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.
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’.
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.
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!