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As Italy strove to get back on its feet after the war, we visited its biggest car makers – Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Lancia – and were pleased to find them doing well.

What of its coachbuilders, though? We headed to Farina and Pinin Farina in Turin and Touring in Milan to find out.

“Pinin Farina has a modern factory laid out on a miniature production line basis,” we said. “At one end, prototype bodies are built up in wood from full-size drawings and from which jigs are then set up for production in small series.

“The next process is body welding, riveting and general assembly on the chassis supplied by manufacturers, the trimming of upholstery coming last.

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“The body frames are usually built up from light steel pressings of varying sections. Aluminium body panels are then laid over this.

“A very similar method of steel frame and aluminium body panels is used by the other Farina firm.

“Touring, however, lays special emphasis on saving weight. The frame is all-metal, but it’s entirely built up from welded tubes of quite small section, easily lifted with one hand but complex in pattern.

“In general, design is often experimental. I doubt any of these firms have used the wind tunnel. Streamlining is done by eye.”

The Farina firms built 30-50 cars a month, from 1500-2000 pre-war.

We concluded: “Italy is controlled by us and the US through supply of materials. Nonetheless, in matters of style, she’s well worth watching.”

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