Copper, Brass and Bronze: The 1967 "Exemplar 1" by Coggiola, Torino

Copper, Brass and Bronze: The 1967 "Exemplar 1" by Coggiola, Torino

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     Show cars have always been a way for companies to show their latest and greatest designs and ideas to the world, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than to use a great European custom coach building firm with a reputation for creating some of the most beautiful designs on four wheels the world has ever seen. While the end of the 1960’s and into the 1970’s was really the end of the line for custom coachbuilding, there were still a few cars that were created at this time that were really incredible and a culmination of years of design by these great firms and designers within them. 

     This is the 1967 “Exemplar 1” Concept car built by Carrozzeria Coggiola of Torino, Italy for the Bridgeport Brass Company and the Copper Development Association. The Copper Development Association or “CDA” was the same industry group responsible for the Mercer Cobra designed by Virgil Exner in 1965. Carrozzeria Coggiola was founded by Sergio Coggiola in 1966 after serving in Frua’s design department since 1944. For Exemplar 1, Coggiola commissioned the famed designer Mario Rivelli de Baumont to design the car. In his early years Rivelli worked with Giovanni Farina, Ghia, Casaro, Carrozzeria Moderna, Sala, and Castagna. Between 1929 and 1931 he also collaborated with Fiat’s special coachwork division, clothing a number of Rolls-Royce chassis, as well as creating racing coachwork for the Maserati 1500 and the ill-fated radial-engined Trossi-Monaco Grand Prix car of 1935. After WWII, Revelli resumed work with Pinin Farina and Fiat, also finding gainful employment at Cansa, then Simca in Paris, eventually designing the Revelli-Figoni ‘two-volume’ sedan before moving to General Motors. Rivelli had an awesome track record and experience from all the best coachbuilders and it can all be seen in Exemplar 1.

     The purpose of Exemplar 1 was to present the automotive world with engineering innovations that improved safety, comfort, and performance while demonstrating new applications for copper, brass, and bronze. You need look no further than the interior to see the commitment to its task: a broad spectrum of 11 distinct hues of standard copper alloy was applied, ranging from reddish-orange copper to the golds and browns of brass and bronze and the soft silver shades of copper-nickel and nickel silver alloys. The two-tier instrument and control panels are also finished with polished brass, complemented by its padded dashboard. In fact, it’s difficult to find a single area of the Exemplar 1’s cabin that hasn’t been manufactured out of or embellished by the two metals including the centre console, steering wheel, and horn button, which are all trimmed in copper and brass. Even the A-pillars, scuff plates, and the powered-seat controls have been lavished in copper. The cockpit is bettered only by the car’s stunning exterior, where the theme continues. Most striking are the custom brass-plated Borrani knock-off wire wheels, which combine beautifully with other brass accents, such as the rear window shutters. Its front and rear bumpers are given similar treatment, while the overall lines of the Revelli-penned body’s delta shape echoes the Lamborghini Miura. Its long, sloping bonnet, low belt-line and short rear only serve to emphasize its streamlined appearance.

     In addition to using copper for styling and decoration, Revelli took full advantage of the outstanding engineering properties of the metals. Exemplar 1 features copper disc brakes, brake lines, and twin polished copper radiators – one for cooling the engine and the other for the air conditioning. Mechanically, the chassis is a modified 1967 Buick Grand Sport GS unit, while power is provided by a polished, copper-trimmed 430cu in V8 engine producing 360bhp at 5000rpm. The automatic transmission is allied to a positive traction differential with a final drive of 3.42, plus heavy-duty suspension. 

     When the car was completed by Coggiola late in 1967, it was shipped to the United States to the Bridgeport Brass Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where it was unveiled to the leaders of the National Distillers and Chemical Corporation, the National Copper Association, and to the public. It then toured the United States to demonstrate and promote the use of copper and copper alloys, being initially shown at the 1968 New York Auto Show, where it gained huge attention for both its radical use of metals and its outstanding beauty. It was eventually decommissioned by the National Distillers and Chemical Corporation in 1970 and purchased by Herman Steinkraus, president of the Bridgeport Brass Company. He took the car to his 25-acre estate in Darien, Connecticut where it was kept under cover and out of sight for the next 20 years. Steinkraus passed away in the late 1980s and the car was sold by his estate to my father Manny and My Uncle George Dragone in 1990. More than 25 years in our personal collection in unrestored condition followed before we finally decided to restore it back to its original condition, as envisioned by Mario Revelli de Beaumont.

     Exemplar 1, unlike the Mercer Cobra, is a fully functional custom coachbuilt car. Everything works including the air conditioning and instrumentation. 

     The car is complete with all of Rivelli’s original artworks and designs for the car and even the box they were shipped in from him personally to the Bridgeport Brass Company. It also comes with many original Exemplar 1 brochures which were handed out at the auto shows when the car was originally shown. We showed the car at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance winning 1st in class. This is a chance to own an incredible show car with an incredible history and would be a fantastic car on the lawn at Pebble Beach!

Contact us today for more information.

Price upon request.

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DSC_0348
DSC_0335
DSC_0378
DSC_0340
DSC_0333
DSC_0343
DSC_0339
DSC_0346
DSC_0334
DSC_0326
DSC_0332
DSC_0131
DSC_0134
DSC_0142
DSC_0147
DSC_0143
DSC_0136
DSC_0141
DSC_0135
DSC_0140
DSC_0139
DSC_0145
DSC_0149
DSC_0193
DSC_0151
DSC_0198
DSC_0181
DSC_0137
DSC_0195
DSC_0196
DSC_0197
DSC03643
DSC03650
DSC03644
DSC03649
DSC03648
DSC03653
DSC03645
DSC03655
DSC03651
DSC03656
DSC03646
DSC03662
DSC03667
DSC03664
DSC03659
DSC03661
DSC03666
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     Show cars have always been a way for companies to show their latest and greatest designs and ideas to the world, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than to use a great European custom coach building firm with a reputation for creating some of the most beautiful designs on four wheels the world has ever seen. While the end of the 1960’s and into the 1970’s was really the end of the line for custom coachbuilding, there were still a few cars that were created at this time that were really incredible and a culmination of years of design by these great firms and designers within them. 

     This is the 1967 “Exemplar 1” Concept car built by Carrozzeria Coggiola of Torino, Italy for the Bridgeport Brass Company and the Copper Development Association. The Copper Development Association or “CDA” was the same industry group responsible for the Mercer Cobra designed by Virgil Exner in 1965. Carrozzeria Coggiola was founded by Sergio Coggiola in 1966 after serving in Frua’s design department since 1944. For Exemplar 1, Coggiola commissioned the famed designer Mario Rivelli de Baumont to design the car. In his early years Rivelli worked with Giovanni Farina, Ghia, Casaro, Carrozzeria Moderna, Sala, and Castagna. Between 1929 and 1931 he also collaborated with Fiat’s special coachwork division, clothing a number of Rolls-Royce chassis, as well as creating racing coachwork for the Maserati 1500 and the ill-fated radial-engined Trossi-Monaco Grand Prix car of 1935. After WWII, Revelli resumed work with Pinin Farina and Fiat, also finding gainful employment at Cansa, then Simca in Paris, eventually designing the Revelli-Figoni ‘two-volume’ sedan before moving to General Motors. Rivelli had an awesome track record and experience from all the best coachbuilders and it can all be seen in Exemplar 1.

     The purpose of Exemplar 1 was to present the automotive world with engineering innovations that improved safety, comfort, and performance while demonstrating new applications for copper, brass, and bronze. You need look no further than the interior to see the commitment to its task: a broad spectrum of 11 distinct hues of standard copper alloy was applied, ranging from reddish-orange copper to the golds and browns of brass and bronze and the soft silver shades of copper-nickel and nickel silver alloys. The two-tier instrument and control panels are also finished with polished brass, complemented by its padded dashboard. In fact, it’s difficult to find a single area of the Exemplar 1’s cabin that hasn’t been manufactured out of or embellished by the two metals including the centre console, steering wheel, and horn button, which are all trimmed in copper and brass. Even the A-pillars, scuff plates, and the powered-seat controls have been lavished in copper. The cockpit is bettered only by the car’s stunning exterior, where the theme continues. Most striking are the custom brass-plated Borrani knock-off wire wheels, which combine beautifully with other brass accents, such as the rear window shutters. Its front and rear bumpers are given similar treatment, while the overall lines of the Revelli-penned body’s delta shape echoes the Lamborghini Miura. Its long, sloping bonnet, low belt-line and short rear only serve to emphasize its streamlined appearance. 

     In addition to using copper for styling and decoration, Revelli took full advantage of the outstanding engineering properties of the metals. Exemplar 1 features copper disc brakes, brake lines, and twin polished copper radiators – one for cooling the engine and the other for the air conditioning. Mechanically, the chassis is a modified 1967 Buick Grand Sport GS unit, while power is provided by a polished, copper-trimmed 430cu in V8 engine producing 360bhp at 5000rpm. The automatic transmission is allied to a positive traction differential with a final drive of 3.42, plus heavy-duty suspension. 

     When the car was completed by Coggiola late in 1967, it was shipped to the United States to the Bridgeport Brass Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where it was unveiled to the leaders of the National Distillers and Chemical Corporation, the National Copper Association, and to the public. It then toured the United States to demonstrate and promote the use of copper and copper alloys, being initially shown at the 1968 New York Auto Show, where it gained huge attention for both its radical use of metals and its outstanding beauty. It was eventually decommissioned by the National Distillers and Chemical Corporation in 1970 and purchased by Herman Steinkraus, president of the Bridgeport Brass Company. He took the car to his 25-acre estate in Darien, Connecticut where it was kept under cover and out of sight for the next 20 years. Steinkraus passed away in the late 1980s and the car was sold by his estate to my father Manny and My Uncle George Dragone in 1990. More than 25 years in our personal collection in unrestored condition followed before we finally decided to restore it back to its original condition, as envisioned by Mario Revelli de Beaumont.

     Exemplar 1, unlike the Mercer Cobra, is a fully functional custom coachbuilt car. Everything works including the air conditioning and instrumentation. 

     The car is complete with all of Rivelli’s original artworks and designs for the car and even the box they were shipped in from him personally to the Bridgeport Brass Company. It also comes with many original Exemplar 1 brochures which were handed out at the auto shows when the car was originally shown. We showed the car at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance winning 1st in class. This is a chance to own an incredible show car with an incredible history and would be a fantastic car on the lawn at Pebble Beach!

Contact us today for more information. Price upon request.

 

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