Today, on my 50th birthday, I'd like to show you some beautiful bodies. Car bodies created by Joseph Figoni.
I have a confession to make - 15 years ago, a few photographs and color drawings of his work ignited ny passion for streamline design. And this passion only grew ever since. I owe much to Figoni, The Great Master of automotive design.
Photo by dmentd @ Flickr
Here is his biography (published on coachbuild.com) along with some shots taken mostly by my Flickr contacts. Certain cars have already been featured here - hope you won't mind to see these beauties again.
"Giuseppe (or Joseph) Figoni was born in 1894 in Piacenza, Italy. When he was still a little boy he emigrated with his family to Paris. He started working as an apprentice at a wagon builder at the age of 14 and he soon seemed to be a true artist in metalwork.
1927 Bugatti Type 38 Torpedo Tourer by Figoni. Photo by klintan77 @ Flickr
1929 Delage D8 Roadster by Figoni (history-of-cars.com)
1931 Duesenberg J Figoni Speedster. Photo by Rex Gray @ Flickr
He left to fight in World War I and when he returned he opened up a body repair shop in Boulogne-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris. He began by modifying the coachwork of touring cars and eventually the quality of his work allowed him to establish a prosperous business.
1932 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental Figoni et Falaschi Pillarless Berline. Photo by Rex Gray @ Flickr
By 1925 Figoni was building complete bodies on a variety of chassis, including a.o. Delahaye, Bugatti, Renault, Delage, Panhard and Alfa Romeo.
1933 Alfa Romeo Model 8C 2300 Figoni Tourer. Photo by Jack_Snell @ Flickr
"In 1935 Figoni acquired a partner, businessman Ovidio Falaschi, who also originated from Italy, creating Figoni & Falaschi. This partnership created some of the most memorable designs of the 1930s through 1950s. Falaschi kept an eye on the finances while Figoni provided the designs.
1934 Voisin C27 Grand Sport Figoni Cabriolet. Photo by dmentd @ Flickr
"Figoni was fascinated by the emerging aircraft industry and was much influenced by the shapes of airplanes. Much of his work centered around aerodynamics and creating the allusion of motion even at a stand-still. He started with a simple sketch, reproducing the design by affixing narrow iron straps to the chassis and then created a wood frame in ash to which the hand-formed sheet metal was attached.
1935 Hispano-Suiza K6 Figoni Cabriolet. Photo by kklutzz @ Flickr
1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Figoni et Falaschi Coupé. Photo by Rex Gray @ Flickr
1937 Delahaye 135 Competition Roadster by Figoni & Falaschi. Photo by gualberto1 @ Flickr
"Figoni's fascination with tear drop shapes caused a sensation at the Paris Auto Salon of 1936 when he presented a Delahaye 135 with elliptical shapes and enclosed tear drop shaped pontoon fenders, which he called "enveloppantes". Figoni went on to create another icon of the streamlining era; the Talbot-Lago T150C SS Teardrop Coupe.
1938 Talbot Lago T150C SS Teardrop Coupe by Figoni & Falaschi. Photo by Davidutchy @ Flickr
1937 Talbot-Lago T150C Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet. Photo by Rafael Montano @ Flickr
1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Figoni & Falaschi Coupé Royal (supercars.net)
"Joseph Figoni had an artist's command of color and made full use of the recent development of Nitrolac metallic paints to present his cars in dramatic two and three tone paint finishes. He loved working with the designers of high fashion, who created gowns, hats, gloves and shoes that perfectly matched the lines and colors of his cars.
1938 Talbot Lago T150C SS Teardrop Coupe by Figoni & Falaschi. Photos by dmentd @ Flickr
Ovidio Falaschi explained: "We really were true couturiers of automotive coachwork, dressing and undressing a chassi one, two, three times and even more before arriving at the definitive line that we wanted to give to a specific chassis-coachwork ensemble." The public, accustomed to boxy black conveyances, was delighted with the show.
1938 Talbot Lago by Figoni & Falaschi. Photos by Davidutchy @ Flickr
"Figoni was also involved in designing racing bodies and created the aerodynamic design for the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 that won the '32 Le Mans 24-hour race, and the design for the Delahaye Type 138 18CV Speciale, that in 1934 set the 48-hour endurance record at Montlhery.
1938 Talbot Lago T26SS Roadster by Figoni & Falaschi. Photo by dmentd @ Flickr
"The pre-'35 cars and some late models were created under the name 'Figoni', but in favour of this alphabetized archive we simply refer to all as 'Figoni & Falaschi'. "
1939 Delahaye 135M Figoni et Falaschi Cabriolet. Photo by Rex Gray @ Flickr
1938 Darracq-Talbot Lago T150 C Figoni & Falaschi Roadster. Photo by Rex Gray @ Flickr
1939 Delahaye Type 165 Figoni &Falaschi. Photo by Rex Gray @ Flickr
1947 Delahaye 135 by Figoni & Falaschi (proposal) via aldenjewell @ Flickr
Photo by sjb4photos @ Flickr
1948 Delahaye 135 M Figoni et Falaschi 3-Postion Cabriolet. Photo by Richard Owen @ Flickr
1949 Delahaye 178 Figoni & Falaschi Drop Head Coupe. Photo by dmentd @ Flickr
1949 Delahaye 135MS Figoni & Falaschi. Photo by Davidutchy @ Flickr
1950 Delahaye 135 Convertible Figoni & Falaschi. Photo by Lee Sutton @ Flickr
1951 Delahaye 135MS Coach Figoni & Falaschi. Photo by pontfire @ Flickr
1938 Talbot-Lago T150 SS Figoni et Falaschi Coupe by Rex Gray @ Flickr