The Alca Volpe
A tiny Italian-built “Fox” with very grown-up styling.
The very attractive, tiny Volpe, which means fox, was an attempt to enter the Italian small car market with an even smaller vehicle than the Fiat Topolino. There was a ready market for such a four-wheeled vehicle in a country filled with a spirit of optimism and thousands of citizens anxious to experience a newfound freedom.
There was a spectacular introduction for the car held at a theatre in Rome on March 30, 1947, featuring the famous comic Erminio Macario. The press was enthusiastic with orders, and deposits followed. The sleek, flowing lines and masterfully-shaped curves emulated much larger cars while retaining proportions very well for such a short wheelbase. The tall, narrow grille was reminiscent of the post-war Alfa Romeos.
The gearbox was an electromagnetic pre-selector, and the motor was apparently designed by Gioachino Colombo, the renowned designer of Ferrari engines. It was a 124-cubic centimeter twin with crankcase compression directed to the head via two external pipes. Supply problems ensued, and it is likely no motors were ever delivered and no running cars were ever built, and legal battles followed over missing bank deposits. This rare car is restored as original, without the motor it never received.