The third European Conference for Automotive History, organised by Anders Ditlev Clausager of the SAHB and Thomas Ulrich of the German AHG (Automobilhistorische Gesellschaft), with sponsorship from FIVA (Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens), was hosted in the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile in Turin, Italy, over the weekend of 15-16 October, with 90 delegates from 20 different countries. There were 18 presentations on a wide range of subjects, including Pietro Frua, the Soviet automobile industry, car manufacture in Denmark, John Tjaarda’s project for a world car, the automobile in poster art, and even the automobile as mechanical mistress.
Delegates were able to join guided “behind the scenes” tours of the museum’s vehicle store and workshop, and the documentation centre. Also during the weekend, delegates enjoyed visits to the Fiat Centro Storico museum in the original Fiat factory in downtown Turin, to the new Stellantis Heritage Hub in a part of the Mirafiori factory with about 200 cars on display – mostly Fiats and Lancias, including many one-offs and prototypes. Many delegates stayed in a hotel in the former Fiat factory at Lingotto, with a Fiat 500 themed café on the top floor adjacent to the original 1920s’ “pista”, the roof top proving track famously used in the film The Italian Job.
The museum in Turin was originally opened in 1960 and was named after its founder, the Italian pioneer motorist, Conte Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia, who began collecting historic vehicles in the 1930s. The building is of striking modern design, on a site overlooking the river Po. The museum was extended and re-named in 2011, and now houses some 200 vehicles in 19,000 square metres over three floors.
The first two conferences were held in the Cité de’l’Automobile in Mulhouse, France, in 2016, and in the Louwman Museum in The Hague, The Netherlands, in 2019. The next conference is planned for 2024 and will hopefully be held in Munich in Germany. The FIVA has now become involved as a sponsor, and it is hoped that selected papers from the three conferences held so far will be published with their support.
Photos: (courtesy Nataša Grom Jerina of FIVA)
(1) A group of delegates in front of the entrance to the museum
(2) The auditorium during the opening speeches
(3) Tour of the museum store and workshop
(4) Tour of the documentation and experience centre