The history of Post-War Italy - and especially the period between 1963 and 1993 - is marked by the motorization of political assassination. Thirty years of detonations and explosions followed the so-called “Italian Boom” that began in 1948 and ended in 1969.

Also known as the Economic Miracle, this period saw Italian economy growing at a fast pace. Between 1951 and 1963, the average annual rate of growth of GDP was around 5.8%. And between 1964 and 1973, 5.0%. In Europe, such growth rates were second only, but very close, to Germany's. From 1951 to 1971, average per capita income in real terms tripled, a trend accompanied by significant improvements in consumption patterns and living conditions of Italian families. This unprecedented streak lasted until the Hot Autumn's massive strikes and social unrest of 1969 and 1970 which, combined with the 1973 oil crisis, gradually cooled the economy. For the record, the country has never returned to its heady post-war growth rates and probably never will. Interestingly, the symbol of Italy’s newfound wealth was the automobile. The FIAT 600 became the iconic dream car for Italians, a status symbol for the middle class in the 1950s and 1960s.

But there is a second Italian Boom which was marked by economic uncertainties, social unrest, widespread violence, and massive destruction. An age of loud deflagrations. A period of deafening blasts. Between 1963 and 1993, several key politicians, judges, journalists, police officers, and innocent bystanders were murdered by terrorist groups, working either against or for the government, and by the organized crime, mainly, the Mafia. The frequent and ruthless executions were meant to destabilize the state and the institutions. The common denominator of these carnages is the automobile. Cars were used either as weapons in the form of VBIED, acronym of vehicle borne improvised explosive device, means of transportation for the killers or murder sites.

COLLEO's Great Italian Race examines the aesthetics of car-based murders, the automobile as a deadly wagon; the accident of the car and the car accident; the appropriation of a national icon such as FIAT for deadly ends; the branding of terror, the car as a weapon of mass destruction, the car as a coffin on wheels, the atrocity exhibition of wrecks and corpses; the car as a context, but also the contest to create more and more devastating motor-based attacks that culminated in a motorcade of death. The sinister allure of play and the topography of murder.

The GREAT ITALIAN RACE is also a collection of toy cars.

A wrong collection.

San Francisco, October 20, 2013


June 30, 1963, Ciaculli, Sicily, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, 7 deaths

May 31, 1972, Peteano, Gorizia, Fiat 500 White, GO 45902, 3 deaths

March 16 1978, Via Fani, Rome, Fiat 130 (driven by Aldo Moro), Roma L59812, 4 deaths

May 9, 1978, Via Gaetano Caetani, Rome,  Renault 4 Roma N57686, 1 death

March 20, 1979, Via Orazio, Rome, Citroen CX 2200 Pallas, ROMA R 081951 death

September 2, 1982, via Isidoro Carini, Palermo, Autobianchi A112, ROMA Y97252, 3 deaths

July 29, 1983, Via Pipitone Federico, Palermo, Sicily, FIAT 126 PA 426847, 4 deaths

April 2, 1985, Pizzolungo, Sicily, Volkswagen Scirocco (driven), Volkswagen Golf (VBIED), 3 deaths

January 4, 1991, Via Casini, Bologna, Fiat Uno (driven), Fiat Uno (target) EI 986 CC, 4 deaths

May 23, 1992, Capaci, Sicily, Fiat Croma, Polizia 72677, 5 deaths

July 19, 1992, Via D’Amelio, Palermo, Sicily, Fiat 126 T, PA 790936, 6 deaths

May 27, 1993, Via Dei Georgofili, Florence, Fiat Fiorino Ducato Scudo, FI H90593, 5 deaths

July 27, 1993, Via Palestro, Milan, Fiat Uno, MI-7P2498, 5 deaths