Franco Scaglione (26 September 1916 – 19 June 1993) was an automobile coachwork designer.
Franco Scaglione was born in Florence to Vittorio Scaglione, a chief army doctor, and to Giovanna Fabbri, captain of the Italian Red Cross service. His was a well-to-do family of noble ancestry (count of Martirano San Nicola and of Mottafilocastro). At the age of 6, he and his younger brother became fatherless.
His studies are of humanistic leanings, but he enters the university of Aeronautical Engineering. His favourite hobbies are reading, tennis, riding and rowing. He went into military service with the rank of sub-lieutenant in the sappers, the Genio Pontieri. He continues his studies, but at the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteers to be assigned to a more destructive unit, the Genio Guastatori and is sent to the Libyan front. On Christmas Eve 1941, he is taken prisoner by the English at El Duda, a village to the south of Tobruk. He will be interned at the Yol detention camp in India, where he remains until the end of 1946. He returns to Italy on Boxing Day that year with the last boat used for the carrying of prisoners. He rejoins his mother (his brother Eugenio was killed during the war) in Carolei, near Cosenza, and will stay with her for almost a year.
At the beginning of 1948 he goes to Bologna in search of a job; he already has in mind to work as a stylist in the automobile field, his real passion. Initially he devotes his time to sketching clothing for fashion houses, which is very profitable, but his vocation is automobile coachwork design. On 25 September 1948 he marries Maria Luisa Benvenuti and two years later, on 10 September, his daughter Giovanna is born.
In April 1951 he moves to Turin, where there are the major coachbuilding firms, and he contacts Battista Pinin Farina, who very much appreciates his renderings. However, this does not result in collaboration, as Pinin Farina does not allow his models to be linked to the designer’s name. He meets Nuccio Bertone and finally an association is born, which will lead him to create splendid automobiles such as the Alfa Romeo B.A.T.s, the Giulietta Sprint and Sprint Speciale and many others.
In 1959 he breaks off the exclusive relationship with the Bertone coachworks and works on his own. His first collaboration is with Carlo Abarth and Porsche, and he designs the Porsche 356 B Abarth Carrera GTL, the acclaimed design forerunner of the 911. Then Scaglione conceived the Lamborghini 350 GTV, the ATS 2500 GT, the 1900 Skyline Sprint for the Japanese Prince company, the Titania Veltro GTT, and various models for Intermeccanica such as Apollo, Torino, Italia GFX, Italia IMX, Indra.
In 1967 he will design for Alfa Romeo Autodelta the legendary Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, said by many to be one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Alas, Intermeccanica becomes bankrupt and the entrepreneur owner, Frank Reisner, moves to Canada. Franco Scaglione, having put his own savings in the production of the Indra, is disillusioned and retires from work.
In 1981 he moved to Suvereto, a little village in the province of Livorno, where he lived a very secluded life. In July 1991 lung cancer was diagnosed, and he died two years later.
(Developed from Scaglione design but built in his absence):
I am not a natural flatterer, I like to think that I "tell it like it is", politely I hope. So when I tell you that I am very impressed by the contents of your website, it is just not English politeness. I of course love the subject matter but you deal with it in an energetic and respectful manner. I am overwhelmed by the research that has gone into compiling the list of coachbuilders/bodybuilders for Europe and North America. I have never heard of the vast majority of them.
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