Saturday, December 1, 2007

50 years ago the 1st P1800 prototype was ready at Frua Ghia workshop

In december 1957, the freshly made first hand made prototype by Frua under direction of Pelle Petterson was presented to Irene future wife of Pelle Petterson at Frua Workshop.

About the prototypes names
The 1st Frua prototype, as well as second and third will be finished between end of 1957 and spring 1958, they would be named by Volvo only later during the project continuation, in september 1958 and were respectively name P (personal car) 9 (for the month of September) 58 (for the year 1958) therefore P958-X1, P958-X2, P958-X3

Irene & Pelle Petterson near P958-X1

Helmer Petterson near P958-X1 
More about Frua & Ghia workshop

After the war Pietro Frua bought an old bombed factory, hired 15 workers and all the equipment to design and build cars. Maserati was among the first customers who contacted Frua to design the new 6-cylinder sports car, the A6G. From 1950 to 1957, Frua built 19 coupe and spiders in three sets of different design - including A6 GCS racing. The initial factory was located  Via Giovanni da Verrazzano 18, Turino, Italy.

In 1953, the Ghia factory initialy located Corso Unio Sovietica 75/79, Turino moved to via Agostino da Montefeltro, 7 (formerly occupied by a small steel milling and laminating company) just within a few miles from their old building, the company was headed by Luigi Segre.

In 1957 Luigi Segre head of Ghia wanted to use the brand Frua because Ghia name was connected with the brand name of car companies that would reject use by any competitors, typically Volkswagen denied Ghia to contract with Volvo for the P1800 project. Frua sold his company to Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin, in return, Pietro Frua was appointed director of Ghia design (1957-1960)

Arround September 1957, the Carrozzeria Pietro Frua moved to the Ghia-Building under the new leadership of Luigi Segre right hand Federico Villani.

This correspondance of July 1958 from Helmer Petterson for directions and payment regarding the 3 prototypes was sent to the new place.

Ghia factory Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 7 turino Italy ( the roof shows the word GHIA )
In 1960 after a disagreement between Segre and Frua on "paternity" of the Renault Floride. Frua left Ghia to start his new design studio.

The known pictures of the Frua prototypes have been taken at Via Agostino da Montefeltro, If you look at this picture you can even see behind the prototype, the train tracks and more important the tower building freshly under construction, this same tower is still standing in 2011, you can even see it from Google map street view or Bing

the old Ghia factory in 2009

the Osi factory accross the street
osi factory

The Ghia building was still standing in 2010 in Turino Italy "via agostino da montefeltro, 7" with across the street the former OSI factory were Segre expanded his business with the OSI car brand.

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There is nothing left today of the original Frua workshop Via Giovanni da Varrazzano 18, now occupied by
modern buildings:

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In 2010 the city council has decided to restructure the district Ghia-OSI. It plans to demolish the most part, keeping a part of the factory. An office of architecture in Bologna won the contract. In this area, an area of 12,700 square meters is the new "European Institute of Design" .
new project of the Ghia premises