In the marque’s early days, Enzo Ferrari was obsessed with finding the right “look” for his road cars in an effort to define his company from a visual standpoint. He courted a number of different coachbuilders who provided not only Ferrari with a number of different styles to choose from but also the customer. At the tail end of the era of the coachbuilt automobile, Ferraris could be swathed with bodies by a variety of European, primarily Italian, coachbuilders, allowing clients to commission their car to their own unique taste.
Opening their doors just one year after the conclusion of the Second World War, Carrozzeria Vignale of Turin was founded by its namesake, Alfredo Vignale, and his brothers, Guglielmo and Giuseppe. Crafting bodies for other manufacturers such as Cisitalia, Fiat, and Lancia, Vignale quickly earned a reputation for quality craftsmanship and innovative designs. Their reputation was further reinforced when Vignale teamed up with Giovanni Michelotti, one of the most celebrated designers of the time. Together, they would create a number of bold and impactful designs for Ferrari, all of which were handcrafted. Each body would be unique, with its own signature flair and bravado.
Outwardly, Vignale-bodied Ferraris are easily identifiable by their juxtaposition of sharp angles and rounded edges, with numerous louvers, air inlets, and other styling cues, including frequent use of two-tone paintwork. Some of these features were fitted simply for ornamentation, while others served a functional purpose. Regardless, Vignale’s designs differed greatly from those of their rival coachbuilders Pinin Farina, Ghia, and Touring, giving them a distinguished style all their own.
From the first Ferrari to wear Vignale coachwork in 1950 to the end of their relationship in 1954, the company had bodied over 150 different automobiles bearing the Cavallino Rampante. Today, these vehicles have become some of the most sought after and desirable Ferraris ever built due to their unique character and charisma. Vignale and Michelotti dared to be different and etched their names into automotive history with their bold designs.