The Turin Lingotto building in Italy, is a gigantic concrete structure half a kilometer long and five stories high that once housed the largest and most modern car manufacturing plant in Europe.
Located in the heart of the city, its original owner, Fiat, made smart use of the available real estate by construction of a high-speed test track on the unusual roof of the building,. On that track, thousands of Fiat vehicles underwent various tests once they left the assembly line.
Built between 1916 and 1923, the building was the brainchild of Italian engineer Giacomo Matte-Trucco and it became one of the first buildings of such gigantic size that it relied heavily on reinforced concrete. The space limitations imposed by the nearby railway lines and the shape of the land forced Giacomo Matte-Trucco to devise a building that would develop in height, and that ended up in a simple but ingenious rooftop test track. The track is accessed by spiral ramps at each end of the building.
The assembly line of the manufacturing plant itself was unusual and the test track was an integral part of it.. Production began on the ground floor and continued sequentially through the upper floors. With each step through the floor, the cars approached their final form, until emerged as a finished product on the roofwhere they were ready for testing.
It is said that, thanks to the banked curves on the roof of the building, high-speed tests were carried out, putting a 1954 Fiat Turbina at 160 miles per hour (approximately 257 kilometers per hour).
The Lingotto factory produced 80 different car models until the 1970s, when it was overshadowed by the modern Mirafiori plant. The last Lancia Delta left the factory in 1979. Three years later, the factory was officially closed.
The Lingotto building was finally converted into a modern complex with concert halls, theater, a convention center, shopping centers and a hotel. The rooftop track remained and, to this day, can be visited at the top of the building.