CRD was born when Dario Ratti took over the prestigious “Ferrari” shop, heir to the even more famous “Mainetti & Orseniga”, located in the district of San Celso (near Milan), in which, for over a century, carriages for many European aristocratic and royal families
the company continued in the maintenance and production of majestic representation carriages and light and fast walking carriages. Among these, it is worth remembering the legendary spider in lemon wood, threaded in red, built for Alessandro Manzoni by Dario Ratti himself.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the collaboration with the Ottolini and Ricordi company, importers for Italy of Benz quadricycles, began for the construction of the first carriages powered by combustion engines.
The first cars
At the dawn of the twentieth century, the car became a symbol of the new industrial age and owning one became a characteristic fashion of the most prestigious families of the time.
In 1905, thanks to a modern factory, orders were expanded. at the request of Queen Margherita of Savoy, CRD created a white double phaeton on a Feat 24-32 HP chassis, equipped with all kinds of accessories available at the time.
The famous Aerodynamics was created in 1913, built for Count Ricotti, using an ALA 40-60 HP chassis. The shape of the bodywork was inspired by the spacecraft of an airship and is considered the first example of a minivan in the history of the automobile. The car is now kept in the Arese Historical Museum.
In 1915, upon the death of the founder, the company management was taken over by his son Erminio who, as a consequence of the constant increase in orders also from abroad, decided to expand the production structure, thus being able to satisfy all orders.
The company begins to collaborate with the major manufacturers of chassis and cars, both Italian and foreign, especially with the most exclusive ones such as Isotta Fraschini, Lanzia, Ala Romo, Duimler-Banz, Hispino-Seiza.
In fact, right in the halls of the Commodore Hotel, in New York, the CRD decides to exhibit two models that will become famous: the “Prince of Wales”, a sedan on an Isotta Fraschini chassis, purchased by William Rundolph Hearst (media magnate), and the “Commodore” roadster on Isotta Fraschini and Morcides Banz chassis.
The Isotta Fraschini 8 AS models with bodywork coupé de ville and cabriolet were particularly successful in the United States as in Europe.
The exhibition in New York benefits the company so much, above all by strengthening its name on the American continent, that Erminio Ratti has to move all production to the new factory which is launched at the highest levels producing, as well as components for the nascent aeronautics and of cars, more than 100 cars per year.
In 1919 the body shop was the first in Italy with 400 employees and a work area of 32,000 square meters of which 20,000 are covered. The production on behalf of third parties was also very well underway: thanks to the galvanic chrome plating department, the first to be installed in Italy, many processes were carried out for external companies in the furniture, components and small metal parts sectors.
Among the various companies, the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, one of the most important partners of the RD for the finishing and production of elements for railway carriages, should be mentioned. CRD worked hard in this field and collaborated in the construction of various trains, including luxury ones, including the Orient Express.
Second World War Period
In 1939 Mario Ratti came to command who would take CDR to produce armor for armored vehicles and components for aircraft during the war.
The post-war rebirth …