Italian automotive publishing legend Giorgio Nada, passed away on May 6th, due to complications from COVID-19. Starting with a small automotive bookshop, in Milan, in the 1960s, Nada eventually expanded into automotive publishing, in the 1970s, creating one of the most respected automotive publishing houses of the past 4 decades, with over 1,000 titles to its credit.
While his devoted family and staff intend to continue Nada’s life work, they released this fitting remembrance:
Those of us who worked with him, or rather lived with him on a daily basis for over 20 years within the publishing company and elsewhere, can still see him clearly, sitting at his desk, finalising a contract, balancing the books or talking (frequently with the firmness of the businessman, but always with the elegance and cordiality of a true gentleman) to authors, journalists and the many others who joined him in his office over the years, firstly in the centre of Milan and then at Vimodrone, the current home of the firm.
We too often sat in front of that desk and enjoyed a privileged front row vantage point as we gradually got to know a man driven by an authentic passion for and dedication to his work, a man who loved debate and discussion, ever ready to listen and willing to give a green light to a venture that had immediately convinced him, or to pursue a book the “market” would perhaps struggle to digest but which he liked and was determined to publish.
Giorgio Nada, the two- and four-wheeled automotive publisher par excellence, the man who began his professional career by running a bookshop in Via Ulrico Hoepli in Milan, a street named after one of the most enlightened publishers of all time, had the great courage and foresight to focus in the late Sixties on automotive publishing which at that time could hardly have been more of a niche sector.
Here in Italy at least, the classic car movement was in its infancy, but Giorgio Nada, a native of Alba who had already spent a number of years in London, an environment permeated by automotive culture, was looking forwards with typically Piedmontese tenacity and determination, recognizing that it was only a matter of time for Italy.
In 1970, exactly 50 years ago, he moved the Libreria dell’Automobile to Corso Venezia, to the ground floor of the building that still today houses the Automobil Club di Milano, becoming its manager and then buying it out three years later.
From that moment Number 43 (now 45) became a mecca for generations of enthusiasts who only on those shelves could find everything offered by the motoring publishers of the time.
Nada had no intention of resting on his laurels and in the second half of the 1970s realized that the time was ripe for the bookshop to publish titles under its own imprint. The Edizioni della Libreria dell’Automobile rapidly became a must. “Moto Guzzi” and “Isotta Fraschini” were among the first titles to appear before it was time to separate the publishing and retail sides of the business with the founding of Giorgio Nada Editore in 1987.
The armillary sphere with the name in capital letters, inscribed between two slim light green bands, was soon to become a “brand” synonymous with culture, expertise and, once again, a passion for the automotive world.
A brief statement hardly does justice to the myriad titles that have been published to date: histories of automobile and motorcycle manufacturers, official books celebrating events and anniversaries, monographs devoted to drivers, but also to historic tractors, special vehicles and more besides. Just last year, together with the “Editore”, we did a few sums and discovered that we had reached the remarkable milestone of 1,000 published titles. Meeting his gaze revealed the great personal satisfaction this brought to the man and the entrepreneur.
That same entrepreneur who, over the years, had acquired and conserved major photographic archives, today a vital resource for the company, providing further evidence of his vision and his passion for this world.
In looking back at these episodes we have attempted to reconstruct a human, professional and entrepreneurial story that is destined to continue, its mission being to follow in the prolific footsteps of the founder. This we believe will be the most authentic way of paying tribute to our Editore, our Publisher.
Thank you to all those many, many people, in Italy and throughout the world, who have demonstrated a sincere affection, friendship and attachment to Giorgio Nada and his creation in these difficult times.