Wednesday, 5 February 2014

1964, Deaths: Flaminio Bertoni

On 7 February 1964, just 61, Italian car designer Flaminio Bertoni died after an epileptic seizure. Bertoni was born in Varese, Italy, in 1903 and studied at the Francesco Daverio technical school where he graduated in 1918. After the death of his father, he found a job at a local body maker’s “Carrozzeria Macchi”, where his passion for car designs began.

In 1923 he was transferred to the planning department of Macchi Industries where a visiting team from France invited him to Paris. In 1929 he quitted Macchi and opened his own design and project workshop. In 1932 he was hired by Citroën and in 1934 he created the Traction Avant, he also begun to work on a new car, the TPV (later 2 CV) presented in 1948 at the Paris Salon de l'Automobile and which became a word phenomenon. At about the same time (1935) one of his previous designs for a "total view" bus with cabin above the engine was built by the Italian firm Baroffio.

Flaminio Bertoni
Flaminio Bertoni with Citroën Traction Avant Design
In 1949 he obtained a degree in architecture. He patented in 1956 a new system for the construction of houses with this system more than 1000 houses were built in Saint Louis (USA) in only 100 days.

Bertoni Designs: Citroën Traction Avant
Bertoni Designs: Citroën 2CV
In 1955 he designed the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19, nicknamed "Déesse” (french for Goddess) by critics, the DS 19 was years ahead of its time. It was Bertoni's masterpiece, offering a radically new suspension and braking system and a plethora of man-made materials. His single-spoke steering wheel was one smooth, sensuous curve. His dashboard consisted of three curves with small dials and a tiny glove compartment.

Bertoni Designs: Citroën DS 19
Bertoni Designs: Citroën Ami 6
In 1961 his last work as a designer, the Citroën Ami 6, was produced and the French Minister for Culture André Malraux, nominated him Master of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic. It was the fair recognition to a man who had given so much to French culture.

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