Diatto Industry Automotive Fate ceased production, Founded 1905 Defunct 1929 Headquarters Turin, Italy Key people Pietro and Vittorio Diatto, founders Products Automobiles
Diatto was an Italian car maker founded in 1905 in Turin but its history started 175 years ago.
1835-The year the company is founded. - In 1835, in Turin, on the banks of the river Po, Guglielmo Diatto founds a workshop for the construction of carriages for nobility. - The Diatto “Manifattura di Carrozze” (Carriage Manufacture) is already a large industrial concern, established over a vast area which is owned by the company.
- 1838-The first patent. - Guglielmo DIATTO, 33 years old, an inventive and enterprising craftsman, patents a ‘perfected wheel’, the first in a series of technological innovations that would make the fortunes of three generations of industrialists (the patent is held at the National Museum dell’Automobile in Turin, which displays a DIATTO car).
- 1864-Railway carriage construction for Europe. - The founder’s sons Giovanni and Battista Diatto, construct railway carriages for the luxury Compagnie des Wagons Lits et des Grands Express Europeens, TEE Trans Europe-Orient Express of Paris, the most luxury train in the world at the time.
- AT THE START OF 1900. - 1905-Diatto veichles. - The engineers Vittorio and Pietro DIATTO, grandsons of the founder Guglielmo (the third generation of the dynasty of distinguished industrialists), decide to manufacture sports cars to sell to their vast international wealthy carriage customers. In Turin, on April 12, 1905, they found the “Società Diatto-A. Clement” in partnership with the French company A. Clément Bayard, from Levallois Perret, Paris. - The company has a workforce of 500 (by way of comparison Fiat has a workforce of 776) and produces cars, initially with engines with 4 and 6 cylinders and, after the first world war, also 8 cylinders with compressor, aluminium pistons with 4 valves, up to 6,000 cc.
- 1909-Diatto begins exporting internationally. - In 1909 the Diatto brothers buy the participation of their French partners and the name of the company changes in “Autocostruzioni Diatto”. - Also thanks to its sporting supremacy, DIATTO establishes an extensive sales network to guarantee sales and assistance worldwide for the “Queen of lightweight vehicles, fast, comfortable, elegant”. - From 1910 onwards exports in Europe reaches Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, England, Poland and Russia, in North and South America, the Diatto arrive in Canada, the USA, Brazil, Cuba and Argentina and in Australia the vehicles are sold in Sydney and Melbourne.
- Some international victories, before the first world war. - 1906 Germany - the Herkomer Competition (1800 km from Frankfurt to Innsbruk, against 134 competitors); - Switzerland - the Lugano-San Gottardo (speed trial over 7 hours through the mountain passes); Italy - the Gold Cup (4000 km in 11 daily stages over the length and breadth of Italy, against 48 competitors representing 19 manufacturers); - 1907 France - the Cannes Cup (record of less consumption); - 1908 Russia - the Petersburg-Moscow (massacring race of 700 km); - 1909 Italy - Modena “Record of mile” (international race of speed); - 1910 UK - Brooklands; - 1913 Italy - Parma-Poggio di Berceto (race on the mountain); - 1914 Spain - Barcellona “Rebassada Cup”; - France - “Tourism Cup” (3120 km, Diatto wins the economy and efficiency prizes with the lowest fuel consumption); - Italy - the Milan-San Remo (320 km regularity trial), etc.
- 1912-1915-Diatto is expanding fast and on the way to becoming one of the top Italian industrial groups. In 1915, in order to keep up with orders, Diatto acquires the Scacchi factory (founded in Chivasso -TO- in 1911 by Cesare Scacchi, previously a workshop supervisor at Fiat, has a workforce of 100 and built 5 cars a month), and Newton factory (previously Valt-Vetture Automobili Leggere Torino, founded in 1911 and subsequently acquired by the British industrialist John Newton). - Diatto transfers the workforce and plant to the new factory in Via Frejus (Turin) in order to expand its output, which is now over 40 units a month.
- Diatto also acquires a controlling share in the Italian engine manufacturer "Gnome & Rhone", the most important maker of aviation engines (200 per month) and owner of the patent for fighter-plane-rotary engines, and transfers its sophisticated technology to automotive production. - With its 9 cylinder rotary engines, Gnome & Rhone (Diatto owned), win the most prestigious cross-European prizes: - The Mediterranean crossing, the Gordon Bennet Cup, the Reims Meeting, the Raids of Friedrichshafen, Düsseldorf, Cuxhaven, Zeebrugge, Dunkerque. - Success and fame enable the company, at the outbreak of the Great War, to win enormous orders from around Europe: 5,000 aviation engines for Italy, Russia, France and England. - (Source, Motori, Aero, Cicli & Sports, 1915–1919): "The most illuminated science and the greatest experience in automotive and aviation mechanics”.
- 1907-1927-Diatto is the official supplier to the Italian Royal Family. - Thanks to its avant-garde technology and design, DIATTO conquers the favour of the Italian Royal Family - customer from 1907 - who, in 1910, purchases 4 vehicles, of which one is a sports car (source, Italian magazine MACS, February 1911), trust and confidence that will continue for 20 years, until 1927 (Registration document - 1927 - of a DIATTO belonging to the His Majesty the King of Italy is conserved in National Museum Automobile – Turin). - The family of the future champion and constructor Enzo Ferrari also becomes a DIATTO client. - Diatto cars were known for their innovative design and engineering.
- 1919-1932-First class design and performance. - The most famous designers in the world use DIATTO bodywork: Bertone, Castagna, Garavini, Ghia, Mulliner, Schieppati, Stabilimenti Farina, Zagato. From the press at the time: “The classic design of the DIATTO radiator, with its straight lines, its low chassis, elegantly fitted, for low streamlined vehicles, has been a lesson to others.”
- 1922-First “Pole position” at the Inauguration of the Autodrome at Monza. - 2002 – 80 years later, “Inauguration pole position” revisited. - In Autumn 1922, in front of Mussolini, the First Gran Premio d’Italia was held, the “Inaugural Race” to celebrate the opening of the brand new Monza Autodrome, which had been built in record time: in pole position were a Diatto, a Bugatti and a Fiat. - To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Inaugural Race at Monza, in November 2002 the same line-up as the first Gran Premio d’Italia - Diatto, Bugatti and Fiat – raced against each other, an event which was enthusiastically reported by the sports press (Source: Corriere della sera, 12.11.2002).
- 2.15.1923-Nationalist British magazine "The Auto Motor Journal - Road-Trials”, compares the performance of 2-liter Diatto those of 3-liter Bentley compressor: a success for Diatto.
- 5.31.1926-Source, L'auto Italiana: "DIATTO Type 30 is the fastest two-litre Italian cars on the market".
- 1932-Production of cars is suspended - In the early 1930s, after circa 8,500 automobiles produced, due to insuperable financial difficulties caused by the non-payment of the considerable military equipment supplied to the Italian kingdom for the first world war, DIATTO’s assembly lines are interrupted. - Spare parts continue to be produced until 1955.
- 1915–1925-DIATTO-BUGATTI. - Shortly before the first world war, Diatto begins working with Ettore Bugatti. - The Diatto 8-cylinder engine for the wartime aircraft industry is built on licence from Bugatti. - On September 23, 1916, Diatto sends an enthusiastic telegram to Bugatti: “Glad to tell you, excellent results from engine… tests concluded brilliantly at 210HP”.
- The magazines from the time reports the successful partnership widely: - “Official tests for the Diatto-Bugatti engine: a true technical masterpiece, incomparable precision, strength and excellence of the materials, the compendium of all modern progress”. - (source: 1916 - Motori, Aero, Cicli e Sports, Engine Diatto-Bugatti).
- Production of automobiles and racing cars Diatto-Bugatti. - After the first world war, the collaboration between Diatto and Bugatti is extended to the design and production of road and race cars.
In 1919, at the International Motor Shows of Paris (Diatto has a branch in the Champs-Elysées) and London, Diatto presents five top of the range cars, including the “16 valve Diatto 30”, featuring chassis designed by Bugatti: “Luxury cars, Convertibles and Coupés with internal steering, refined bodywork and antique silk and velvet upholstery. The Parisian upper classes, from Princess Murat to Madame Gould, bid against each other for the most luxurious Diatto-Bugatti cars at a price of 100,000 franks" (the price at the top, at the time). Also the Bugatti Type 23 is sold in Italy under Diatto brand (sources: 1988, Le Fanatique de l'automobile; 1999, The Automobile: the first 50 Diatto-Bugatti). Production of Diatto-Bugatti cars will continue for several years.
- (An excerpt from - Motori, Aero, Cicli e Sports,1919) “the names Diatto and Bugatti, with their long, sound tradition of mechanical engineering and daring innovation, brought together into a single enterprise, are extraordinarily eloquent and significant for any technician or automobile enthusiast”.
Thanks to this successful collaboration, Diatto and Bugatti agree to construct a special series of race cars, initially with a 25 HP Sport Diatto chassis modified with a tubular axle and a supercharged 1500cc 4-cylinder Bugatti engine.
- In 1919, the first post-war race, Diatto wins an outstanding first and second place, Diatto Type 30 (Bugatti) and Diatto 4DC, at the Parma-Poggio di Berceto (Italy). These special Diatto-Bugatti racing cars, lightweight and powerful, enjoy considerable success in rallies and uphill competitions: The Brescia Gentleman’s Grand Prix, (1° GP of Italy), the Susa–Moncenisio and the Aosta-San Bernardo – top right -, etc..
- Furthermore, some Bugatti “Brescia da corsa” models are also equipped with the powerful 2 litre DIATTO engine with 4 valves per cylinder (source, the book: Bugatti Magnum) to witness the technological versatility of the partnership in racing: Diatto chassis with Bugatti engines and vice versa. DIATTO-BUGATTI racing cars: a winning binomial (source: Incontri 2000).
- 1922-1926-DIATTO-MASERATI. - In 1922, DIATTO engages the driver and designer Alfieri Maserati, with his brother Ernesto, entrusting him the position of Racing Team Manager. Alfieri Maserati, at the head of the DIATTO Racing Team until 1926, wins numerous victories; 1922 Monza – 1st Grand Prix: Maserati wins class in a 3 litre Diatto, second Sivocci in an Alfa Romeo, than in Sicily, from the Targa to the Florio Cup, from the Cremona circuit to the Coppa della Consuma, from the Colline Pistoiesi to the Monza Gran Prix, from the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo to the Parma-Poggio di Berceto, from the Limonest to the Schabenberg in France, from the Gothenburg to the Bollans in Swiss, from the Rebassada to the Valencia in Spain, etc.
- From 1924 to 1925, Maserati, under the lead of the director of Diatto, eng. Coda, that Maserati called "my professor", realizes the first 8C, 2,000cc Diatto engine with compressor. The legendary supercharged, 160-HP, 8C, Diatto-Grand-Prix car with Schieppati bodywork is born. The car is unveiled by Maserati on 14 June 1925 at the inauguration of the famous “100 kph club”, an association founded by Diatto supporters at the Monza racetrack. Maserati drives a number of demonstration laps and to the enthusiasm of the crowd reached 180 km/h. Now, Maserati is mature to start the experience like constructor.
- The year after, in 1926, Maserati receives on payment some DIATTO Type 30 sport chassis, equipped with 8C engines, gears, suspensions and many mechanical parts. With these DIATTO rolling chassis and the vast technical and sporting know-how inherited from the DIATTO Racing Team, Maserati builds the first sports cars with the ‘Maserati’ brand (sources: 1985 - French magazine “Le Fanauto”, Automobile, Jenuary 1998, etc.)
- 1906-1932-PALAMRES DIATTO: 300 TIMES ON THE PODIUM. - (Sources: Motori, Aero, Cicli & Sports; L'Auto Italiana; L'Automobile; La Manovella; Auto d'Epoca; The Automobile; The automotor Journal; Le fanatique de l'automobile; Incontri; ecc.).
- Diatto, with the 4 cylindres, 2-6 litre - 20S/2000; 20H-S/6000; 23S/2300; 26S/2600; 30S/300; 35SS/3500 - and GP 8 cylinders with compressor, 2-4 litre - 20SSMB/2000; 40MM/4000; 40BTS/4000; 40BTF/4000 -, AND with the greatest drivers of the time, Alfieri and Ernesto Maserati, Tazio Nuvolari, Marquis Diego De Sterlich, Count Gastone Brilli Peri, Countess Maria Antonietta Avanzo, the brothers Franz and Carlo Alberto Conelli, Cesare Schieppati, Emilio Materassi, Guido Meregalli, Giulio Aymini, Domenico Gamboni and many others, conquers the podium in;
- France-The Tourism Cup, Limonest Race (2 times), Cannes Cup ... Germany-Herkomer Race... England-Brooklands 6-hour race, Essex Car Club, International Competition of England ... Russia-St. Petersburg–Moscow rally ... Spain-Tourism Grand Prix, Barcelona Grand Prix (5 times)... Sweden-Swedish Grand prix ... Switzerland-European Grand Prix, Lugano-San Gottardo, The Geneva Meet, Flying Kilometre at Geneva, International Competition of Switzerland .... North Africa-Tunis-Tripoli Rally ...
- Italy,at Monza: the 24 Ore, Gran Premio d’Autunno, Coppa Internazionale, Coppa dei Re, Coppa Ascari, Gran Premio della Notte,
- and than, Mugello (3 times), Circuito di Mantova, Susa-Moncenisio (5 times), Coppa d’oro del Turismo, Trento-Bondone, Gran Premio città di Bologna, Criterium di Roma (3 times), Corsa Rocca di Roffeno, Pontedecimo-Giovi, Circuito Apuano, Milan-San Remo, Coppa delle colline Pistoiesi (5 times), Vittorio Veneto-Cansiglio, Gran Premio d’Inverno, Coppa delle Alpi (2 times), Circuito di Belfiore, Circuito del lago di Garda (3 times), Record del Miglio, Circuito Principe di Piemonte, Aosta -Gran S. Bernardo (5 times), Circuito del Savio, Trieste-Opicina, Coppa Caffaro, Circuito di Rimini, Coppa Nissena, Circuito dei monti Cimini, Parma-Poggio di Berceto (5 times), Coppa di Natale, Vernicino-Rocca di Papa (3 times), Biella-Oropa, Coppa Monte Nero (3 times), Terni-Passo della Somma (3 times), Gara della Merluzza, Circuito del Tempio Canoviano, Cuneo-Colle della Maddalena, Sorrento-San’Agata, Corsa di Porto Recanati, Imperia-Colle di Nava, Coppa Tre Venezie(2 times), Circuito di Alessandria, Circuito di Reggio Calabria, Coppa e Circuito di Verona, Coppa Conegliano Veneto, Padova-Bovolenta, Circuito Toscano, Coppa Consuma (3 times), Circuito dell’Italia centrale, Gran Premio Gentleman, Coppa della Sila, Giro di Sicilia and the Targa e Coppa Florio (4 times)...
- Diatto is considered one of the oldest luxury sport brand in the world, amongst the car manufactures.
DIATTO TODAY. Diatto presented the new Diatto "Ottovù" Zagato-design at Geneva motor show in 2007. Diatto is ranked amongst the most renowned supercars in the world, by international press;
Italy: AUTO DIGEST (road test Diatto Ottovù): "Diatto is a brand with an historic heritage, without doubt, gigantic; its industrial adventure has reached results not yet equal by any global automobile brand"
CORRIERE DELLA SERA, The magnificent Three : Bugatti Veyron - Diatto Zagato - Ferrari 612
PROGRESSAUTO, MOTOR, AUTO, AUTOMOBILISMO, AL VOLANTE, AUTO CAPITAL, AUTO OGGI, AUTOCAR, LA PROVINCIA, LA STAMPA, OGGI, QUATTRORUOTE, IL SOLE 24 ORE, AUTOSPRINT, IL SECOLO, LA MIA AUTO, LA MANOVELLA, AUTO D’EPOCA
UK: THE NEWS OF THE WORLD has linked DIATTO to the famous actor Matt Damon who plays the spy Jason Bourne, just as the Aston Martin is linked to James Bond
AUTO & DESIGN, AUTONEWS EUROPE, AUTONEWS, EUROPE CAR MAGAZINE, BUSINESS PEOPLE
Japan: SUPER CG, the important Japanese automobile magazine, in the same month, published the articles “Diatto Ottovù” and “Bugatti Veyron”
CLASSIC CAR: road test of a 1923 Diatto 20 from a Japanese collection
Russia: ITALIA, AUTOMOBILI; Switzerland: MOTOR, ILLUSTRAZIONE TICINESE; Germany: AUTOZEITUNG France: L’AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, AUTOHEBDO, ETC.
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