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BIANCHI, Milan, Italy, 1897-1955


The BIANCHI company was one of the first fairly large European automobile manufacturers and at the same time the least known among them. Like many companies, BIANCHI started with the production of bicycles, the high reputation of which was created by the most famous cyclist Fausto Coppi in Italy.
It all started in 1885, when 20-year-old Eduardo Bianchi opened a workshop in Milan for the production of bicycles, wheelchairs and precision tools. The products were a great success, which allowed Bianchi to move into a more spacious room after three years. There he established a larger production of bicycles, on which pneumatic tires were installed for the first time in Italy.
In 1890, he introduced tricycles, and after 7 years he put a light motor on one of them. Obviously, this allowed him in 1897 to establish the joint-stock company "Cars and Bicycles Eduardo Bianchi". A real 4-wheel car came out of the gates of his company two years later.
All the first BIANCHI cars copied French models, which many Italian companies did not escape. These were light cars with single and two-cylinder engines on a tubular frame with a cardan drive of the drive wheels.
Apparently, the first-born of BIANCHI were lucky, since in 1902 the company again moved to more modern workshops. "BIANCHI" offered at that time a very wide range of cars with various engines (from one to four cylinders) equipped with flat cellular radiators. Since April 1, 1905, the official name of the company has changed. It sounded like this - "Eduardo Bianchi Automobile and Bicycle Factory".
That year, the car designer Giuseppe Merosi came to the company, who later became famous for Alfa Romeo. For BIANCHI, he created a 120-horsepower racing car with an overhead 4-cylinder engine with a working volume of 8 liters, ingloriously participating in the 1907 Florio Cup and Emperor Cup competitions. Unfortunately, Bianchi chose the wrong moment for his appearance: it was the time of the more advanced and almost invincible cars “FIAT”, “Mercedes” and “Isotta Fraschini”.
Despite the failure in the sports field, the BIANCHI factory worked at full capacity. With the outbreak of war, military orders for armored vehicles, trucks and 6-cylinder aircraft engines came.
After the establishment of peace, Italy's automotive industry faced an economic and social crisis that swept the whole country. To get out of this difficult situation, it was necessary to begin mass production of an inexpensive people's car. Two small 4-cylinder models Tipo-12 and Tipo-15 were launched at BIANCHI.
In 1922, the company surprised the automotive world with its announcement of returning to big motorsport. To participate in the race for the Grand Prize of Italy, a car was prepared with a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine with two overhead camshafts and double ignition, which developed a power of over 90 hp. at 6000 rpm The original was the handbrake acting on the front wheels. But everything repeated again: the more powerful and experienced Fiat and Alfa Romeo prevented BIANCHI from succeeding.
In 1925, the S-4 was launched with a 1.3-liter engine, but the car was not accepted by customers. In 1928 it was replaced by a more sophisticated and powerful "S-5".
At the end of the 1920s, BIANCHI repeated the mistake of many European companies trying to create new light cars by copying large American multi-liter structures. This is how the "S-8" was created, designed mainly for export. The subsequent collapse of the New York Stock Exchange and the economic crisis nullified all its chances.
Introduced in 1934, the S-9 was the last production BIANCHI passenger car. During the Second World War, the company produced everything except cars - army trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, stationary engines, etc. At the end of the war, they became the main ones in its activity, and cars appeared only in 1955, with the formation of the new automobile company Autobianchi.

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