Bianchi (IVF Fabbrica Italiana Velocipedi Edoardo Bianchi)
Automotive manufacturer Milan Italy 1885
Bianchi known as Fabbrica Italiana Velocipedi Edoardo Bianchi once also a major Italian automobile and motorcycle manufacturer, founded in Milan in 1885 by Edoardo Bianchi later as AutoBianchi.
Bianchi was first born as a small workshop for the construction and repair of earl velocipedes cycles, the company's activity expanded, from 1899, to the motorized vehicle sectors, initially through the production of motorcycles and subsequently of cars, under the corporate name of Fabbrica Automobile e Velocipedi Edoardo Bianchi.
Edoardo Bianchi is said to have made a motor quadricycle as early as 1889, and his first true car followed in 1899.This was a voiturette with a single cylinder of French De Dion origin, a tubular frame dating from Bianchi's interest in the bicycles which he had built since 1885, coil ignition and shaft drive. This little car made small impression even in Italy, but the same could not be said for the Giuseppe Merosi-designed Bianchi’s that followed in 1904. From then until 1909 they were big, well made, conventional machines with four pair-cast cylinders, side valves in a T head, low-tension magneto ignition, steel frames, honeycomb radiators, four forward speeds, and double-chain drive—in other words, they followed the Mercedes pattern closely.
By 1901 Edoardo Bianchi concentrated a good part of his time in the design of an elegant small car, the Bianchi 8 HP and by in 1903 Bianchi began the manufacture of a series of exclusive cars, reserved for a wealthy clientele, handcrafted and with quality materials and finishes, among the first luxury cars in the world to populate city streets, until then travelled only by horse- drawn carriages, wagons, and steam powered trams. Soon after Guiseppe Merosi joined Bianchi as engineer to develop the motorcar side of the business. In 1902, Bianchi moved into a new factory in the via Ninio Bixio, and the first Bianchi with a four-cylinder engine appeared in 1904, Most of Bianchi's output consisted of touring cars, though in 1907 a J20 hp racing car with a
oversquare 7992 cc four-cylinder engine with overhead valves competed without any major success in the Coppa Florio and Kaiserpreis. A 6424-cc derivative ran in the Targa Bologna in 1908; the Bianchi competition drivers were Carlo Maserati (eldest of the six fratel/I Maserati) and Edoardo Bianchi's right-hand man, Gian Fernando Tomaselli.
Driven by the constant growth of its activities, the company rapidly implemented important investments also in the industrial field, adding a new factory in Viale Abruzzi to the first factory in via Bixio in Milan, and in 1906 a production site in Brescia, intended solely for the construction of trucks; but given the reduced sales margins in this first phase of his experience in the field of industrial vehicles, the same was closed in 1908. However, in the following years Bianchi received numerous awards, nationally and internationally, such as the " Gran Prix" at an event held in Buenos Aires as well as the "diploma" from the Ministry of Industry at the Turin International Exhibition (1911) the year in which he was also present at the London Exhibition.
Shaft drive began to replace chain in 1909 (the year in which Merosijoined the new ALFA company), though the massive 70/ 80 hp of 1911, with an overhead cam 9557 cc engine, was still chain-driven. Prior to this Bianchi had built huge side-valve fours of 11,305 cc and 10,598 cc; their smallest pre-Great War machine was an 8/12 hp four of just 1244 cc.
By 1914 the company also still produced bicycles, and motorcycles and also the time active in the field of aircraft engine manufacturing. From the outset, Bianchi dedicated itself to cycle racing, then car racing and, from the 1920s, to motorcycling. The 4390 cc Tipo C of 1912—15 with a sporting 'Prince Henry' variant catalogued in 1913.The 1920s saw the continuation of production of cars a popular overhead-valve 1287 cc four-cylinder was current in 1925-7. A 2731 cc straight-eight, the V3, was built from 1928—9, with a derivative, the 2905 cc S8, current from 1930—34. The ultimate Bianchi, the S9, was a 1452 cc four, offered with streamlined "Viareggio" saloon coachwork.
Car production having been interrupted in conjunction with the outbreak of the Second World War (the last model in the price list was the famous Bianchi S9), the company intensified its work processes in the mechanical sectors, Officine Metallurgiche Edoardo Bianchi, which became particularly important in the Desio factory, inaugurated in 1937. Also expanding the activities in the field of trucks and vehicles for military use, developing the Miles among many examples, in addition to the Supermil 500 three-wheeler and the VM 6C special vehicle and for the Royal Italian Army. Continuing the supply of bus chassis to some companies in the sector, until the bombings undermined the production processes in the factories, above all in the production centre in viale Abruzzi, which turned out to be the hardest hit. Attempts to revive Bianchi production with new designs after World War II failed, partly because of the great demand for bicycles and motorcycles, partly through the high cost of developing new cars.
After the war, despite the economic and managerial difficulties that arose following the death of the founder Edoardo, Bianchi managed to recover, contributing to the reconstruction and motorization of Italy with the Bianchi na, a 125 cm³ light motorcycle and the Aquilotto , a moped whose loose engine was also available for sale to be applied to bicycles. Trying to venture into the marketing of small goods transport vehicles, with the Supermil 49 three-wheeler model, presented in 1948 and equipped with a brand new 500 cm³ and 18 HP power unit. Although linked to a niche production and relatively limited to the construction of trucks (including the models: Audax , CM 54 , Fiumaro and Visconteo ), in the mid- fifties became an independent company partly controlled by the company and after an initial union of forces with Pirelli and Fiat , which gave birth to Autobianchi in 1955 , allowing the company to return to the car sector, was totally sold to the other two partners together with the Desio plant in 1958 .However, the marque was revived in 1955 with Fiat and Pirelli backing, as Autobianch.
In 1958 Bianchi, transformed to all intents and purposes into a financial group made up of various companies, ceased operations in the historic headquarters in viale Abruzzi, selling the ownership of the area to a real estate company, which built a residential complex instead of the factory buildings.
The assembly lines of the cycling and motorcycle branches are transferred with those of the Edoardo Bianchi Metallurgical Workshops to an industrial portion of the former Caproni Air Force in via Fantoli, a Milanese district on the outskirts of Taliedo .Shortly thereafter, the profound crisis in the motorcycle sector of the 1960s caused Bianchi to enter a serious financial crisis, which at the end of 1964 led to the company's declaration of liquidation; sanctioning, at the same time, the conclusion of each corporate division born from the spin-off of Officine Metallurgiche Edoardo Bianchi.
Today it is part of the Swedish group Cycleurope AB and mass production no longer takes place in Italy, where part of the design and assembly of high-end models has been maintained.
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