Effeffe Berlinetta: A Car Of Yesterday, Conceived Today

Effeffe Berlinetta is inspired by the great Italian sports cars of the past; a two-seat Coupé car born today, but respecting the technical ideas and concepts of more than half a century ago. Besides an intensive manual manufacturing process, all the latest technologies appear in this project, supported by the passion of the multidisciplinary expertise of SolidWorld Srl, SOLIDWORKS Italian distributor.

At the beginning of the ’60s in Italy, over five hundred craftsmen—some well-known, others relatively unknown—were engaged in automobile construction; not only in the traditional region of Emilia-Romagna (later known as ‘motor valley’), but also in Milan, Naples, Turin, Palermo. During this time, many home garages hosted motor sport activities. Before becoming a legend, Ferrari itself was born in an anonymous garage in Modena, as well as Osca, Maserati, Stanguellini, Siata, Moretti and many other brands now gone.

As a result of this passion for automobiles, the philosophy of “gentlemen drivers” grew. The concept was driving a car that would accommodate their significant others or families during the week, but also transform into a slick racing machine on Sundays. Virtually every week there was a race in which to participate; the most famous of which was the Mille Miglia (www.millemiglia.it).

An Adventure Begins

A passion for cars in general and, in particular, for GranTurismo from that era in Italian sports cars has been burning over the decades in Vittorio and Leonardo Frigerio, two contractor brothers from Verano Brianza (Milan). The brothers’ highest aspiration was to build one of these classic vehicles from scratch, perhaps taking advantage of developments in technology.

Word spread of the brothers’ mission and instead of thinking it crazy, people were very enthusiastic and many wanted to help. In addition to young fans, many older, former racing professionals (even some involved with Alfa Romeo) were soon part of the team. A great adventure for a bunch of friends from 30 to 80 years old, working at night, on Saturdays and Sundays soon began and Effeffe Berlinetta was on its way to the open road.

The Frigerio brothers stated, “many people provided us with their time and experience for free. From the beginning, we rode the spirit of master Italian motorists and chassis experts of the fifties and sixties. The only possible approach in manufacturing a car by craftsmen is the iron tube frame; in fact, the load-bearing coachwork assumes too high of investments, typical of the large-scale industry. Sixty years ago the fashionable scheme was that of a small boat (“barchetta”), for example, the Fiat 1100, then the Alfa. They used just the frame, no roof, no windshield, two seats, a hull, that’s all. Besides, Ferrari built its cars with elliptical section tubes for decades.”

The Technological Partners

It wouldn’t be possible to complete the project in a short time frame without the use of information technology. The “missing link” was found by accident, during one of team’s weekend meetings. A skilled CAD designer and one of the first SOLIDWORKS users in Italy, Carlo Sirtori, was a welcome addition to the team. Today he’s working with SolidWorld Srl, the original core of The3DGroup, a group of Italian companies supporting the entire digital “chain” as the most efficient way to bring designers from idea to objects.

Much of the work at the beginning was done during the free time of everyone involved in the Effeffe “adventure,” but soon the group was strongly committed to support the idea of Frigerio brothers, and providing them with resources and manpower. Sirtori completely designed the chassis and mechanics of the car in SOLIDWORKS using various features of the software, starting with the development of the structure in “weldments,” then continuing with 3D solid modeling functions, with brackets and plates processing in the “sheet metal” module.

SOLIDWORKS solutions cover all aspects of Effeffe Berlinetta’s product development process, including verification, sustainable design, communication and data management, through an integrated and continuous workflow so the team can reduce cycle times and increase productivity.

With the team and technology in place, the Effeffe Berlinetta was well on its way to gearing up for the open road. In Part II, the team will discuss in detail how SOLIDWORKS was used to design everything from the vehicle’s frame and engine to its incredible bodywork and look.

Giancarlo Giannangeli

Giancarlo Giannangeli is senior Multimedia Communication & Marketing freelance consultant in IT & Mechanics. He’s been working for decades with many firms in Italy and has written hundreds of articles on Italian press. Currently he’s editor for Tecn’è and Tecnologie Meccaniche magazines.