Castagna Vittoria

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Even though you may think that my taste in vehicles is on the "batshit insane" side of the scale, I don't actually often feature vehicles I really like on #bcotd—partly because a lot of what I like isn't all that weird, and partly because I tend to get too emotionally invested in defending my choice of motor car.

I wasn't going to write about the Castagna Vittoria, a car somewhere around 90 in my list of 100 cars I really like. In my mind, the Vittoria is roughly equivalent to the Alfa Romeo SZ it's based on, and I wouldn't want to pick one over the other…unless, of course, I find out I'm a Rockerfeller and can take both home.

I was reminded of the car when I saw this page, which shows photos of the car in a dented, disused state—even if the car isn't your cup of tea, it's still a shame to see. (That said, it was subsequently restored and seen in 2012 at Techno Classica Essen in much nicer condition.)

Yes, it's a rebodied Alfa Romeo SZ, with the then-reborn Castagna using its more swoopy take on the car in order to drum up sales for its coachbuilding business. It debuted at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show to little admiration.

To me, the Vittoria always looked like the next SZ, and 20 years later it echoes current styling trends pretty well. Without a body-coloured lower "jaw", the car looks both odd and, to my eyes, pretty serious about hitting the race track next weekend. Out back, a (mostly) hidden light bar sits above more carbon trim.

It's as if Castagna draped a white sheet over the car and didn't quite pull it taught.

No matter: underneath, its driver would get the same 3.0-litre V6 from the 75 but upgraded over stock, with a reported 320 horsepower to play with. It suspension and brakes were revised as well, even though contemporary road testers found the SZ quite capable in the handling department.

Bankrolled by the Castagna financier Uberto Pietra and named after his daughter, longtime Castagna designer Gioacchino Acampora is the one who put pen to paper and create this love-it-or-hate-it one-off. 

Two things that put it firmly into the 'love' category, at least for me: 18-inch magnesium alloy wheels…and a full green interior. See? My tastes aren't that strange…

(For much, much, much more on the car, go here.)

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