Man and the car

FIRST FLOOR

The floor is divided into eight rooms with an exhibition area of 3,800 square metres. Visitors are guided around by the desire to examine in depth some individual aspects of the relationship that the modern-day world – that is, all of us – has with the car, and also to understand better what really constitutes a motor car, and how it is built. “Autorino” re-evokes what the car, in terms of industries, work and progress, meant during most of the last century for the city of Turin. “Mechanical Symphony”, on the other hand, invites us to discover what lies under a car’s outward appearance, its “soul”: the engine, frame, wheels, all the pieces in a single orchestra. But how is a car constructed? “Metamorphosis” shows us one from the inside, letting us enter that complex system of industrial production based on the assembly line. From how to produce a car to how to sell it: here we have “Advertising”, the innocent beginnings of the early twentieth century up to the sophisticated persuasive techniques of today. But cars can lead to “Madness” if they become a dominant, obsessive and morbid preoccupation. And if they do not lead to madness, they can lead to individual mobility becoming mass mobility, and eating away at itself, transmuting paradoxically into an obstacle to free circulation, as “Jungle” tells us. And we then arrive at the exciting world of racing, of pure speed, of the challenge on the circuit (“Formula”), illustrated by the 20 “Automobilissimo” showcases. And finally, the beginning of the “Design” section, which is further developed on the ground floor.

AUTORINO

Turin, city of the motor car: this is a cliché that for many people means just that the Fiat company originated in Turin, but in fact it signifies a much more complex and variegated situation. Over 70 car companies started up in Turin in the twentieth century, as well as over 80 bodywork manufacturers and Turin is still today the headquarters of centres of excellence in the project and design fields. A map imprinted on the floor will allow you to reconstruct this extraordinary role of the motor car “capital”.

Vehicles on display: Fiat 500 (Italia 1968),  Storero A 25/35 HP (Italia 1914), Scat-Ceirano 150 S (Italia 1926), Temperino 8/10 HP (Italia 1920), Fiat 509 A (Italia 1929), FOD 18 HP (Italia 1926).

MECHANICAL SYMPHONY

Art is not necessarily exclusively a prerogative of painting, sculpture or music: there are expressions of mechanical excellence that are also art, since they are produced by human inventiveness and creativity, forms of beauty in manufacturing, of harmony in design. In this room, the hidden components of the motor car are brought together, as in a great symphony: these are the engines, frames and wheels, which constitute the car’s interior essence, contrasted with the bodywork, which is its exterior clothing.

Vehicles on display:  Chiribiri telaio Milano (Italia 1922), San Giusto telaio 750 (Italia  1924), Lancia Lambda telaio (Italia 1924), Alfa Romeo telaio 6C 1500 Mille Miglia Speciale (Italia 1928), Fiat telaio 1500 (Italia 1935); 27 motori, 14 ruote e 7 copertoni.

METAMORPHOSIS

Does the human being turn into a robot or does the robot take on human form? Industrial mass-production, experimented for the first time in America in the Ford workshops constructing the Model T (15 million motor cars in 19 years), was the “driving force” of the twentieth century; it was the process that allowed the manufacture and circulation of millions of items, all the same, throughout the world at prices that were more and more accessible. Out frenetic life as consumers started on the day the first Ford T was built.

Vehicles on display: Autobianchi Primula (Italia 1967), Fiat 850S (Italia 1969),  Volkswagen Tipo 1 (Italia 1952), Autobianchi Bianchina (Italia 1959), Ford T (Stati Uniti 1916); Lloyd Alexander TS (Germania 1958).

METAMORPHOSIS
ADVERTISING

In the modern industrial world advertising is at the centre of all economic activity, and motor cars are no exception to this rule. In fact, right from the beginning, cars have needed advertising just like any other complex industrial item. It’s invasive and insistent; we complain about it but we cannot do without it. The contraptions lined up along the walls - media totems made of metal – bring to mind the concept of “brainwashing”, an activity of which advertising is often accused.

Vehicles on display: none.

MADNESS

Love for the motor car may take on some exaggerated, grotesque and distorted shapes: this is what is illustrated here, with a joke or two. Like any enthusiasm, a fondness for cars may turn into an obsession, to the point where one surrounds oneself with objects that are all inexorably linked to the object of worship. There is no room for anything else, in the head of people who live in this “house”, as in the furnishings surrounding them.

Vehicles on display: none.

JUNGLE

The jungle is the one of the road signs, in all languages and guises, that greet the visitor, symbolising the infinite prohibitions and instructions that we have to obey when driving. Those who drive take their own and other people’s lives in their hands. But we too often forget to obey them, distracted as we are, hard-pressed, and fascinated by speed. Not to mention those who behave on the road as if they were on the race-track, notwithstanding police, police-stations, sanctions, prison sentences, etc.

Vehicles on display: Lancia Delta Integrale (Italia 1986), Fiat 500 Sporting Kit (Italia 1995).

FORMULA

Speed is one of the great modern myths, and it’s a relief to see it given its full value here after the restrictions and obligations of the previous section. In a sort of exciting, dream-like cavalcade, all the racing cars in the collection, from all historical periods, meet here to race together towards the finishing line, in front of the eyes of visitors. On the other side of the track, there are the pit boxes where drivers and mechanics mingle.

Vehicles on display: Fiat F2 130 HP (Italia 1907), Fiat S 57/14 B (Italia 1914),  Aquila Italiana 25/30 HP (Italia 1912), Itala 11 (Italia 1925), Maserati 26B (Italia 1928), Maserati 250 F (Italia 1954), Bugatti 35 B (Francia 1929), Alfa Romeo P2 (Italia 1930), Alfa Romeo 159 (Italia 1951), Alfa Romeo  179B (Italia 1981), Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12 (Italia 1975), Alfa Romeo 155 V6T1 (Italia 1996), Monaco Trossi (Italia 1935), Tarf (Italia 1948), Ferrari 500 F2 (Italia 1952), Ferrari 156 F1 (Italia 1963), Ferrari 312 T5 (Italia 1980), Ferrari  246 F1 (Italia 1960), Mercedes Benz RW196 (Germania 1954), Lancia D50 (Italia 1955), Nibbio 2 (Italia 1955), Dragster (Stati Uniti 1965), Lancia D24 (Italia 1953), Ferrari F40 (Italia 1987); new Ferrari F1 (loan).

AUTOMOBILISSIMO

20 showcases recording as many leaders in their category: cars designated as the most popular, the longest, the fastest, the smallest, the lowest, most visionary, most multi-purpose, the cheapest, the most funerary, the most aristocratic, the most catholic, the slowest, the most old-fashioned, the most mimetic, the most diplomatic, the most "James Bond", the most inexpensive, the most expensive, the most criminal, and the most “too much”. And finally, the most beautiful motor car in the collection, in a special category drawn up by visitors.

Vehicles on display: none.

DESIGN

The word “design”, as used in car manufacture, is an English term meaning “industrial drawing”, or “project” and indicates the design activity that is not just defining the external features of an object but it explains all those functional, structural and aesthetic relationships that identify an industrial-type product. We see here some extraordinary examples of the Italian school of coachbuilders and designers, which is still virtually unequalled at a world level and able to adapt its creativity and design skill to the needs of large industries.

Vehicles on display:
Itala 25/35 HP (Italia 1912), Alfa Romeo RL SS (Italia 1926), Fiat 520 (Italia 1928), Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (Italia 1934), Lancia Aurelia B20 (Italia 1958), mascherone Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint (Italia 1954), Fiat 519 S (Italia 1923), Lancia Lambda torpedo (Italia 1930).

DESIGN