Vignale
FormerlyCarrozzeria Alfredo Vignale & C.
TypePrivate (1948–69)
Subsidiary (1969–73)
IndustryAutomotive
Founded1948 in Turin
FounderAlfredo Vignale
Defunct1973; 49 years ago (1973)
FateCompany defunct; brand taken over by Ford in 1973
Headquarters
Italy
ServicesAutomotive design, coachbuilding
OwnerFord (1973–present)
ParentDe Tomaso
(1969–73)

Vignale is the luxury car sub-brand of Ford Motor Company used in automobiles commercialised in Europe.[1] The former company Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale was an Italian automobile coachbuilder established in 1948 at Via Cigliano, Turin,[2] by Alfredo Vignale (1913–69).[3] After its founder's death in 1969, Carrozzeria Vignale was acquired by De Tomaso (founded by Argentine businessman and race driver Alejandro de Tomaso). The studio ceased operation in 1973, but ownership of the name was taken over by Ford Motor Company (which had majority ownership of De Tomaso).[4]

Since then, Ford has continued to use the name sporadically to the present day. Up to present days, Ford of Europe released Vignale versions of models Mondeo,[5] Edge,[6] Fiesta, Focus, and Kuga, among others.[7]

History

Alfredo Vignale, founder
Alfredo Vignale, founder

The first body on a Fiat 500 Topolino base was made in 1948, followed by a special Fiat 1100. Most customers were Italian firms such as Cisitalia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati, Lancia. In 1952, Vignale collaborated with Briggs Cunningham to jointly produce the Continental C-3.[8] A close cooperation was maintained with Giovanni Michelotti,[9] who in 1959 opened his own design studio and in 1962 definitely concluded the cooperation.[10]

1959 ad for the Ferrari 340 coupe bodied by Carrozeria Vignale
1959 ad for the Ferrari 340 coupe bodied by Carrozeria Vignale

Also Rodolfo Bonetto designed a couple of cars in the early 1950s before moving to Boneschi. Later Vignale designs were created by Virginio Vairo.[11] Vignale designed and built cars, usually low volume variants of the main production cars of these automobile manufacturers. Amongst them were 850, Samantha, Eveline and the Vignale Gamine, based on the Fiat 500.[12] In 1968, Vignale designed the body of their last prototype, Tatra 613. Vignale was taken over by De Tomaso in 1969[2] who already owned Carrozzeria Ghia.[1] Shortly after selling, Alfredo Vignale died in a car crash on November 16, 1969.[10] Both coachbuilder firms were sold to Ford in 1973 but the Vignale brand was discontinued.

At the 1993 Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin, at the time owned by Ford, produced a concept car called Lagonda Vignale.[1] Ford then used the Vignale name in the Ford Focus Vignale concept car introduced at the 2004 Paris Motor Show,[13] however the production model was named as Ford Focus Coupé-Cabriolet.

In September 2013, Ford of Europe announced plans to resurrect the Vignale name as an upscale luxury sub-brand of Ford.[14] The cars would be visually distincted from regular Ford products and have an improved dealership experience. Exclusive services, such as free lifetime car washes, will be offered as well. The first Ford model to receive the Vignale name was the 2015 Ford Mondeo.[5] The first model to carry the Vignale brand name was the 2015 Mondeo.[15]

On 1 March 2016 Ford of Europe announced a Kuga Vignale concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show[16] where the company also announced the line-up of Vignale products, S-Max, Edge, and Mondeo Vignale five-door models debut alongside Kuga Vignale Concept, offering a vision of the future of upscale SUVs as well as revealing Vignale Ambassadors and the signature Vignale collection.[17]

Designs

List of cars designed and bodied at Carrozzeria Vignale or coachbuilt to a third-party design.[10]

1951 Ferrari 212 Vignale coupé
1951 Ferrari 212 Vignale coupé
1953 Ferrari 375 America with bodywork by Vignale
1953 Ferrari 375 America with bodywork by Vignale
Fiat 8V Vignale Coupé
Fiat 8V Vignale Coupé
Maserati 3500 GT Spyder
The Vignale designed Tatra 613 prototype
The Vignale designed Tatra 613 prototype
Vignale Gamine by Alfredo Vignale
Vignale Gamine by Alfredo Vignale

Notable designers

References

  1. ^ a b c Ford Vignale: The history behind Vignale, Ford's new luxury division on Auto Express, 28 Mar 2016
  2. ^ a b "ABOUT CARROZZERIA Vignale". geocities.com. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Alfredo Vignale". jensenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  4. ^ Historia de la marca DE TOMASO on Motor Giga
  5. ^ a b c Vignale: Ford recupera una marca con historia argentina on Motor1, 4 Sep 2013
  6. ^ El Ford Edge al detalle on Diario Motor
  7. ^ Fiat, Ford y De Tomaso: la marca Vignale vuelve a la Argentina on Motor1, 4 Jun 2019
  8. ^ Cotter, Tom (11 March 2011). "Italian Flair and American Muscle". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Elenco delle Vetture progettate da Giovanni Michelotti conosciute al momento". archiviostoricomichelotti.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Vignale, Alfredo Zanellato (2009). Vignale con Michelotti Designer. ASI. p. 66.
  11. ^ a b "The Maserati Mexico: Modena's conquest of the New World". carjager.com. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  12. ^ "The History of the Fiat Gamine". geocities.com. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  13. ^ "2004 Ford Focus Vignale". conceptcarz.com. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  14. ^ "Ford to reveal Vignale sub-brand with special Mondeo in Frankfurt [UPDATE]". Autoblog. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  15. ^ FORD PRESENTA EL FORD VIGNALE MONDEO, EL PRIMER MODELO DE LA GAMA FORD VIGNALE, London, 17 Apr 2015
  16. ^ "Ford of Europe Press Release Geneva Motorshow 1-mar-2016".
  17. ^ "Ford Expands Upscale Ford Vignale Line with Four New Models, Exclusive Concierge and Travel Services".
  18. ^ "Fiat 125 coupé Samantha Vignale". fiatsamanthavignale.blogspot.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  19. ^ "The Designers - Ford Cisitalia 808". fordcisitalia808.com. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Vignale Interceptors". jensenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Vignale Jensen FF 119/004". jensenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Vignale's Jensen Nova". jensenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Vignale Lancia". vignalegamine.net. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  24. ^ "1952 Lancia Aurelia B52 2000 Coupé by Vignale". rmsothebys.com. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Lincoln Vignale Show Car (1987)". oldconceptcars.com. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  26. ^ Tabucchi, Maurizio (2003). Maserati: The Grand Prix, Sports and GT cars model by model, 1926-2003. Milano: Giorgio Nada Editore s.r.l. p. 246. ISBN 8879112600.
  27. ^ "Maserati Mexico Registry". maserati.mexico.free.fr (in French). Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  28. ^ "Vignale Matra M530 Sport". coachbuild.com. Retrieved 15 January 2014.

Bibliography