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Lancia and De Virgilio, At the Center has been reviewed broadly:

New York Times
On Dec. 14, the NYT published an extensive article on De Virgilio, giving him proper credit for the design of the V6 engine. Kevin Cameron (a very learned engineer) called him the da Vinci of the V6, discussing engineering, Lancia as a company and De Virgilio as a designer, writing:

“De Virgilio’s career is chronicled in a new, generously illustrated book, “Lancia and De Virgilio at the Center,” by Geoffrey Goldberg (David Bull Publishing, 2014). The book has the graceful quality and range of an artist’s biography, properly treating De Virgilio’s entire life as relevant to his work. He is depicted with his family, at work and at the racetrack.”

The article and a slide show of images from the book can be found at:
Working in Postwar Italy, He Was the da Vinci of the V6

Italian Press: la Repubblica
Following the NYT article on Dec. 14, 2014, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica ran an article on the book on Dec. 26. Their review was written by Alfio Manganero, who worked for Lancia in the 1980s and knew the engineer: De Virgilio, “il Leonardo da Vinci del motore V6”

>De Virgilio, “il Leonardo da Vinci del motore V6

Classic and Sports Car
In September, 2014, they called it their “book of the month” :

“The design of the fabulous Lancia Aurelia is often credited to Vittorio Jano, but this quality volume sets out to highlight the key contribution made by the little-known engineer Francesco De Virgilio, who married the niece of Lancia founder Vincenzo. Dedicated marque fanatic Geoffrey Goldberg, a Chicago-based architect, has dug deep with six years of research that included access to the engineer’s family archives in Turin.

As well as an in-depth study of the V6’s development through a wealth of design sketches, blueprints, and testing records, Goldberg also covers the Aurelia’s often colorful competition career, as well as De Virgilio’s work on the D50 Grand prix machines, the Appia, and the Stratos.Continuing David Bull Publishing’s high standard of design, this handsome title is beautifully produced, and has a wealth of never-before-published photographs of life inside Lancia. A vivid insight into the career of a 1950s automotive engineer.”

Motor Press Guild
This group reviews the automotive books each year, awarding the best the “Dean Batchelor Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.” Lancia and De Virgilio, At the Center was one of three finalists in December, with this year’s award going to Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500 by Art Garner.

VeloceToday
in October, this on-line site published two reviews, one by Nigel Trow, the other by the site editor Pete Vack. There were also some interesting comments following the reviews.
Nigel Trow on Veloce
Lancia and The Great Divide by Pete Vack

Nigel Trow’s penetrating review includes a lot of information, and it is recommended that one read it in its entirety. Here are excerpts from it:

“Geoff Goldberg’s illuminating book, Lancia and De Virgilio – At the Center, fleshes out those conversations wonderfully, providing an unusually intimate portrait of the man and the company during the last decade of Lancia family ownership. This is the proper stuff of history, which always concerns human activity and its consequences. Happily, this newest addition to Lancia literature offers not only significant insights into the company itself, but is an example of how the whole field of automobile history might be re-vivified.
It begins with people, with charming, beautifully printed pictures of the deeply Piedmontese Lancia family absorbing a young Calabrese engineer, Francesco De Virgilio, through his marriage to Rita, niece of Vincenzo, the company’s founder. However, despite becoming a member of the Lancia family early in his career, he was never privileged, achieving his importance to the company through the creative inventiveness and competence meticulously documented by Goldberg.
In concentrating on a single, previously unsung engineer and his lifetime’s work for an historic Italian motor manufacturer, this beautiful book emphasizes the place of the personal in industrial life. The best known of his many achievements was the successful balancing of the V6 crankshaft, a tale Goldberg tells with the enthusiasm of a lifelong Aurelia owner. He also proves to be a generous author, as the inclusion of John Cundy’s succinct technical account of this matter ably demonstrates. Incorporating this engineering essay, written in layman’s language, is characteristic of the fluid format of the book, which moves out from a conventional linear time line to a more relational pattern where differing aspects of De Virgilio’s life and work come together outside the chronology.
Lancia and De Virgilio is a distinctive labour of love framed by scholarship. It is particularly distinctive in its generous use of De Virgilio’s sketches, workings-out and correspondence, which, coupled with fine reproductions of factory engineering drawings extend the readers understanding and pleasure. The sheer volume of fresh and stimulating material gathered together by the author and his collaborators is remarkable, providing any serious student of automobile history with much to think about, and question. The extensive, well laid out references are ample demonstration of his intention.
It would be optimistic to hope that many books such as this might be published in the future. The web’s offer of instant gratification is too strong, and e books give easy, inexpensive information. They never provide the pleasures of texture, weight and heft found here, however. Lancia and De Virgilio is for book lovers as well as petrol heads. If my own forthcoming book, Maserati – The Family Silver, shares half its qualities, I shall be a happy man.”

Australian Lancia Club,
In July, 2014, the book was reviewed by Bill Jamieson (author of the highly regarded Capolavoro on the Lambda), with an  excerpt below:
“In short, this is a book to be recommended. The writing style is fluent; the research is careful and detailed; the illustrations are abundant and well-chosen; the index is comprehensive. Of course, every Aurelia owner should have a copy, but it is equally attractive to all those with an interest in the Lancia story.”
Australian Lancia Club review

Vintage Motorsport,
In their Nov./Dec. 2014 issue, Steve Snyder wrote the following comments:
“Why write a book focused on the postwar history of Lancia, one of Italy’s great automotive manufacturers and relate this era to a designer-engineer? Four years after joining Lancia in Feb. of 1939, Francesco De Virgilio took the challenge of making a previously unusable V-6 engine to run smoothly by designing it with correct balance. The success of this endeavor led to the production of the world’s first V-6 in the Lancia Aurelia in 1950. With De Virgilio’s further development, this engine powered a series of international race winning Lancia cars. To document and write this history, Geoffrey Goldberg spent many years in research primarily by having won the confidence of the De Virgilio family in Torino, Italy. This original material gives this book it’s credence. In keeping with Grif Borgeson’s approach in his book Bugatti (1981), Geoff has gone directly to the source thus no mythology or fluff.”

Victory Lane, October 2014, Dan Davis:
“This book presents the very very detailed and illustrated story of family, corporate and technical decisions as few other books ever have. It is based on volumes of De Virgilio’s papers, as well as Lancias’s archives. This is a book to read and save as a great automotive technical and human story.”

Motorsport, October 2014, unsigned:
“When I first drove a Lancia Aurelia I was astonished at how sophisticated it was. Much of the credit belongs to Francesco De Virgilio, a brilliant Lancia engineer whose career spanned wartime scout vehicles up to the LC2 GpC prototype. Engineers aren’t much in the spotlight, so it takes a book like this to illuminate the hidden genius of a man like De Virgilio, who solved the problems of the V6 engine, devised anti-roll suspension, built race engines, worked on a 4WD system for the D50 Grand Prix car, and planned the early Stratos. Using much personal material including notebooks, sketches and many drawings this is heavily focused on the technical, carefully explaining the balance problems De Virgilio defeated for the Aurelia engine, and if your physics isn’t strong you’ll struggle. But generous photographs, especially in the section on his personal life, well illustrate the life of a man who worked with Jano and Villoresi, whom Ferrari tried repeatedly to poach, and who put as much effort into truck engines as racing units. Production quality is up to Bull’s usual high standards.”

Amazon
They have a few reader comments, fun to read, one of the comments reads:
“Most complete and thorough book on the subject I have yet seen. A technical book and an historical book disguised as a biography. Very well done.”
Lancia and De Virgilio on Amazon

 

 

Written by Geoff

December 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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