This may sound little unusual, but their exists a factory whose test track is on its roof top. As it turns out, the factory that comes out with this marvelous piece of engineering is ‘Fiat’s’ factory based in Lingotto (Italy).
Fiat’s Lingotto factory was completed in 1923. Unlike any other automobile factory to date, the factory featured a spiral assembly line that moved up through the building and a concrete banked rooftop test track.
Building of the Lingotto factory began while World War I was still raging in 1916. 7 years later, in 1923, Lingotto was completed and ready to open for business. It was the biggest automobile factory Europe had ever seen and was the second largest in the world. Upon its completion Lingotto instantly became of a symbol of Italy’s proud manufacturing history. Only Ford’s massive River Rouge Factory Complex could compare in size and scale.
Designed by engineer Giacomo Mattè-Trucco, the Lingotto factory was one of the first buildings of its size to rely heavily on reinforced concrete in the construction process. The five story building featured a simple loop rooftop test track with two banked turns that consumed a 1620 foot x 280 foot portion of rooftop. The test track’s banked turns were constructed from an intricate series of concrete ribs in a construction technique that had not been used frequently before Lingotto’s construction. It is safe to say the technique had never been used for a test track 6 stories in the air.
The original Lingotto rooftop test track can be seen briefly during the getaway sequence in the film The Italian Job (1969).
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