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Castagna at Geneva 2006

Castagna, the Milanese coachbuilders who brought us the 'Woody' MINIs, have been up to their stylish tricks again. In addition to the Imperial Landaulet Concept, this year they have produced the ultimate toy for the big boy's yachts at St Trop and Monaco - the 'Tender'. There were also examples of the 'Crossup' and last year's 'Woody' on display.

The exterior of this custom-built car, based on the Mini Cabrio, features new proportions and technical solutions. The car is streamlined, with a fixed-access compartment with anti-theft bars in place of the normal doors. Like in some luxury boats, the rear is lengthened by 70 cm to make a convenient 'working space'. A completely teak-clad ‘beach baby’ that can be “armed” to give you everything you need for your seafaring life. You can toss in your scuba equipment or your golf clubs, or just give a lift to a bunch of buddies.

The vehicle shown was accessorized with a teak-clad steel double bottom for towels or a fresh pair of clothes plus a shower with a 30-litre tank of fresh water to rinse a freshly-plucked piece of fruit or freshen up before going out for an aperitif. Its 2000-watt CLARION audio system turns this sweetheart into a powerful sound system for beach parties. Four moisture-resistant speakers transmit a crystal clear digital signal. Extra headlights complete the lighting system for spontaneous parties on the beach

Its soft top features striped colourful fabric designed by Missoni, and its interior features innovative neoprene-upholstered seats making it no problem to hop in your car with your clothes still wet from your dip in the ocean. Castagna joined forces with MARES, a worldwide leader in underwater products, to make interiors that can stand up to sun, saltwater and sand, redesigning the passenger compartment fittings and offering ultra practical materials.

The Castagna 'Crossup'

Castagna at Geneva 2006 Castagna at Geneva 2006

The 'Crossup' is multi-purpose car. Its variable suspension system and new tyres make it suited to any kind of road surface. Fully extended its ground clearance is an impressive 25 cm, letting it take on an off-road path or travel safely on the highway with equal ease.

A 'boot' is added on, defining the exterior and forming a convenient pickup body, fully clad in scratch-resistant material. Spacious, key-locked compartments can hold the accessories best suited to the vehicle’s use. The handy, roomy exterior space can be fitted with special equipment made to fit the car.

As always with the company's custom-built vehicles, the interiors are made to customer specifications. The display model gives a sneak preview of the ‘Vodka-Cigar’ mini fridge, specially sized to fit on all Mini vehicles between the front seats. Activate the Vodka” function, and it can keep small bottles of champagne and vodka chilled. Push the Cigar button and it becomes a convenient humidifier for fine cigars.

Imperial Landaulet Concept

Inspired by one of the most famous models invented by Castagna in the Thirties, the Imperial Landaulet is a modern take on a classic design. The car is fitted with 4wd and an 800 HP dual-compression engine. Adjustable ground clearance allows the owner to travel anywhere in any kind of weather.

The design is dedicated to one of Castagna’s most noteworthy creations: the Isotta Fraschini, and is almost 6 metres long.The interior is easily accessible through the two doors that open like the Rolls-Royce Phantom: a running board appears automatically, acting as a footrest. The vehicle’s height (163cm) and its ground clearance make access to the vehicle both easy and ergonomic.

The boot compartment opens completely via a hydraulic system and operates like the giant Antonov frighters, while inside the rear part of the glassed roof slides backwards, leaving the rear seats open to the elements, in true landaulet fashion.

In addition to the 'Crossup', 'Tender' and 'Imperial Landaulet Concept', Castagna also showed accessories and tuning and styling possibilities for the MINI that can be ordered right now. these include:

- Multituning suspension kits
Thanks to all-new Multituning electronically controlled shock absorbers it has been possible to combine travelling comfort with high-performance, by selecting the hardness of the ride by means of a button on the vehicle’s dashboard. The four positions are comfort, paved, standard and sport.

- Multilift suspension kits
The new Multilift suspension-level changing kit allows the driver to change the amount of ground clearance on the vehicle, depending on the road surface that is being driven on; by means of a simple rocker switch located on the vehicle’s dashboard, it is in fact possible to select the vehicle’s ride-height, starting from the standard height (40mm higher than that of the original version) and increase the ground clearance by 50mm when crossing particularly rough ground or when driving through deep snow. Once past the area of rough ground, a flick of the rocker switch returns the vehicle ground clearance level back to the normal level. The raised configuration may be used up to a maximum speed of 50km/h, above which the automatic safety control system itself returns the vehicle to the standard ground clearance level, even with no input from the driver.

- Wood grain dashboard kit
A means of customising every part of the dashboard and gearshift console in the wood grain of your choice and in the colours and surface finishes you prefer.

- Racing dashboard kit
Not only wood, but also more modern materials can make their appearance in your vehicle’s passenger cab: carbon fibre, Kevlar, aluminium and special materials on request.

- Wickerwork kit
For the person who wants to add a romantic and retro touch to his/her vehicle - the installation of the specially made “midollino” parts. Starting with a simple but useful basket that can be inserted in the space in front of the rear hatchback, everything can be covered in this fantastic, natural material. Available unvarnished or in various colours on request.

- Picnic kit
Those who love taking open-air walks will be unable to do without this accessory, consisting of 4 aluminium- alloy folding chairs and a perfect folding table in the wood of your choice.

- –5º refrigerator kit
A proper refrigerator that can be fitted between the front seats, always close at hand, that is able to freeze vodka or keep the champagne at optimum temperature. Naturally, it can also hold and chill the regulation Baccarat crystal glasses.

- Cigar box kit
Also located between the front seats and, therefore, easy to use, the lockable cigar box allows the best cigars to be properly stored, even on the hottest days. A small led lights up when the humidity level in the box drops to below the safety limit.

Text - Classic Driver
Photos - Castagna

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