Ed. Note: Matthew Powers is interning with NowPlayingNashville.com this summer. A Manchester, Tenn. native who doesn’t remember a time when Bonnaroo didn’t exist, Matthew is currently a student at the Sewanee: The University of the South. One of his first assignments for us was to tag along for the media preview of the Frist’s new Italian automotive show and report back on his favorite cars. He gave us this review.
Car enthusiasts rejoice! Now through October 9, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in downtown Nashville presents Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945-75, boasting Italy’s most innovative automobiles from the post-war era. The car nuts at NowPlayingNashville.com had early access to all 22 vehicles on exhibit, and let’s just say these aren’t your typical Ferraris. Here’s a quick peek at some of our favorites.
While the Ferrari 250 GTO was released in 1962, it remains one of the most desirable sports cars ever made. Not surprising when considering that only 39 were manufactured. Yet, this limited run created problems for the vehicle’s eligibility in the competitive racing scene. In order to participate in world championship racing events, at least 50 identical models of a car had to be made and sold. When the vehicle’s eligibility was challenged, Ferrari threatened to withdraw from racing altogether, pressuring racing authorities to yield and allow the GTOs to participate in competition. Considering the style a GTO would bring to a race, we can’t blame them.
But the 250 GTO wasn’t Bizzarrini’s only classic piece of work. He, along with Renzo Rivolta envisioned a comfortable, high-performance, competitive racecar. The result was the 53000 Strada, released in 1968. With its classic, yet sporty shape this car is bound to turn some heads.
Even the most luxurious Italian designers were interested in the American market after World War II, Gian Paolo being no exception. He began crafting a prototype for a new Lincoln in 1955, and his design for the Indianapolis resulted in great success as his plan to attract American attention succeeded. Ford offered the designers a ten-year contract and even Henry Ford II took possession of the Indianapolis for a time, many believing he later gave it to Hollywood love interest Errol Flynn.
The Frist Center hasn’t overlooked Nashville’s Motorcycle lovers. In fact, they’ve managed to grab a hold of a 1973 MV Agusta 750 Sport, which has often been called “The Ferrari of Motorcycles.” MV’s designers chose to take the United States Flag’s color scheme and boldly paint the bike with dramatic reds, whites, and blues. While MV discontinued its motorcycle manufacturing in 1979 to concentrate on helicopter production, this bike remains a favorite among motorcycle aficionados.
One of the most eye-catching designs in the exhibit, the Stratos Zero truly looks out of this world. With a steering column that can be moved forward to allow for more room to enter the vehicle, and a front window that serves as the car’s single door, this vehicle is anything but conventional. Even after more than thirty years, the Stratos Zero still seems more fitting for a sci-fi movie than a typical road. However, such a design does not go for cheap. The cost of building the Zero was reportedly forty million lire, and you can expect to pay much more if you’d like to get your hands on this much sought after vehicle anytime soon.
Have these cars peaked your interest? Wondering about all the other vehicles we haven’t mentioned? Each of the 22 cars and bikes are on display at the Frist Center all summer long. Members can reserve tickets at the Frist Center’s website while the general public can find theirs at NowPlayingNashville.com.
Let us know your favorite car from the exhibit in the comments below. Grazie!
Vehicle information for this article found on the Frist Center’s website.