Alfredo Vignale was born in 1913. At the age of 17 he worked for Stabilimenti Farina, then managed by Giovanni Farina, the older brother of Battista "Pinin" Farina.
He became an allround technician and his first steps in coachbuilding started at the age of 33 when he traded an old motorbike for a Fiat Topolino. The rusty coachwork of the Topolino was replaced by an aluminium body. A second body for a Topolino was made and this one got attention from the English 'Autocar' magazine.
In 1948 the Carrozzeria Vignale was founded at Via Cigliano, Turin and became a well known Italian coachbuilding company. Vignale designed and built cars for Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia and many others. For the design he often relied on his friend and former colleague at Farina, Giovanni Michelotti.
Alfredo Vignale also started producing cars under his own name. In 1961 he opened a factory near Fiat's Mirafiori factory in Crugliasco, Turin. The Vignale logo shows the famous church in Turin.
In December 1969 Alfredo sold his Carrozzeria Vignale to DeTomaso Automobili. DeTomaso, like the Ghia Studios, already belonged to Ford's Italian product development group. Carrozzeria Vignale, being a very modern factory, was used to built the mid-engine DeTomaso Pantera sports cars.
Three days after having sold his company, Alfredo died in a car crash while driving a Maserati.
It is a big shame the Vignale name (like the Ghia name) is now degraded by Ford into a modelname addition for the Ford Focus 'Vignale' manufactured by... Pininfarina.