[I am going to try to organize this thread chronologically and shooting to get up to about 1990 and see where we are at, but I’m not going to hold myself to that too strictly for now. Also some modern cars built for CSRs will probably sneak in. Anyway, enjoy some company lore]
**Fabbrica Automobili di Monterenzio, S.p.A**, variously referred to as FAM, FA Monterenzio, and simply Monterenzio is an Italian car manufacturer based in Bologna, largely focusing on mass market C-class models, executive cars, and light, budget friendly sports coupes, but producing everything from sub-compact economy cars, to heavy duty trucks, to the occasional loss-leading, one off exotic model (I'm not a fan of the later at all, but it wouldn't be very Italian of me to ignore the segment).
(1906-1912) Macchina Battaglia and Montecatini
The story of what would become Monterenzio begins in 1906, not with cars at all but with agricultural equipment. The Battaglia family, originally small textile producers who had instead moved into the industrial machinery business with the production of a machine powered loom in 1893 and opening a machine shop focused on building parts for locomotives, had accepted an offer from Italian chemical giant Montecatini to become a partially owned subsidiary producing tractors and automatic threshers to take advantage of the market created by Montecatini’s effective monopoly on fertilizers. Facilities were retooled and expanded around producing machinery for Italy’s farming communities and Macchina Battaglia was born.
(1912-1937) Monterenzio, airplanes, parts, and the IRI
The partnership was paying dividends over the early 20th century and Macchina Battaglia began experimenting with piston-driven engines for the budding aviation industry. The 698 Mercurio, a supercharged 9.8 liter behemoth of a strait-6 would be the first mass-produced variant, sold to specialty aviation companies in at the tail end of the pioneering years and, importantly for our story, created in the new motorworks in the village of Monterenzio, outside of Bologna, that would be the incubator of the company’s future. During the great war, multiple variant models were produced for Caproni, SIAI, and Macchi for use in various warplane models for the CAM.
With the end of the war approaching MB’s aero-division found themselves slimmed down significantly as aeronautics companies increasing build power-plants in house and bigger fish like FIAT and Rolls Royce took whatever market share was left. However, this would be notable as the genesis of automotive production and the Monterenzio nameplate. Faced with their soon to be exit from the aircraft engine industry, MB would design a race car around a supercharged strait 6 that had been build for monoplane scouts, tiny by air industry standards but a monster by automotive standards. A road version followed in 1919, built around a space frame and hand built interiors. While obviously the high end sports cars and it’s successors were production limited and decidedly aimed at the very top of the market, leading to slim profits even with high margins, they were found to be a fantastic advertisement for the automotive parts and coach-building services that the rest of the division would transition too. Despite the initial success, the turbulent Italian economy of the 20s would see FA Monterenzio stop producing cars following the deflation crisis of 26, however the parts manufactury and coach works would hold on until the disaster of 1931. In the face of the massive depression, the automotive division was reduced dramatically and with following a restructuring and refinance deal, the IRI had bought out Montecatini’s shares by 1932, interested largely in keeping the locomotive machining and tractor factory open. The Monterenzio section had been reduced dramatically and limped through the 30s with two factories making parts on contract with FIAT and a single coachworks facility that, in what would later look like foresight, Macchina Battaglia had managed to keep ownership of by using it as a far too oversized mechanic and body shop.
(1937-1945) The rebirth of FA Monterenzio, and the war years.
Macchina Battaglia grew steadily during the later part of the 30s as the Italian economy slowly recovered from the depression. Most notably, the Monterenzio facilities started producing automobiles again. The ex-coachworks started producing trucks for the Italian military on contract with Breda and OM in 1935 and by 1937 had a light truck of it’s own, the D-90, designed by division head Angelo Battaglia, win a contract for Italian military production, the first Monterenzio produced in over a decade. The war years were initially very good for MB, seeing the automotive end of the company’s productive capacity expand substantially, this would end shortly, naturally, with significant loses to Allied bombing and eventual occupation. However, the company ended the war with a few production facilities somewhat intact and an institutional knowledge of vehicle production.
(1945-Present) Independence and cars for the masses
Following the war, while MB had been significantly damaged, like virtually all other Italian industrial concerns, working production facilities were at a premium. Angelo Battaglia, who had by this point inherited or bought out enough of the family assets to have majority interest in Macchina Battaglia, proceeded to sell what was left of the tractor and locomotive business, bought out the IRI’s remaining interest in the company, and restructured, emerging as Fabbrica Automobili di Monterenzio in 1946, a company entirely focused on the automotive industry. Perhaps shaken by the company’s early history failing as a high end sports car maker or just having a good business sense, he went for the people’s car concept, offering the Cavaletta, a small, affordable, but spartan compact car for the masses alongside the Bue, a civilian model of the D-90. Thus, the FA Monterenzio we know today was born
Watch this space
Meh, probably after the update