The Ford Mondeo Vignale has been about for a while now, and at the Geneva Motor Show Ford launched a accomplished ambit of Vignale models, including the Kuga, S-MAX and Edge. But what history lies abaft the name?
The Vignale name may be new to avant-garde buyers, but it has a continued history that stretches aback about 70 years. Indeed, the Vignale cast started activity in 1948 on hand-built specials from one of the aboriginal Italian coachbuilders to appear afterwards World War II.
• Ford launches Kuga, Edge and S-MAX Vignale at Geneva
The close was founded by Alfredo Vignale, who’d formed as a console beater in his family’s barn afore modifying a Fiat 500 into a convertible and acceptable aboriginal acclaim for his avant-garde design. It was able enough, in fact, to acquire Vignale consultancy assignment and acquiesce him to alpha ambidextrous with beyond cars from Lancia and Ferrari.
By the aboriginal fifties, Vignale was bearing bodies for Ferrari antagonism cars that would go on to win the acclaimed Mille Miglia alley chase and the Carrera Panamericana. It was a key account on the brand’s CV, and brought in abundant custom for it to move to beyond bounds in Turin in the aboriginal sixties.
This aeon was absolutely Vignale’s amethyst patch. With acclaimed artist Giovanni Michelotti on lath and beginning advance in mechanised production,the aggregation fabricated Fiat-based cars to acquire its keep, forth with consultancy ‘design studies’ for brands like Daihatsu and Opel. Manufacturing deals included affairs with Lancia, Maserati and British close Jensen. There was alike an aggressive plan by a Cypriot bank magnate to acceptation right-hand-drive versions of Vignale’s Fiats to the UK – although this angle breakable about as bound as the cars’ bodywork.
Back at base, meanwhile, it was acceptable more difficult for baby coachbuilders to survive. Vignale awash his aggregation to De Tomaso in 1969, aperture his branch bounds to body the Modena marque’s Ford V8-engined supercar, the Pantera. Not that the architect got to see the assembly band aback in action; he died abaft the caster of a Maserati a few canicule afterwards commutual the sale.
De Tomaso was itself in a about perilous banking accompaniment in the aboriginal seventies, too, as it angry out. So by 1972, it absitively to offload Vignale to Ford, forth with Ghia – addition coachbuilder it had acquired. But while the Ghia cast would go on to beautify affluence of range-toppers in Ford’s agency over the years that followed, Vignale was abundantly ignored.
It re-emerged in 1993, aback Ford-owned Aston Martin appear the Lagonda Vignale abstraction at the Geneva Motor Show. Advised by Moray Callum, now Mazda architecture arch amenable for the new MX-5, the car was meant to affectation how Aston could breathe beginning activity aback into the Lagonda name. But alone one assembly archetypal was anytime made, for the Sultan of Brunei.
More than a decade later, Ford assuredly placed the Vignale cast on one of its own cars for the aboriginal time: the Focus Vignale was a Paris Motor Show abstraction advised to examination the accessible Focus CC. Yet aback the assembly archetypal arrived, the Vignale name was boilerplate to be seen.
It has taken a added 12 years for Vignale to appropriately re-emerge, lending a allotment of Italian allure – not to acknowledgment its history of bespoke agent creation– to Ford’s exceptional sub-brand. Ford believes it is reacting to buyers accretion alternative for top-end affluence in boilerplate vehicles, and in a way, that’s absolutely how Vignale started out about 70 years ago, by injecting appearance and ability on to a bashful Fiat. Look beneath for our abrupt history of the Italian coachbuilder
Vignale congenital a array of custom bodies for Ferrari. Subsequent mods were common; this car became a Barchetta six months afterwards it was aboriginal made.
Classic Italian cast Lancia flirted abundantly with coachbuilders in the fifties and sixties, and Vignale’s assignment becoming the close the appropriate to accomplish drop-top and two-door coupé versions of the Lancia Appia. Nearly 2,000 examples were produced in total.
Giovanni Michelotti was one of the highest-regarded designers of his era, and conceivably the best archetype of his assignment with Vignale was the Maserati 3500 GT Convertible. The close appear it as a angle at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, but it got the official blooming ablaze and about 250 were produced.
Vignale absent out on the administration arrangement for the Jensen Interceptor, but got a arrangement to accomplish bodyshells for the aboriginal assembly versions of the British sports car. The accord didn’t aftermost actual long, though, and Jensen anon took over abounding ascendancy of the process.
Rear-engined two-seat convertible was based on the apprehensive Fiat 850. About 300 were made, forth with a scattering of hard-top versions.
This 1993 alehouse abstraction was based on a admirable Lincoln Town Car, although it added an amazing akin of opulence. A scattering of promotional cartage were produced, but Aston alone awash one assembly archetype – admitting for an eye-watering £1.3million.
The Vignale cast aboriginal appeared on a Ford over a decade ago at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. It was apparent on a abstraction advised to examination the accessible Coupé Cabriolet adaptation of the second-generation Focus, yet while the car fabricated it into production, the Vignale cast didn’t.
Ford showcased the Mondeo Vignale as a abstraction in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and the cast took addition 18 months to finalise how it would alteration the affluence alehouse into production. The Mondeo assuredly accomplished showrooms in bounce 2015 in four-door (below) and acreage guises.
Do you anticipate the Vignale name has what it takes to become a acclaimed affluence brand? Let us apperceive in the comments below…
Overview 2023 Ford Mondeo Vignale – 2023 Ford Mondeo Vignale
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