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Alfa Romeo engineer Giuseppe Busso passed away


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#1 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 18:36

I happen to learn this evening that Giuseppe Busso passed away yesterday night in Arese, aged 92.

There’s no need to recall to Alfisti how important Giuseppe Busso has been for the postwar history of Alfa Romeo: just remember he has been responsible for every mechanical design on production and most competition Alfas from 1948 to the mid-seventies, except for the Alfasud, but including the currently running-out-of-production classic V6 engine.

All those who drive classic Alfas or have once driven one of the traditional Alfa-Nord, from the 1900 to the SZ-ES30, including the Giulietta, Giulia, Alfetta, 75, etc. should be aware they owe that experience to Giuseppe Busso.

Giuseppe Busso first went to work for Alfa Romeo in the immediate pre-war era, in the aeronautical engines experience department. He became soon a close friend of Orazio Satta, but also an admirer of the much-contested Spanish engineer Wifredo Ricart. Busso had to spend part of the war on the Lago d’Orta, where the design department flew to escape bombings on the Portello factory, and worked on Ricart-led project such as the 28-cylinder aero engine Tipo 1101 and the Gazzella post-war automobile prototype. When the war ended, Busso first thought to follow Ricart back to Spain and collaborate to the yet-to-come Pegaso aventure, but, while it was not sure if and when Alfa Romeo could resume serious automotive design and construction, Busso eventually chose to shortly leave Alfa for Ferrari. At the end, his links to the Portello prevailed, and when Satta told him Alfa had new plans to build a new range of cars, he resigned from Maranello and came back to Milan.

But it cannot be hidden that his strong character in many occasions collided with other relevant peoples he used to work with. His criticism toward Gioacchino Colombo had already been expressed in former articles of him, but his book of memories features an unusual hard look at Vittorio Jano. His passion for light aviation and holidays spent with his co-owned airplane (when his position at Alfa allowed him such entertainment, which took many years) have been revealed in his book, and he also gives a very interesting look at the life conditions in Italy during the war – 50 or even hundreds of kilometres on bicycle were then the only way to visit family or for business travels.

Busso left Alfa Romeo in late 1977, after he had succeeded with Satta in fixing all the teething problems of such an advanced car as the Alfetta, but them both having been unable to accept that the Alfasud had been designed completely beyond any input of them. In 1976, he had the bitter satisfaction that his latest engine, code 152, ran on the bench. It should have been the next generation of Alfa engine, for both FWD and RWD cars to come.

To give a sample of Busso’s personality and style, it may be worth quoting his resignation letter to Alfa’s Chairman, Dec.16th, 1977: “[…] Endless, unconclusive discussions are not, and have never been my cup of tea. As long as the situations and people responsible for Alfa Romeo’s current stall will exist, Alfa doesn’t need me. I apologize if I’m late with you; but one or two weeks lost by my fault are nothing compared to the time Alfa has already wasted, and even less when one thinks to the time it’s going to waste in a predictable future.”

It’s an important piece of the history of Alfa Romeo who will be missing from now.

For those wanting to learn more on the character, his life and achievement, I can recommend reading:
GIUSEPPE BUSSO, Nel Cuore dell’Alfa, Automobilia, Milano, 2005, € 24, 142 pp., Italian text. (usual disclaimer)

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#2 dretceterini

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 20:17

Patrick:

You you have an address I can send a card to? I last saw Busso in 1987, and my friend Dave Mericle Jr met him and got and interview in the late 1980s.

Stu

#3 angst

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 21:44

Originally posted by Patrick Italiano
I happen to learn this evening that Giuseppe Busso passed away yesterday night in Arese, aged 92.

There’s no need to recall to Alfisti how important Giuseppe Busso has been for the postwar history of Alfa Romeo: just remember he has been responsible for every mechanical design on production and most competition Alfas from 1948 to the mid-seventies, except for the Alfasud, but including the currently running-out-of-production classic V6 engine.

All those who drive classic Alfas or have once driven one of the traditional Alfa-Nord, from the 1900 to the SZ-ES30, including the Giulietta, Giulia, Alfetta, 75, etc. should be aware they owe that experience to Giuseppe Busso.

Giuseppe Busso first went to work for Alfa Romeo in the immediate pre-war era, in the aeronautical engines experience department. He became soon a close friend of Orazio Satta, but also an admirer of the much-contested Spanish engineer Wifredo Ricart. Busso had to spend part of the war on the Lago d’Orta, where the design department flew to escape bombings on the Portello factory, and worked on Ricart-led project such as the 28-cylinder aero engine Tipo 1101 and the Gazzella post-war automobile prototype. When the war ended, Busso first thought to follow Ricart back to Spain and collaborate to the yet-to-come Pegaso aventure, but, while it was not sure if and when Alfa Romeo could resume serious automotive design and construction, Busso eventually chose to shortly leave Alfa for Ferrari. At the end, his links to the Portello prevailed, and when Satta told him Alfa had new plans to build a new range of cars, he resigned from Maranello and came back to Milan.

But it cannot be hidden that his strong character in many occasions collided with other relevant peoples he used to work with. His criticism toward Gioacchino Colombo had already been expressed in former articles of him, but his book of memories features an unusual hard look at Vittorio Jano. His passion for light aviation and holidays spent with his co-owned airplane (when his position at Alfa allowed him such entertainment, which took many years) have been revealed in his book, and he also gives a very interesting look at the life conditions in Italy during the war – 50 or even hundreds of kilometres on bicycle were then the only way to visit family or for business travels.

Busso left Alfa Romeo in late 1977, after he had succeeded with Satta in fixing all the teething problems of such an advanced car as the Alfetta, but them both having been unable to accept that the Alfasud had been designed completely beyond any input of them. In 1976, he had the bitter satisfaction that his latest engine, code 152, ran on the bench. It should have been the next generation of Alfa engine, for both FWD and RWD cars to come.

To give a sample of Busso’s personality and style, it may be worth quoting his resignation letter to Alfa’s Chairman, Dec.16th, 1977: “[…] Endless, unconclusive discussions are not, and have never been my cup of tea. As long as the situations and people responsible for Alfa Romeo’s current stall will exist, Alfa doesn’t need me. I apologize if I’m late with you; but one or two weeks lost by my fault are nothing compared to the time Alfa has already wasted, and even less when one thinks to the time it’s going to waste in a predictable future.”

It’s an important piece of the history of Alfa Romeo who will be missing from now.

For those wanting to learn more on the character, his life and achievement, I can recommend reading:
GIUSEPPE BUSSO, Nel Cuore dell’Alfa, Automobilia, Milano, 2005, € 24, 142 pp., Italian text. (usual disclaimer)


Thank you for that brief resumé, but sorry to hear of his passing. Is his book available in English? Given

#4 ReWind

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 22:00

Two glimpses of the man can be found here.

#5 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 09:47

Originally posted by dretceterini
Patrick:

You you have an address I can send a card to? I last saw Busso in 1987, and my friend Dave Mericle Jr met him and got and interview in the late 1980s.

Stu


Stu, I've sent you an email with the last address I had for him.

Angst: I'm afraid the book exists only in Italian, and I'm not aware of any project of translating it, but who knows... It could be worth inquiring the publisher (Automobilia), as, if there are some requests, they might consider it.

#6 Oneandhalf

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 17:38

I have got in my archive an article "Giuseppe Busso. Alfa's Great Engineer Passes" by Marcello Minerbi (author of "Alfa Romeo SZ-TZ" book). Quote: After the war, Busso was invited by Gioacchino Colombo (ex Alfa himself), to join Ferrari as chief of the Technical Office. At Ferrari, Busso helped to develop the 125 S (the first real "Ferrari") and worked on the single seater 2 liter DOHC supercharged V12, with DeDion rear suspension, and on a 6 cylinder derived from the 12. In the same period (against the opinions of Ferrari himself) he studied and explored front wheel drive and worked on the Ferrari 159 SBC (Spider Biposto Corsa), which won the Turin Grand Prix in 1947 driven by Raymond Sommer. Called back to Alfa Romeo by Satta, Busso returned to Milan in 1948. 

I've never heard about Ferrari's 6-cyl. engine and front wheel drive. You?