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The year is 1950 and life is wonderful. American businesses are growing at an unprecedented rate, the middle class is expanding, and smoking is good for you. Across the land a smattering of small, foreign cars are winning automobile races at Palm Springs, Pebble Beach, Sebring Airport, Elkhart Lake and Watkins Glen—and American automobile manufacturers take note.

 More and more MGs, Austins and Singers are being sold to the expanding middle class, not to mention the Ferraris, Porsches and Alfa Romeos acquired by the well-heeled. A Triumph two-liter sports car is being designed for America in obvious response to demand, and on the home front, the rumor mill is buzzing with talk of GM’s sports car design that would come to be unveiled as the Corvette. Ford is behind the power curve, with the experimental X100 in the design studio and the Thunderbird still in development. So Henry Ford II has an idea: why not utilize the design and experience of Cisitalia to construct a Ford-powered sports car to fill the void, until Ford can bring the Thunderbird to market? He was well acquainted with Cisitalia, since he owned two of them and, in one legendary story, he drove one to the Ford Design Department and explained to the designers that the Cisitalia 202 was what he thought a well-designed car should look like. Then he asked them why they couldn’t design a car that looked like his? The answer would become apparent eight months later.

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