Castagna Milano designs Audi A8 Avant

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When we think about an Italian body designer and builder, we quickly think of Bertone, Pinninfarina and Zagato. Maybe of Touring or Castagna. Each and every one of them are masters in the creation of very special creations.

Although less big – and known – than the first three Carrozzeria’s mentioned above,  Carrozzeria Castagna was founded in 1849 in Milan by Carlo Castagna for building luxurious carriages. Thanks to the help of a few rich Milanese families, the company was growing into a well-known coach builder. By the end of the 19th century, the first bodies for motorized vehicles were built. Later on the chassis of Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Hispano Suiza, Isotta Fraschini, and Mercedes will be fitted with special bodies.

There is nothing to go for Castagna. Do you want an open-top Fiat 500 for hot beach days? It’s possible! Complete with shower, refrigerator and wooden ‘back deck’ for sunbathing. It will costs you about 80,000 euros, because the Italians need easily 2,000 hours for the metamorphosis.

We have seen a number of interesting projects from the Milan-based company. Take for example the ‘special-request’ one-off Bentley GT Shooting Break and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé, or the small-production Fiat 500 Tender Beachcar, the Mini Tender Beachcar, and the Peugeot 508 RXH. To name a few.

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These coachbuilds will give you an idea of ​​what the Italian bodybuilder is planning to do. Not only the Fiat and Mini creations are very popular, the Peugeot 508 RXH introduced in 2014 is doing very well too. The latter provided the inspiration for a new project.

Currently the Italian coachbuilders are busy with an Audi A8 of the previous generation. That model is transformed into Avant and gets a tough outdoor look. Many details are not yet known, but according to Castagna it is a serious project. The company uses aluminum and carbon fiber. The latter material is used, among other things, for the extension of the roof.

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What Castagna has done is to give the luxury saloon a new roof line with a traditional car shape and to add Allroad-inspired details, such as the silver roof rails, black plastic cladding for the wheel arches and sills and aluminum accents for the front and rear bumpers. The profile of the rear doors clearly shows that the car was designed as a sedan, but the new roof integrates neatly into the overall design.

The engine choice has fallen on the W12 quattro variant with a 6.3-liter W12 engine, an output of 500 hp and four-wheel drive. In other words; this will be the world’s first and only Audi A8 Avant Allroad W12. Even though Audi had such a kind of car in mind a long time ago, witness the Audi Avantissimo Concept from 2001.

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With their program, Castagna reintroduced the idea of a One Off: a modern interpretation of the tailor-made concept that was first adopted in the 1920s. These ‘coachbuild’ vehicles are thoroughly tested and designed according to specific requirements by Castagna. Custom – hand – made in Milan, Castagna takes orders for unique conversion projects.

Come into the world of Castagna.

 

 

 

 

Mini Castagna Tender

 

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Carrozzeria Castagna was founded by Carlo Castagna in 1849 in Milan, Italy, when he took over the Ferrari coachbuilding company, fabricating luxury horse-drawn carriages for the Italian aristocracy and European royalty. Their first motorcar bodywork appeared toward the end of the 1800’s upon commision from Ottolini and Riccordi, importers of Benz quadricyclesfor Italy. By the turn of the century Carlo had specialized in modern motoring bodies and had soon built some striking cars. By 1915 the company was taken over by Castagna’s son, Ercole. He focused even more on top-of-the-range chassis and soon managed to make Castagna Italy’s largest carrozzeria, selling cars to movie stars, royalty and even the pope.

Among Bertone, Pininfarina, Touring, Vignale and Zagato, Carrozzeria Castagna belongs to Italy’s greatest coachbuilders.

Castagna’s golden years during the 1920’s saw the Milanese coachbuilder construct limousines, torpedoes and two-seaters based and Alfa Romeo’s, Lancia’s and Mercedes-Benz chassis. Clients included members of the Italian aristocracy and wealthy entrepreneurs such as the American magnate Willian Randolph Hearst, During this period, Castagna were most famous for their bodyworks based on Issota Fraschini chassis, and they also worked with Duesenberg.

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After World War II, Castagna struggled to survive as demand for special coachbuilding diminished and lost its fame. However the coachbuilder saw a welcome renaissance in 1995 when Umberto Pietra revived the name with the presentation of the Alfa Romeo SZ based Vittoria at the Geneva Motor Show styled by architect Gioacchino Acampora. At the time, Castagna claimed that their Alfa Romeo one-off produced 320 bhp against the ‘standard’ SZ’s 180 bhp.

Castagna quickly rebuilt its international reputation, specialising in contract work, prototype constuction for manufactures, soft tuning and, moreover, their one-off vehicles created upon request like the Maserati Auge (1995), Ferrari Rossellini (2003) and Ferrari Aria (2005) based on 575 Maranello mechanicals.

When Gioacchino Acampora and Umberto Pietra, who both worked for other Italian coachbuilders, decided to start a company of their own, they gave a new lease of life to the old Castagna-name, buying its rights in 1994. They built several unconventional one-offs on Alfa-Romeo-, Ferrari-, Bentley-, Maserati- and Corvette-base, but became best known for their estate Mini, launched years before Mini came up with their own ‘Clubman’.

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Do you remember the Fiat 500 and 600 Ghia Jolly’s and other – mostly Fiats – coachbuild ‘Beachcombing’ cars of the 1950’s and 60’s? Now can Mini well-heeled lovers in warm climes who require space enough to haul burlap sacks of coconuts (or whatever) finally have a car that meets their rather unique need-set. The Milanese coachbuilder is offering the Mini Tender, based on a Cooper cabrio that’s been lengthened by more than 27 inches. It’s the perfect yacht-side companion, with a shower (fed by an eight-gallon water tank), plus 2000-watt audio system, teak appointments and seats of waterproof neoprene.

In the sixties it was called ‘Beachcombing’, now it is called Tender. Take her down to the seaside, everyone will stare at her.

Retaining the original mechanics and means of propulsion, they have added an electric motor to the vehicle, equipped with a system that allows the driver to select the desired means of propulsion at any time. The batteries, managed by an on-board resource optimisation programme, offer an operating range of up to 200km at a maximum speed of 140 km/h. But it does not end here. You can, at any time, choose to run the combustion engine on the open-road or as a generator in order to charge the batteries.

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A silent, hybrid engine that will take you anywhere, past the point where others stop. This is a vehicle that doesn’t hurt the environment, but makes it better for travelling.

This most exclusive and indisputable diva of high-level recreation epitomises originality, measured in terms of elegance and luxury. Perfect for the yacht, it is ready to climb aboard. What else do you need? Castagna make all your dreams come true!

Come into the wonderful world of Castagna.

 

 

 

 

 

Haute Couture: Mini Castagna Woody Wagon

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Carrozzeria Castagna was founded in 1849 by Carlo Castagna. It reached the peak of its glory days between 1920 and 1930 producing custom-built bodies assembled on some of the best chassis in the world, like Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Hispano Suiza, Isotta Fraschini, en Mercedes. So exclusive were these bodies, that they won coveted awards at the Concours d’Elegance and the era’s most prestigious shows.

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Recently, Castagna has sprung back into action with their latest product first introduced at Geneva, the Mini Wagon. This custom-built automobile is a true Shooting Break: the rear boot was elongated by 25 cm, which lets the car hold up to three large suitcases. Over 200 modifications were made to the original model to form the primary details that emphasis its original styling.

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The idea to stretch a mini is not new. BMC produced a variety of body styles for the original Austin Mini including a truck, panel van and a station wagon. Representing the more decorated end of the Mini range was the Woody Wagon, sometimes called a Countryman. Over 200,000 wood-decorated minis were built, despite protest from the vehicles designer Alec Issigonis.

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The deserving heir of the historic Mini Traveller and other woody wagons is Castagna’s Mini. The car has an exclusive allure, which mixes a harmony between the intense tones of the woodwork, the aroma of the leather and the natural appeal of wicker. The exterior moulding consists of 20 hand-crafted elements from the wood species that best matches the colour of the vehicle. Wood can be also found around the instrument frames placed on the dashboard and along the tops of the doors.

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Inside, natural leather upholstery is combined with finely selected fabrics. Another touch of class is found in the wicker kit, a series of panels that cover the luggage compartment to prevent that leather upholstery from being ruined. With their Mini program, Castagna hope to reintroduce the idea of a One Off: a modern interpretation of the custom-built concept first adopted in the 1920s. These single vehicles will be thoroughly tested and designed by Castagna by specific request. Tailor made in Milan, Castagna are now taking orders for unique conversion projects based on the Mini platform.

Come into the world of Castagna.