The 1958 issue of Motoring Life sums it up: The magical Millecento recipe strikes us as being just right. There need be no fears on the part of those who dawdle not. No other car of comparable size and price can cruise more effortlessly in the upper sixties and early seventies (m.p.h.). Without a shadow of doubt there isn’t a car on the market at anything like the price, and offering the same accommodation and fittings, which can put up such an account of itself on a diet as frugal as the Fiat’s. On test, average consumption figures of 37 to 40 m.p.g. were achieved. That is quite an account don’t you think? Read More
It is hard to shake how people perceive your brand. One can equate it to typecasting – a Hollywood term. We believe Fiat had the same problem back in the late ’60s. They wanted an upscale sedan and coupe that would compete with Mercedes and BMW. The effort was not at all successful but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a decent car. Fortunately, Fiat was smart enough to realize it wouldn’t sell in the States so the few cars that swam across were imported by individual owners. Mint was tipped off to this extraordinary version of the 130 by its seller whose cars we have featured before. His skill at finding gems is legendary. Here we have a beautiful 130 Coupe with an elegant interior and – trumpets, prepare to toot – a 5-speed manual gearbox. Read More
The correct description for this little convertible is “transformabile”. We suspect that means the top goes down. Topping the 1958 FIAT line was the 1100TV roadster, priced at $2498. Available in Europe since 1955, this small but exquisitely styled two-seater convertible was inspired by ‘boulevard sports cars’ like the 1953 Corvette and Nash-Healey. Contemporary styling touches included the wrap-around windscreen, Cadillac-style vertical rear-quarter embellishments and bright full wheel covers. Read More
We like station wagons but somehow, this is more like a mini, mini van. In fact, the 600 Multipla was used frequently as a taxi in Italy. Why not? The interior was very versatile allowing for few passengers and much luggage or just passengers. Today, these, in great condition, pull huge numbers at auctions. Our Checker Taxi doesn’t enjoy the same status. Read More
Take one Fiat 600 chassis, add a smart business man who knew how to get the most out of a car, and you get an Abarth 750 Zagato. Carlo Abarth wore a few hats before he set out to build his own line or racing cars. He saw a void in the “drive to the track, race, and drive home” class and he set out to fill that segment with cars branded Abarth. By basing the cars on a Fiat 600 chassis, he was able to provide a capable racer at an affordable price. That strategy paid off as he maximized sales to privateer racers. Read More
We want our readers to be careful. When we saw this Barchetta we got excited to present it. But a little research (and we may be wrong), has the same car available in Sweden. The eBay ad says you can see it in LA. The copy attached to the Sweden offering is exact. Could the car have made it over from Sweden? Absolutely. But unless you put eyes on this one, be concerned. We hope it is real because it is an important car with 27 bidders already. Go to the eBay auction by clicking here.
First things first. Is it Spider or Spyder? We think Italians spell it with an “I” and Germans with a “Y”. What say you? Of course no matter how you spell it, the reference dates back to a sporty horse drawn carriage with big wheels and 2 seats. It was said to look like a spider hence the name. The Fiat 124 Spider and its stablemate Coupe were really excellent little sports cars particularly early cars like this ’72. Go through the list – 1600cc, DOHC, 5-speed transmission – all add up to lots of fun for the money. The styling is from Pininfarina and has aged really well. Pininfarina actually built the Spiders while the Coupes were built by Fiat. It is a rare sight to see one of these that photographs well. They were not known for their longevity so when you see a potential survivor, it is refreshing. We like the color combination even though it is a bit more British than Italian. The seller isn’t big on description and we don’t think this car will sell for big money. But here is the cool part – for little money you’ll get to go to Italian car festivals and be as welcome as someone in a Lusso. See it here on eBay.
Italians either own too many yachts or have too much time on their hands. And they hate walking. I guess if they had to traverse maybe the length of a football field to get to their yacht from their Maserati it was too much. They were on the phone to a coach builder to create a surrey topped, wicker seat cutie to cover the distance. I guess we are all the better for it. First came the Jolly designed and built by Ghia on a 500 platform. And then Michelotti was asked to design and build a successor on the newer 850 platform for Philip Schell. Only 80 cars were built and we have no knowledge of how many survive. Someone needs to start a Shellette registry. This pretty blue Shellette is a barn-find with 9,900 miles and is in excellent working and cosmetic order. The seller has been invited to numerous car shows including a prestigious event at Saratoga Springs. It is available for $58,000 in New Hampshire and more information is available at Hemmings.com.
No it isn’t a Ford Model A that someone put in the dryer, it is a FIAT 508 Spider. The FIAT 508 was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1932. It was very popular mostly because it was inexpensive. The 508 was available in a number of body configurations from a sedan to sport spider. FIAT began its globalization strategy early, so the 508 was built in Poland and France in addition to Turin, Italy. We have very strong indications that this survivor was built in France. An American, who shipped it to his home in the Northeast, discovered the car in Paris sometime in the mid-1950s. The 508 languished for 10 years before he sold it to a friend who kept it for 40 years. Some forensics discovered French racing blue under the maroon paint. How cool is that? An original Paris registration license plate that is still on the car and other rare features including Cibie headlights and Scintilla taillight, which come from a type 35 Bugatti, all lead to the conclusion it is French built. It is in barn-fresh condition and we all know how popular that is today. But if you were smart (maybe not exactly), you might want to restore it because it would look so magnifique in French blue! And then, you will be accepted into almost any historic rally event for not huge money. Okay, so 20 hp isn’t going to make it easy for you to keep up with the competition, but the crowds in the Piazza will be circling around you and your little jewel of an Italian Spider whenever you arrive. Then, you will be looked upon as the smart aficionado, just not the fastest one. More photos available on our friend Larry Kay Restoration’s website. Email us for Larry Kay’s phone number.
Yesterday we featured a really sweet Mini Cooper. I’m afraid the Italians may have trumped the Brits for cuteness with this FIAT 500 Jolly. And it isn’t your run-of-the-mill Jolly. You know the kind you see everyday down at the yacht club. This is the extended version built on a Giardiniera platform. How did the Jolly come into being? Quite simple actually. FIAT’s Chairman, Gianni Agnelli, a most elegant man who frequently wore his watch over his shirt cuff, required something with flair to drive to his yacht. Read More