Ansaldo 15 GS Berlina Lotti - 1930— A discreet and remarkable car —
- History A short-lived brand, acclaimed by connoisseurs
- Motorization A noble and powerful double-shaft engine
- A unique bodywork An exceptional and unique Florentine body signed Lotti
- A remarkable car A car of connoisseurs entered in the 1991 Louis Vuitton – Automobiles Classiques elegance contest.
- General condition An old restoration of great quality carried out by Lecoq in France in the late 80s
Coming across an Ansaldo is rare, a 15GS with its double-shaft engine even more so, and discovering this example signed Lotti, a Florentine coachbuilder, is even more so because this car is unique in the World! Entered at the Louis Vuitton – Automobiles Classiques Concours d’Elegance in Bagatelle in 1991, this discreet car, with its superb patina, deserves to come back on the lawns of the most beautiful competitions, unless one prefers to drive it on our small departmental roads where its double-shaft engine will be a true delight to drive!
Ansaldo, an Italian industrial empire converted to the automobile industry
Born in Genoa, Ansaldo was known until the 1920s for its varied industrial production, from locomotives and artillery equipment to airplanes and aircraft engines. This industrial empire had up to 18,000 employees before WW1, spread over seven factories.
The brand’s own logo, made of two crossed cannons, made little secret of the company’s vocation.
Like other companies that had grown considerably during the First World War, with no less than 80,000 employees in 1918, Ansaldo had to open up to new markets after the war. In addition to electro-mechanical production, for which it was one of the European leaders, Ansaldo, like Citroën and other manufacturers, also turned to the booming automobile industry, whose production had similarities with its core business.
A first model, the A4, was launched at the end of 1919. A rather powerful 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft powered it. However, the car’s heavy weight and its 3-gear gearbox penalized it. This commercial failure occurred in a context of economic and political crisis and the bankruptcy of Ansaldo’s shareholder bank. The brand changed shareholders several times in this period.
In spite of such context, Ansaldo launched in 1923 a more powerful A4 called 4C, seconded by a 6A with a two-liter six-cylinder engine. Then came the 4CS and 6AS with more powerful engines and wire wheels, which gave a sportier tone to the brand. But Ansaldo struggled to innovate and renew itself. Only the popular Type 10, 14 and 15 marked these years with their utilitarian chassis and high sales.
In 1928 the company decided to launch the 15 GS, the one of the ANNA LISA Art On Wheels collection, which, with a new and sublime double overhead camshaft cylinder head, made a big impression and allowed the company’s 4-cylinder engine to develop 60 hp.
Two emblematic cars followed the 15GS: the eight-cylinder Type 2 and the six-cylinder Type 18. Launched during the 1929 crisis, they precipitated the car brand towards an inevitable bankruptcy.
It is worth noting that, unlike the automobile business, Ansaldo developed considerably in the 1930s, especially in shipbuilding. In the 90’s, Finmeccanica SPA, a huge Italian industrial conglomerate absorbed Ansaldo. In its turbulent economic life with numerous restructurings and changes of shareholders, the automotive activity of Ansaldo has stayed a distant memory…
The Ansaldo 15GS Berlina Lotti from the ANNA LISA Collection
The Ansaldo chassis 151001 from the ANNA LISAArt On Wheels Collection is one of the very few surviving cars from the Italian company, especially since it is one of the confidential and sophisticated 15 GS still in existence.
With its double overhead camshaft engine whose mechanical refinement puts it in unison with the best productions of the moment, this 15 GS sports car also received a sublime light bodywork signed Lotti.
This Florentine coachbuilder, who is not well known today, was at the origin of several creations on Ansaldo and Nazzaro chassis and – above all – of a light body on steel frame. A real revolution compared to the traditional wooden frames, which prefigured the Weymann and Superleggera Touring processes which appeared much later.
According to a 1991 letter written by Carrozzeria Lotti, the Ansaldo 15GS from the ANNA LISA Art On Wheelscollection is a unique car…
Restored in the late 1980s by Lecoq, the Ansaldo was entered in the 1991 Louis Vuitton Concours d’Elegance – Automobiles Classiques in Bagatelle. This was its last public appearance before a long period of sleep from which the car has just barely emerged.
There is no doubt that after a slight engine restart, this discreet car, terribly endearing and hiding many refinements, will find its voice on the small country roads where its top speed will surprise many, unless one prefers the lawns of the greatest elegance contests…