touring should specifically specialize in the body design, in respect to weight and aerodynamics, according to the motto: the greatest enemy is the weight, the greatest friend the aerodynamics. Anderloni wanted to reduce the design to a minimum of the weight of the vehicles – the initial impetus for establishing the brand Superleggera. Anderloni acquired the license to the technology by Charles Terres Weymann, a pilot and designer who redesigned the frame technique of lightweight aircraft for automotive purposes. Weymann reduced the weight of steel car bodies, which at that time were attached to a heavy timber frame with nails by lighter filigree frames, covered with a parchment leather skin . So weight was saved – with the caveat that the leather dried out and became brittle. Touring worked on improving these techniques and repeatedly focused on the development of the plane frames idea. Anderloni tested new materials and techniques.
In 1937 it was ready. The first vehicle built on the Superleggera system, the Alfa Romeo 8 C 2300 B, driven by Giambattista Guidotti, was to marvel at the start of the Mille Miglia. A frame partly build in wood and partly with thin chrome molybdenum tubing on an Alfa Romeo 2300 chassis. The outer skin was fixed from lightweight aluminum on it. The design of the body shape was streamlined. All body styles were first built in the model 1/10 or 1/15 and tested in a wind tunnel in Milan on aerodynamics. Later, touring was the first Coachbuilding company that had installed a wind tunnel on their own premises. Soon Carrozeria Touring Superleggera had the reputation to build sporty and at the same time stylish vehicles with tapered body. Pininfarina Cadillac Atlanté copied only years later some of the elements of the touring superleggera.
Touring Superleggera has created some very unique and fantastic bodies, for example, for Bristol, Sunbeam, Maserati, Ferrari and Pegaso especially after the 2nd World War. Except for the famous Alfa Romeo “flying Star” Touring there were more outstanding beautiful vehicles, such as for example the Alfa Romeo disco Volante, the Alfa Romeo 6 C 2600 Villa D ´ Este, the Lamborghini 400 GTV or even the flying Star II, some world famous Ferrari, BMW 328 Mille Miglia or also the impressive Pegaso.
One that came in the pleasure to drive one of the indisputably most beautiful creations of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera as a company car was James Bond. The Aston Martin DB5 was the myth of the brand with his legendary performance in “Goldfinger” and certainly is still the most famous bond car of all time.