Fascinating Story of Lancia, Engineer De Virgilio to be Told at Racing Research Center on May 9
Italian automotive manufacturer Lancia has a long history of innovation leading to cars recognized as among the most technically advanced in the industry, and its story will be told in May at the International Motor Racing Research Center.
Geoff Goldberg, author of “Lancia and De Virgilio, At the Center,” will speak on Saturday, May 9, about the Lancia company in post-World War II Italy and how Lancia engineers defined a company during its greatest years.
The free Center Conversations talk will start at 1 p.m. The Racing Research Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.
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“It is many stories: the reinvention of the company after World War II, the role of the Lancia family in the company and their 1950s competition efforts,” Goldberg says of his book published in 2014 by David Bull Publishing, with support from the Revs Institute for Automotive Research in Naples, Fla.
Goldberg uses the documents of Francesco De Virgilio, a leading engineer at Lancia, and his breakthrough with a successful design of the V6 engine, previously believed unworkable. De Virgilio’s solution was central to Lancia’s Aurelia, introduced in 1950, and to its sports racers which dominated both the Carrera Panamericana and the Mille Miglia.
“The story of Engineer De Virgilio and Lancia during his most productive years cuts across and interweaves the disparate genres of history to produce a work that, at bottom, examines the life and work of a 20th-century technical man in the fullest context of his personal and professional roles,” Revs Institute President Miles C. Collier writes in the preface to Goldberg’s book.
De Virgilio was born in southern Italy, married into the Lancia family and remained at the center of Lancia for more than 35 years. He headed its racing team in the early 1950s, was involved in the Stratos in the 1970s, and finished his career consulting for Alfa Romeo on its racing engines.
Deeply committed to full design, Lancia had complete in-house engineering, machining and manufacturing plants, foundries and even its own schools and an international distribution network. With more than 5,000 employees, Lancia developed a unique approach to manufacturing, inventively bridging between craftsmanship and large-scale industrial production.
Goldberg, a Chicago architect and long-time Lancia Aurelia owner, spent seven years researching the book with full access to the De Virgilio family archives. He drew on unique documents and never-seen-before images, many of which he will show during his talk.
The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call (607) 535-9044. The Center also is on Facebook at “International Motor Racing Research Center” and on Twitter at “@IMRRCatWG.”
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