1910 Bianchi Model G Open Driver Landaulette Limousine

1910 Bianchi Model G Open Driver Landaulette Limousine

The oldest bicycle manufacturer in the world that is still in existence is Bianchi Bicycles. Founded in 1885 it was a pioneer in using equal sized wheels and pneumatic tires.The company was created by a 21-year-old medical tool manufacturer named Edoardo Bianchi and by the turn of the century this forward thinking was looking toward expanding into the manufacture of automobiles.

In 1899 the firm built its first passenger car. The leap from bikes to automobiles at the time wasn't as large as it would be today. The frames were both wood and steel. Each used pneumatic tires which were powered with a chain drive. The one thing Bianchi had to develop from scratch was an engine. The first and most successful was a four cylinder model that would be enhanced over the years.

From the start all Bianchis were high end luxury cars designed for the owners to be chauffeured around. In this way the driver's compartments were rather sparse since this was to be where the "help" rode. The back, though, was another story. There were many luxury appointments including the ability to be fully enclosed if the car was an open model like the 1910 Model G Open Driver shown here. There was also a speaking tube which allowed the passengers in the rear to speak to the driver.

Two World Wars and a depression made the task of manufacturing luxury cars very difficult. At times Bianchi paid more attention to the bicycle side of the company. When founder Edoardo died in a car accident in 1946, his son Giuseppe took over the firm. The post WW II economics forced Bianchi to stop manufacturing cars all together.

Cars were still in the blood of many top Bianchi employees. When research showed that there was still a market for Bianchi cars, albeit not as luxury sedans, the firm turned to Fiat who, along with Pirelli formed the Autobianchi company in 1955. In 1968 Bianchi faced economic problems in its motorcycle division and sold out completely to Fiat and Autobianchi was gradually merged into the newly acquired Lancia line.

This limousine has a fascinating story behind it. Built in Italy for a wealthy American living in a small village in Switzerland.

He returned to America following the Stock Market Crash, and his banker in Switzerland wound up with the car. Following the banker's passing, his widow sold the car to a junk man, who stripped the car of its brass fixtures, and put the body beneath an awning.

In 1953, a teenager from California who was visiting Switzerland with his parents wandered through the junkyard and discovered the car. He convinced his parents to buy the car and ship it to California, where he restored it.

Descriptions & pictures by turnerbudds-carblog & justacarguy.blogspot & flickr & reddit & other

Production Start 1910
Country of origin Italy