Although the largest classic car event in Italy takes place in Padova (Padua) in October, it is far from the only sizeable such event and indeed not the only one with an international reputation. The two largest cities in the country with a long and distinguished history of producing large numbers of cars also host events. I sampled Milan’s offering, the Milan AutoClassica in October 2018 and vowed that I really did need to get to Torino (Turin) to see how that cities offering, called AutoMotoRetro would compare. A long established event, with 2019 marking the 37th time it is running, it is held at the start of February. Whilst I’ve been aware of it for some years, I’ve struggled with diary clashes as I tend to have a year start work event which always requires travel on the same weekend, making it difficult to include it, but for 2019 when I saw that there would be a very special display to mark Abarth’s 70th anniversary, I was particularly resolved to find a way of getting there. It was just too hard to fly from Madrid where I had been for work reasons the week before, so I ended up flying back to Gatwick on the Friday afternoon and then taking a very early flight the following morning direct to Torino, where I collected a rental car (a rather battle-scarred Audi Q5) which had a navigation system which took from the airport north east of the city right across the centre of the city to the Fiere exhibition complex in Lingotto arriving only a short while after the gates had opened.
There were some outdoor activities taking place, in an associated side-show called AutoMotoRacing. This seemed to comprise a frankly weird mix of Max Power type show cars and pukka racing machinery. there were plenty of race car laps of the Ovali di Torino, with a number of apparently famous names in action. On arrival, I walked past, more interested in what I would find in the exhibition halls One of them, a relatively small one, was given over to Car Clubs, most of which had some heavily modified cars on display and the larger hall was full of, well……… read on to see just what an amazing array of cars I found.
Abarth celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2019 and there will be a number of special events throughout the year, which it goes without saying, I am very much looking forward to. This was the first.
First of the special displays was from the factory themselves, with Abarth being given star-billing on a vast stand for cars from the FCA Group and a number of cars from the heritage collections that are held either in Torino or Arese in the case of the Alfa Romeo models. As well as the historic Abarths on show, this was also the chance to see the special 70th anniversary badging which will be applied to all new cars sold during 2019.
In contrast was the very first 500-based car, dating from 1958. In the 1950s, Abarth saw no limit to the pocket-sized Fiat 500’s performance potential. The firm tuned the standard model a few months after its introduction and sent it straight to the Monza track, where the records it set helped kick the car’s career into high gear. It quickly turned it into the aforementioned coupe, but the most extreme 500-derived model was the streamlined, single-seater record car designed with input from Pininfarina. The 500 Record shared precious few components with the humble 500; it was built on a tubular chassis. Pininfarina put a tremendous amount of effort into making the body as light and as aerodynamic as possible. The driver entered the tight cabin through a front-hinged hatch that incorporated a wrap-around windshield for improved visibility. Pininfarina drilled holes through the hinges to keep weight in check, and it installed covers over the four wheels to reduce turbulence in the wheel wells. Engineers achieved a 0.25 drag coefficient, which places the car nearly on par with a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq (0.24). Abarth installed a 500-sourced, 479-cc two-cylinder engine rated at 36 hp, which was a lot considering the Record weighed a scant 815 pounds. Sent to Monza, the Record covered 28,000 kilometres (about 17,000 miles) in 10 days at an average speed of 116.38 kph (about 72 mph). This was an incredible feat for Fiat, Pininfarina, and Abarth.
Passion for speed prompted Karl Abarth to get back into the cockpit in one of his creations and set his company’s 100th record, on the Monza circuit. Karl Abarth’s reputation as a brilliant car tuning specialist, eclectic entrepreneur and constructor stemmed partly from the numerous records established by his cars. In nearly all cases, the venue was the Monza race track, which in those days still had a high-speed ring that was perfect for long drives at very high speed. Aware of the importance of aerodynamics, Abarth developed cars in conjunction with top coachbuilders (Zagato, Pininfarina and Bertone), with the aim of creating unique models capable of breaking every record. Among the most memorable are the single-seaters powered by 500, 750 and 1000 cc Fiat-derived engines. Fiat executives understood how records could have a positive effect on sales, so they encouraged Abarth to break them whenever possible, including with financial support. But besides being an excellent marketing tool, record-breaking was also something of an obsession for Karl Abarth, an irrepressible passion that pushed him to constantly outdo himself. At the age of 57, Abarth decided to don his driver’s outfit once more and set the 100th record for an Abarth car, as both constructor and driver. The new car—developed entirely by Abarth—was an open-wheel single-seater with a 1000 cc engine, derived from the one used in Formula 2 during the 1964 season. The twin-cam developed 105 hp at the high speed of 8800 rpm. It had a dry weight of just 500 kg and a small 10-litre tank. So that he could fit into the cockpit, Karl Abarth shed 30 kg by following a strict diet (said to have consisted solely of apples); this weight reduction undoubtedly also contributed to the car’s unprecedented performance. So, on 20 October 1965, the Autodromo di Monza provided the backdrop for further exploits. The Fiat Abarth 1000 Monoposto set two world records in Class G, for acceleration over the quarter-mile (13″62) and 500-metre (15″38) distances. Not satisfied with these successes, Karl promptly had a 2000 cc engine fitted to the car and the following day set another two acceleration records in Class E: over a quarter-mile and 500 metres with times of 11″55 and 15″38 respectively.
Past and present 124 Spider models were here. As well as a 124 GT, also sporting the year’s 70th Anniversary badging, there was an example of the earlier car whose name it inherited. In fact the model shown was a late model car by which time it was badged the Pininfarina SpiderEuropa. Fiat ceased their own production of the car in the summer of 1982 and all subsequent cars were made in Pininfarina’s own factory and in this form it carried on for a further three years.
Elsewhere in the show was the special display, called Scorpione 70. Curated by journalist Luca Gastaldi, it comprised no fewer than 18 cars, in three sub categories of Abarth Record Cars, Abarths for All and Dream Abarths. The cars were sourced through the Abarth TCR Club Italia and a host of private collectors. Those not familiar with the marque would surely learn that there is far more to the back catalogue than modified Fiats with their rear engine cover propped open, which is what those with good memories (and of a certain age) will probably tell you they know about the original company.
Most Abarths of the 1960s were based on regular Fiat models. Smallest of these were those based on the Nuova 500, and there were a couple of them here. For the 595 SS, Abarth increased the engine capacity to 594 cc, just under the limit for the European 600cc racing sedan class. High compression 10:1 pistons were used together with a special camshaft, a specific alloy sump, Abarth valve covers and air filter, propped up engine lid and wheels were fitted and of course the exhaust system was a special in house model. This package together with lowered suspension, flared arches and 10 inch rims amounted to what was known as the Assetto Corsa SS model. These cars have become very rare as many were crashed in competition or simply rotted away due to bad rust protection in the 70s. Seen here were a 1970 595SS, a 1966 695SS and a 1967 695SS Assurazione Corsa as well as a 1963 595SS.
The larger 850TC actually predates the 595/695 cars. Officially known as the Fiat-Abarth 850TC Berlina (Turismo Competizione, or “touring competition”), it was introduced towards the end of 1960, using Fiat 600 bodywork with some modifications, most notably a boxlike structure ahead of the front bumper which held the engine’s oil cooler. The rear wings were usually blistered, to accommodate larger wheels. The engine is a four-cylinder model based on a Fiat unit, with 847 cc capacity and 51 hp. Overall length is 3,090 mm (122 in), overall width is 1,400 mm (55 in), height is 1,380 mm (54 in), wheelbase is 2,000 mm (80 in), and its front and rear track are 1,160 mm (46 in). The fuel tank holds 5.9 imperial gallons, and its empty weight was 793 kg (1,748 lb). The 850TC remained in the price lists until 1966. In 1962 the 850TC Nürburgring was introduced, with 55 PS at 6500 rpm. The name was intended to celebrate the class victory of an Abarth 850TC at the 1961 Nürburgring 500 km race. There followed the 850TC/SS with two more horsepower; this was renamed the 850TC Nürburgring Corsa towards the end of the year. Between 1962 and 1971 the 850cc and 1000cc class cars won hundreds of races all over the World and were commonly called “Giant Killers” due to their superior performance over much larger cars, culminating in a famous dispute with SCCA authorities in the USA when Alfred Cosentino (FAZA) was banned from running his 1970 Fiat Abarth Berlina Corsa 1000 TCR “Radiale” engine because his car was faster (mainly in wet conditions) to many V8 Mustangs, AMC AMX’s and Chev Camaro’s etc. The SCCA authorities dictated FAZA and Cosentino be forced to use an early design engine a non “Radiale” engine from 1962 model in his cars but still achieved 51 Victories from 53 races. The most victories in SCCA racing history, thereby cementing the superiority of the Fiat Abarth Berlina Corsa over larger and more powerful cars. The cars representing this family of models were a 1963 850TC, a 1967 850TC Corsa and a 1969 1000 TCR.
Dating from 1967 is this 1000SP, also known as an SE04. For the 1966 motor racing season Abarth of Turin produced its first multi-tubular chassised chassis and engine – internally coded the ‘SE04’ model, designed by chief engineer Mario Colucci. Unlike his employer, Carlo Abarth himself, Mario Colucci believed that what had become the conventional mid-engined configuration – with the power unit mounted behind the cockpit but ahead of the rear axle line – was the way ahead. Abarth himself espoused the notion of an overhung rear engine, slung outboard of the rear axle a la Porsche practice, would promote better traction out of slow corners. Colucci argued that only exceptionally gifted drivers could make the most of such an outboard-engined configuration, and that since – by definition – the vast majority of Abarth’s private owner/driver customers would not possess such exceptional talent the greater stability and predictability offered by the layout used so successfully by Cooper, Lotus, Ferrari, Lola, Ford Advanced Vehicles and almost every other mainstream pureblood racing car manufacturer was worth exploiting. This philosophical division between Carlo Abarth and Mario Colucci is one of the most compelling, perplexing and yet charming aspects of the entire Abarth story. Colucci’s neat little SE04 became a very successful model, its lightweight multi-tubular chassis frame proving rigid and practical and its all-independent coil-sprung suspension providing good and nimble handling. Notable design features included the nose-mounted oil cooler in its top-hatch mounting, while engine cooling was achieved by twin radiator cores in a hip mounting on each side just abaft the cockpit. Power was provided by Abarth’s familiar and very well-proven twin-overhead camshaft 4-cylinder power unit with three main bearings based upon the Fiat 600D cylinder block but with its capacity taken out to 982cc. With a compression ratio of 10.5:1 and breathing through two twin-choke Weber carburettors, this engine offered some 105bhp at a lusty 8,000rpm. The large wrap-around windscreen conformed with contemporary FIA Group 6 sports-prototype regulations and the low-slung, elegant body paneling was in moulded glassfibre. Around 105bhp in a sports-prototype weighing only some 480kg – 1,058lbs – gave a power-to-weight ratio of just on 10lbs per horsepower, and these sleekly-styled, well detailed and really very nicely built little sports-prototype cars were capable of some 220km/h – 136mph – dependent upon gearing. The very talented English driver Jonathan Williams gave the new Abarth 1000SP its competition debut at the 14th Coppa della Collina event at Pistoia, but it was plagued by teething troubles and could place only fifth within the up-to-1,000cc prototipo class. However, on March 27,1966, a 1000SP driven by Giulio Tommasi won at the Roman Coppa Gallenga hill-climb to launch a successful season on the corsa in salita series, and Mauro Nesti won in a sister car at the legendary Parma-Poggio di Berceto ‘climb. In circuit racing the cigar-chomping little Swiss star Herbie Muller won the 1000cc sports-prototype class of the important Nurburgring 500Kms in another 1000SP. In 1967 the model won at Lorentzweiler in Luxembourg, with emerging Dutch star Toine Hezemans at the wheel at Stallavena-Boscochiesanuova, Pietro Lado at Volterra, ‘Matich’ at Cividale-Castelmonte, and future Ferrari European Champion and team manager Peter Schetty on the Passo della Raticosa, another great classic Italian mountain-climb course. Tommasi won repeatedly in his 1000SP, as at Sorrento-Sant’Agata, Rieti, Monopoli, Popoli and on the Colle San Marco. Schetty won another classic at Trieste-Opicina, while Sergio Calascibetta earned Abarth their Fiat success bonus at Monte Pellegrino in Sicily and in the Coppa Nissena. Enrico Buzzetti won on the mighty Trento-Bondone ‘climb and then significantly on the rugged and grueling Mugello public-road circuit in July. Rene Stierli won the class at the Swiss Ollon-Villars event in August, and so these pretty little cars with their raucous 8,000rpm exhaust note and nimble, well-balanced and stable handling characteristics really shone. Into 1969 ‘Pal Joe’/Botalla won the 1-litre sports-prototype class in the World Championship-qualifying Monza 1,000Kms in their Abarth 1000SP, while Lado/Dona won in their’s at the Imola 500kms in September. The 1969 Monza 1,000kms also saw the 1-litre class fall to an Abarth 1000SP, that time shared by ‘White’/Umberto Grano.
The first Abarth 750 GT appeared in early 1956, and was the first Abarth product to use standard Fiat bodywork, that of the little 600 saloon. Fiat delivered these cars incomplete, to make it easier and more cost effective for Abarth to carry out their performance modifications. Rather than the 633 cc original or Abarth’s own 710 cc model, the engine now displaced 747 cc thanks to a one millimetre wider bore and a stroke increased by four millimetres. Sharper cams, lighter flywheel, a bigger carburettor, and a myriad other traditional tuning tricks were employed; as a result power nearly doubled, up from 21.5 to 40 bhp. Claimed top speed was 80 mph. As well as the “standard” car, a special model was then built with a Zagato body, known as the Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato. It was launched at the 1955 Salon di Torino. The original model was also offered in a more luxurious variant for export (called “America”, as it was almost strictly meant for the United States) and a stripped down model with lower, uncovered headlamps and smaller taillights for the domestic Italian market. The “America” also has a different layout around the rear license plate. The all-aluminium bodywork has Zagato’s famous “double-bubble” design and Abarth’s tuned derivazione engine with 43 bhp. Aside from the floorpan, not much of the Fiat 600 remains in use for these cars. It had a top speed of around 90 mph and proved popular. Around 600 were sold. By the time of the appearance of the Abarth Zagato Record Monza 750 Bialbero, the bodywork had been unified into a separate model with a rather large hump on the engine lid, made necessary by the taller twin-cam motor. There were then three distinct models 750 “Double Bubble”, 750 Record Monza and 750 “Sestrieie”, this last having a single cam pushrod engine and the majority built with a steel body and a very small number of Alloy cars, just one of which is known to exist today. he 750 GT Bialbero model appeared at the 1958 Turin Show; along with various alterations to the bodywork, it had the new twin-cam engine with 57 bhp at 7000 rpm. The first series constituted 100 cars, enough to homologate the car for the Gran Turismo competition category. The “Record Monza” was the most successful racing Abarth in the USA under the Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr Racing team, (Abarth cars winning over 700 races worldwide), including both Sebring with the 750cc Bialbero engine and Daytona under 1000cc races in 1959 widely believed to have had the first 982cc Bialbero engine. The Sestriere had upright headlights and two very large air intakes on the engine lid much wider than a double bubble. The Sestriere was believed to be the last model produced for Abarth by Zagato, due to disagreements between Abarth and Zagato, so Abarth developed the 750 GTZ with a twin cam engine and the body evolved by Sibona and Basono into the Bialbero 700 and 1000 models. which were first seen in 1960. They are equally rare these days. Seen here was a 1959 850 Stradale Zagato.
Dating from 1970 is this 2000 SP SE019. Like many Abarths, there is a complex history behind the SE019, starting with the earlier SE014.The original SE014 design featured the startling-looking ‘Cuneo’ or ‘wedge’-shaped Abarth sports-prototype body design. That model emerged in 1969 and was heavily influenced by the demonstrable aerodynamic performance of the Lotus Type 56 gas-turbine engined Indianapolis singe-seater Speedway cars of 1968. Design was by Abarth’s long-faithful chief engineer Mario Colucci, a long-time advocate of central engine mounting ahead of the rear axle line in direct conflict with the philosophy of his boss, Carlo Abarth, who always preferred overhung outboard engine mounting, behind the rear axle. In general, it was yet again the Boss’s views that prevailed in the first of the Abarth ‘Cuneo’ series of sports-prototype cars the overhung-engined 2000 SE014 introduced early in the 1969 season. In fact Colucci designed that car as a development of the successful 2000 Sport Spider SE010’s multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, and then clothed the end result in the newly-conceived ‘Cuneo’ or ‘wedge’-shaped body form. Power was provided by Abarth’s familiar 1,946cc 4-cylinder 16-valve twin-overhead camshaft racing engine, producing a mighty 250bhp at 8,700rpm. The bodyshell was hand-fashioned in-house at the Abarth Corso Marche factory by resident panel-basher Giuseppe Manera. Overall weight was listed as only 560kg 1,235lbs and, driven by hill-climb specialist Edoardo Lualdi Gabardi the works car challenged former Abarth star Peter Schetty’s latest factory Ferrari 212E Montaga flat-12 for the year’s European Mountain Championship title. Into 1970 the SE019 ‘Entrobordo’ model emerged and it won upon its International debut at Ricard-Castellet in France driven by Mario Casoni. The Fiat-Abarth 2000 Sport Spiders of Ed Swart and ‘Pogo’ followed Casoni home for a marque 1-2-3 finish.
Abarth made a name for itself by tuning small, rear-engined Fiat models, but it also worked with other car manufacturers, including Simca. The fact that Fiat still owned part of Simca at the turn of the 1960s facilitated the collaboration. Henri Theodore Pigozzi, the man who helped Fiat create Simca and ran it for decades, allegedly contacted Abarth in the months leading up to the 1000’s release to ask for two high-performance variants of the car. The first one needed to be a hotter version of the regular-production model. The second one was a coupe based on the production car, but fitted with a racing-specific body, and upgraded with a wide array of mechanical modifications. The Simca-Abarth 1150’s promising career was cut short when Chrysler began buying into Simca and Pigozzi quit. However, Abarth received a shipment of bare 1000 chassis to turn into race cars. After experimenting with a 1.0-litre engine, Abarth adopted a 1.3-litre that delivered 128 hp thanks in part to a pair of big Weber carburettors. The four shifted through a Simca-sourced four-speed manual transmission, but clients could order an Abarth-designed six-speed manual at an extra cost. Abarth entered four 1300 GTs in the 1962 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One car finished 14th; the other three dropped out of the race. The model fared better in 1963, when it stunningly earned 90 first-place finishes at a wide variety of events, including the 12 Hours of Sebring. This one is a 1965 Abarth-Simca 2-Mila: Abarth’s bet had paid off. Even with little support and almost no enthusiasm from Simca, the 1000-derived 1300 GT had become a force to be reckoned with on race tracks around the world. The company’s ambitions didn’t stop at the 1300-cc category. In 1964, it stuffed the OT 2000’s 177-hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the engine bay, and made the coupe more stable at high speeds by extending its rear end and integrating a spoiler into the decklid. The modifications transformed the 1300 GT into a monster of a race car that required serious driving skills to tame. Abarth named it 2 Mila, a name which means “two thousand” in Italian, and refers to the engine’s displacement. Brave and determined customers could order a 192-hp version of the engine, and the 2 Mila’s output later grew to 202 hp thanks in part to bigger carburettors. Simca severed ties with Abarth in 1965, and it ultimately founded an in-house racing department which created the race-winning 1000 Rallye. Abarth continued building—and racing—Simca-based cars for several more years, however.
The Abarth OT 1300 was a racing car produced between 1965 and 1966. The Ferrari 250 GTO may have been heralded for winning the Division 3 World Touring Car Championship but the Fiat Abarth OT 1300 nearly matched its performance in Division 1. Over 50 cars were made. This small car won many important victories for Abarth including the 1966 and 1967 Division 1 World Championships. The car was based on Simca parts and used a heavily modified Simca chassis from the Simca 1000. The engineer Mario Colucci was responsible for the design. Fixed to the chassis were a new front and rear sections that supported independent suspension and modified Fiat 850 components. The engine was designed from the ground up but was similar to the Simca 1.3-litre that had been used in previous years. The engine was built at Corso Marche and by Luciano Fochi who had already designed the 1.6 and 2.0-litre units. Hallmarks of the engine included five main bearings, twin overhead cams and twin-choke Weber carburettors. The whole car was covered in a sleek fibreglass body that was penned Mario Colucci and fabricated at Sibona & Basano of Turin. At the front was a large opening to feed air to the radiator, cooling the engine. The air was then extracted out the top of the hood. Both the front and rear sections were hinged and provided ample access to the running gear.
Representing the latest addition to the road car range was this example of the 124 GT
Also brand new was this 2019 Formula 4 car, produced for the Italian Formula 4 Championship.
This is an Alfa Romeo 155 GTA. Super Touring. The 155 was very successful in touring car racing, using the Supertouring-homologated GTA and the V6 TI for the DTM. Between 1992 and 1994, the 155 managed to take the Italian Superturismo Championship, the German DTM championship (both with Nicola Larini at the wheel), the Spanish Touring Car Championship (with Adrián Campos), and the British Touring Car Championship (with Gabriele Tarquini). The 155 remained competitive until it was replaced with the 156, finishing third in the DTM (then known as the International Touring Car Championship, or ITC) in 1996 with Alessandro Nannini and winning the Spanish championship again in 1997 with Fabrizio Giovanardi. In 1993, Larini in an Alfa 155 placed second in the FIA Touring Car Challenge behind Paul Radisich in a Ford Mondeo. The 156 was to continue the high standard set by the 155, winning the European Touring Car Championship multiple times. In 1992, Alfa Romeo on the wake of the wins obtained by the 155 GTA in the Italian CIVT championship, decided to start the production of a “Stradale” version to be manufactured at the Abarth workshop. The car was displayed at Bologna Motor Show and being used at Monza GP d’Italia as safety car. Designed by Abarth engineer Sergio Limone, the Stradale used the 155 Q4 as a base using its drivetrain and four-wheel drive system. The interior was stripped of some creature comforts and the car was fitted with a race inspired body kit with a large rear spoiler. Only unit was made before the project was due to high manufacturing costs.
The only non-Italian car in the display was this Opel GT Conrero. It was 1968 when Opel built the GT, its first sports coupe and immediately hypotheses were made for its possible use in the races reserved for sports cars. There were several companies involved in developing these variants, but it was the Italian Autotecnica Conrero who built the best version of all in 1969. This model, approved for FIA Group 4, was aesthetically recognized for the additional mudguards fixed to the bodywork by means of rivets that allowed the installation of increased competition wheels while the passenger compartment was updated with safety roll-bars, sports seats and new indicators for the monitoring of oil temperature and fuel pressure. The four-cylinder 1.9 engine was then developed to deliver the power of 225 hp thanks to the installation of a special cylinder head, the Kügelfisher power supply and an exhaust system without muffler, ensuring a maximum speed of 235 km / h with acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 7.2 seconds. Used until 1986 in numerous competitions, the GT powered by Conrero obtained the class victory at the 1971 Targa Florio as the best result, which guaranteed the German company third place in the International Cup for GT Cars.
Completing the display was this rather bizarre Lancia Trevi Bimotore. In 1984 Lancia needed to replace the Rally 037. The rear-wheel-drive car had already performed miracles by winning the World Rally Championship for Makes the previous year, beating emerging Audi and Peugeot cars equipped with all-wheel drive; however, the clear technical superiority of its rivals convinced Lancia to develop a new contender with all-wheel drive. In the Chivasso plant, Giorgio Pianta (versatile racing driver, test driver and Abarth team manager) designed and built a car that used two engines to provide four-wheel drive. The point of departure was the new Lancia Trevi Volumex, equipped with a supercharged two-litre engine that provided the vital low-end torque needed to win rallies. Pianta dispensed with the rear seat bench, leaving a gap at the rear of the bodyshell for a subframe (just like the one at the front) that would house a second engine, identical to the first. The entire front axle, engine, gearbox and suspension were effectively duplicated at the rear. The rear doors were welded shut and fitted with large air intakes that cooled the mid-mounted engine. The deflector on the rear upright was also opened to provide another air inlet. Although the red livery and the longitudinal stripe in the colours of Turin bring to mind the Amaranto Montebello colour of the winning Fulvia HF, the Trevi Bimotore definitely lacked sportiness and a competitive streak. Nevertheless, it proved to be an effective test vehicle. The two engines were not mechanically coupled, only the two gearboxes were connected so that they could be operated by a single lever, with just one pedal to activate the two clutches. The two accelerators were controlled by a rudimentary electronic system that determined the delay in supplying power to the rear axle. In this way, Pianta tried to reduce oversteer and achieve faster curve exits to get the most out of his original creation. The dashboard had two rev counters, the second of which replaced the speedometer, and two central gauges indicated the water temperature and oil pressure of each engine. The space-age dashboard was based on the standard design by Mario Bellini, with some indicator lights modified so that both engines could be kept under control. Although the car was fast and very effective, it was overweight due to having twice the mechanicals and the rear engine had a tendency to overheat. The solution was not adopted on the Lancia Rally’s successor, the Delta S4, but curiously some similarities can be found in the road version of the S4: they include a mid-mounted engine, enclosed in a casing covered by the same beige carpet used in the passenger compartment, which was the exact same solution adopted by Pianta in the Trevi Bimotore. Other similarities: the removable wheel rims were identical to those on the road-going S4, because the Trevi Bimotore was used to test the special Pirelli tyres produced specifically for the new Lancia.
As if that is not enough, then were plenty of other Abarth models dispersed around the event, with these attracting the photographer’s attention. There were further examples of the 595SS, 850TC and a 1000 Bialbero.
By the late ’60s, noting a dramatic decline in sales of its vehicles, Carlo Abarth decided to focus on the production of sports cars for sale to private entrants. To encourage them with a purchase, he created this car, the 2000 Sport Tipo SE 010. The engine was a four-cylinder 2 litre with two Weber 58 DC03 carburettors that generated 250 hp and gave a maximum speed of 270 km/h. There was a five-speed manual transmission. The chassis frame was of a tubular type made of steel. The front suspensions consisted of oscillating trapezoids, coil springs, stabiliser bars and telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers, while the rear ones had oscillating arms, coil springs, stabiliser bars and telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers. Driven for the first time in the uphill race at Ampus, in France, the 2000 Sport obtained numerous victories and placements, including claiming the first three positions in the 500 km of the Nürburgring in 1968 with Shetty, Ortner and Merzario.
In 1971 the Fiat 124 Spider was prepared for the World Rally Championship when Abarth became involved with its production and development. Abarth designer Ing. Colucci was responsible for getting the 124 Spider into Group 4 rally trim. Over this period the Abarth Spider was relatively successful with wins at the 1972 Hessen Rally, Acropolis Rally, 1973 Polish Rally, 19th on the 1973 RAC rally and seventh to mostly the Alpine Renaults on the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally. The Spider continued to perform with first, second and third in the 1974 eighth Portuguese TAP Rally, sixth in the 1974 1000 Lakes, fourth in the 1975 Monte Carlo Rally and also with Markku Alén driving the spider to third place. By 1976 the days of 124 rallying were numbered due to the appearance of the Fiat-Abarth 131. The Fiat Abarth 124 Rally is a street legal rally version of the 124 Sport Spider sold to the masses, known also as “124 Abarth Stradale”, introduced in November 1972. Its main purpose was to receive FIA homologation in the special grand touring cars (group 4) racing class, and replace the 1.6-litre Fiat Sport Spider rally cars which were presently being campaigned. At the time 124 had already won the 1972 European Rally Championship at the hands of Raffaele Pinto and Gino Macaluso. The 124 Rally was added to the Sport Spider range, which included the 1600 and 1800 models; the first 500 examples produced were earmarked for the domestic Italian market. Amongst the most notable modifications over the standard spider there were independent rear suspension, engine upgrades, lightweight body panels, and a rigid hard top. In place of the usual rear solid axle, there is independent suspension from lower wishbones, the original trailing arms, an upper strut and an anti-roll bar. At the front a radius rod on each side was added to the standard double wishbones. The Abarth-tuned type 132 AC 4.000 1.8-litre, twin-cam engine was brought from the standard 118 to 128 PS DIN (126 hp) by replacing the standard twin-choke carburettor with double vertical twin-choke Weber 44 IDFs, and by fitting an Abarth exhaust with a dual exit exhaust. The 9.8:1 compression ratio was left unchanged. The transmission is the all-synchronised five-speed optional on the other Sport Spider models, and brakes are discs on all four corners. Despite the 20 kg (44 lb) four-point roll bar fitted, kerb weight is 938 kg (2,068 lb), roughly 25 kg (55 lb) less than the regular 1.8-litre Sport Spider. Engine bonnet, boot lid and the fixed hard top are fibreglass, painted matt black, the rear window is perspex and the doors aluminium. Front and rear bumpers were deleted and replaced by simple rubber bumperettes. A single matte black wing mirror was fitted. Matte black wheel arch extensions house 185/70 VR 13 Pirelli CN 36 tyres on 5.5 J × 13″ four-spoke alloy wheels. Inside centre console, rear occasional seats, and glovebox lid were eliminated; while new features were anodised aluminium dashboard trim, a small three-spoke leather-covered Abarth steering wheel, and Recaro corduroy-and-leather bucket seats as an extra-cost option. The car carries Fiat badging front and rear, Abarth badges and “Fiat Abarth” scripts on the front wings, and Abarth wheel centre caps. Only three paint colours were available: Corsa red, white, and light blue.
In 1976, 400 examples of the Fiat 131 Abarth Rally were built for homologation purposes. These cars were built in a cooperation between Fiat, Bertone and Abarth. Bertone took part-completed two door standard bodyshells from the production line in Mirafiori, fitted plastic mudguards front and rear, a plastic bonnet and bootlid and modified the metal structure to accept the rear independent suspension. The cars were fully painted and trimmed and then delivered back to the Fiat special Rivalta plant where they received the Abarth mechanicals. The street version of the car used a DOHC 4 valves per cylinder derivative of the standard quad cam inline-four engine, equipped with a double downdraught 34 ADF Weber carburettors producing 140 PS at 6400 rpm and 127 lb/ft at 3600 rpm of torque. The street cars used the standard gearbox with no synchromesh (Rally type regulations required the use of the same type of synchromesh on the competition cars as on the street versions) and the hopelessly underdimensioned brake system of the small Fiat 127. Competition cars used dry sump lubrication and eventually Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. In race specifications, the engine produced up to 240 PS in 1980, being driven to World Championship status by Walter Röhrl.
There were a number of examples of the modern Abarth here, too. Among them was a recent 595, as well as a 695 Biposto. First shown at the 2014 Geneva Show, this 2 seater (that’s what Biposto means in Italian) is nothing other than a road legal version of the 695 Assetto Corse Racing car, a vehicle which has its own race series in Europe. Although the car is road legal, it was envisaged that the majority of people who buy one of these cars will use it on the track and quite frequently. So it was conceived accordingly. That means upgrades to all the important bits – engine, brakes, suspension, gearbox – and some fairly drastic measures to save weight which resulted in a car which generates 190 bhp and 199 lb/ft or 250 Nm of torque with a kerb weight of just 997kg. That’s enough to give a 0 – 60 time that is under 6 seconds, and a top speed of 143 mph. Those are supercar figures produced by a city car. There’s more to it than that, though, as the changes that go to make a Biposto are extensive, and they have been well thought through, so this is a long-way from being a hastily conceived or tuned up special. Ignoring the limited edition cars which arrived during 2015, the “regular” Biposto is only offered in Matt Performance Grey paint, and the car is visually distinctive, with a new front bumper, rear diffuser, wider arches, new skirts and bigger roof spoiler. Although the engine is still the same 1.4 T-jet that features in the lesser 500 and 595 cars, it has been reworked here, with a new Garrett turbocharger, larger intercooler, altered fuel rail and an Akrapovic exhaust system. Buyers can choose between the standard five speed gearbox or an optional race-bred dog-ring unit mated to a mechanical limited slip diff. The standard car’s MacPherson strut and torsion beam suspension has been reworked, too, with altered springs, wider tracks adjustable ride height and dampers with more resilient bushings, using Extreme Shox technology shock absorbers. The brakes are upgraded in line with the extra power, featuring 305mm Brembo discs and four pot calipers up front and 240mm discs with single pot calipers at the rear. The wheels are lightened 18″ OZ and attached via a titanium hub, shod with bespoke 215/35 Goodyear tyres. In the interest of weight saving, a number of standard trim items are removed, including the regular door trims, air conditioning, the rear seats and some of the sound deadening material. Even the standard air vents have been changed so they are covered by a simple mesh. In their place is plenty of polished carbon fibre, a titanium strut brace, racing seats and harness, as well as special trim features such as new pedals, tread plates and a race inspired digital display on the dash where the radio usually sits. Although the Matt Performance Grey car is probably the one you think of when someone says “Biposto”, there were other versions, with a very rare red and the Record Edition. There were just 133 of these made, all painted in Modena Yellow, at the time an exclusive Biposto colour. These cars had some of the civility restored with air conditioning and a radio included in the spec.
And then there was this, the Bonetto Bi-4WD. Based on the regular 500, it has an extended wheelbase, a tuned 380 bhp version of the Alfa 4C engine squeezed in and four wheel drive. Bonkers, for sure!
Finally, there was this 1980 Formula Fiat Abarth. This is the last Abarth car to be produced during the long and productive life of company founder and long-time principal, Carlo Abarth. Carlo Abarth informed Avidano that he (Abarth) had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and that he wished to visit the Turin factory one final time. Avidano had worked faithfully with the Austrian-born engineer/entrepreneur for some 25 years. He met his former superior and took him to the works factory, where the old man studied the brand-new Formula Fiat-Abarth single-seater then under construction. He was critical of the way the car looked and, supported by another of his former colleagues, chief designer Mario Colucci he sat down with some cardboard and a pair of scissors and reworked the car’s body shape – in the words of Abarth biographer Luciano Greggio: “…a touch here, a cut there” , he worked for an hour in the role that he loved so much because he wanted to leave his mark one last time on a car which, deep down, he still felt was his… That was Carlo Abarth’s last, almost mute contribution as a car designer and technician. He died in Vienna on 23 October, 1979…”. The cars were built using the 2000 cc DOHC engine from Lancia, fed by two carburettors , even the 5-speed gearbox was derived from production vehicles. Among the many drivers who have started their career on the Formula Abarth were the likes of Emanuele Pirro and Alessandro Nannini, respectively winners of the 1980 and 1981 championships.
There were some special Alfa Romeo on the large FCA stand, too. Oldest of these was this spectacular Alfa 750 Competizione dating from 1955. In 1955 the Giulietta twin-cam engine formed the basis for a barchetta-style sportscar designed to enter competitions in the 1500 cc Sports class. Abarth was tasked with tuning the engine and created the sheet metal chassis, while Boano developed the original bodywork. The great transformations taking place at the Portello plant in the 1950s prompted Alfa Romeo to quit Formula 1 after winning the first two Drivers’ Championships. But despite this withdrawal, the Milanese automaker never lost the racing heritage in its DNA. While the 1900 and Giulietta epitomised the concept of the “family car that wins races” by beating off competition in the touring category, Alfa was secretly developing prototypes to compete in the sport category. After the outlandish, futuristic 1900 C52—nicknamed the Disco Volante or “Flying Saucer”—came the 750 Competizione. Whereas the former was unique for its ogival cross-section body, the latter was equally unconventional compared with the prevailing Alfa Romeo cars of that period. The 750 prototype (whose number did not refer to engine displacement, but was an in-house code representing the Giulietta) was actually developed in conjunction with Abarth, which tuned the engine, built the chassis and assigned trusted coachbuilder Boano to develop the original bodywork, which differed from the style of other Alfa cars of the time. The characteristic three-lobed grille expressed the Alfa Romeo identity. but the barchetta harboured a host of new solutions, including the double exhaust on the left side and rear fins. The 750 Competizione was a traditional, open two-seater sportscar with right-hand drive, but with a partition running down the middle of the cockpit, between the driver and passenger seats. Each occupant had separate plexiglass windshields connected to small side windows. Under the small left-hand door was an openable bay containing a pair of four-to-two exhaust mufflers. At the rear, two fins led to the small rear lights, while another fin higher up merged into the driver’s headrest. Abarth, bucking the widespread trend of using tubular frames for racing cars, created a load-bearing body with steel sheets, plus classic features such as a front-mounted engine combined with rear-wheel drive, as well as independent suspension at the front and rigid axle suspension at the rear. The twin-cam Giulietta Sprint engine was tuned up, boosting displacement to 1488 cc and adopting a dual ignition cylinder head, which increased power output to 145 hp at over 8000 rpm. The gearbox had five forward gears and the top speed exceeded 220 km/h. Although the car was successfully tested and demonstrated good dynamic qualities, the project was abandoned because Alfa decided not to return to competitive racing. The 750 Competizione on show is therefore a unique example, which belongs to the FCA Heritage collection and resides in the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum in Arese.
Also on show here was a Montreal. First seen as a concept car in 1967 at Expo 67, the car was initially displayed without any model name, but the public took to calling it the Montreal. It was a 2+2 coupe using the 1.6-litre engine of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI and the short wheelbase chassis of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, with a body designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. One of the two concept cars built for Expo 67 is displayed in the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum in Arese, Italy, while the other is in museum storage. Reaction to the concept was sufficiently encouraging that Alfa decided to put the car into production. The result, the Tipo 105.64, was shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and was quite different from the original, using a 2593 cc 90° dry-sump lubricated V8 engine with SPICA (Società Pompe Iniezione Cassani & Affini) fuel injection that produced around 200 PS (197 hp), coupled to a five-speed ZF manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. This engine was derived from the 2-litre V8 used in the 33 Stradale and in the Tipo 33 sports prototype racer; its redline was set at 7,000 rpm, unheard of for a V8 at that time. The chassis and running gear of the production Montreal were taken from the Giulia GTV coupé and comprised double wishbone suspension with coil springs and dampers at the front and a live axle with limited slip differential at the rear.Since the concept car was already unofficially known as The Montreal, Alfa Romeo kept the model name in production. Stylistically, the most eye catching feature was the car’s front end with four headlamps partly covered by unusual “grilles”, that retract when the lights are switched on. Another stylistic element is the NACA duct on the bonnet. The duct is actually blocked off since its purpose is not to draw air into the engine, but to optically hide the power bulge. The slats behind the doors contain the cabin vents, but apart from that only serve cosmetic purposes. Paolo Martin is credited for the prototype instrument cluster. The Montreal was more expensive to buy than the Jaguar E-Type or the Porsche 911. When launched in the UK it was priced at £5,077, rising to £5,549 in August 1972 and to £6,999 by mid-1976. Production was split between the Alfa Romeo plant in Arese and Carrozzeria Bertone’s plants in Caselle and Grugliasco outside Turin. Alfa Romeo produced the chassis and engine and mechanicals and sent the chassis to Caselle where Bertone fitted the body. After body fitment, the car was sent to Grugliasco to be degreased, partly zinc coated, manually spray painted and have the interior fitted. Finally, the car was returned to Arese to have the engine and mechanicals installed. It is worth noting that because of this production method, there is not necessarily any correspondence between chassis number, engine number and production date. The Montreal remained generally unchanged until it was discontinued in 1977. By then, production had long ceased already as Alfa were struggling to sell their remaining stock. The total number built was around 3900. None of them were sold in Montreal, Quebec since Alfa did not develop a North American version to meet the emission control requirements in the United States & Canada. The car was both complex and unreliable which meant that many cars deteriorated to a point where they were uneconomic to restore. That position has changed in the last couple of years, thankfully, with the market deciding that the car deserves better, and prices have risen to you whereas a good one would have been yours for £20,000 only a couple of years ago, you would now likely have to pay more than double that.
Another stand featured Alfa Romeo’s participation in motor sport with an array of Giulietta and Giulia-based cars on show.
A small number of Giulia Berlina models were converted to estate car format, and these cars were used for a variety of purposes including police and ambulance duty. This one was a race support car.
This is a1961 De Tomaso F1. There were four DeTomaso F1 cars produced in 1961. This example was entrusted to Scuderia Settecolli for Roberto Bussinello. Throughout the 1950s, Argentina would seemingly produce an endless number of talented racing drivers including the great Juan Manuel Fangio and the fast Jose Froilan Gonzalez. South American drivers seemed to be aces in the hole when it came to Formula One and Sportscar racing. However, not all would be as successful. In the case of Alejandro de Tomaso, his fame would come along another path. Alejandro de Tomaso would be born in Argentina in 1928. However, the young man’s dreams would soon turn Italian red as he dreamed of becoming a racing driver for one of the fabled Italian marques. Of course, the dream of Italian racing red would be somewhat thrust upon him by the rise of Juan Peron to president in Argentina. De Tomaso’s family was of high political rank and would become implicated in a plot to overthrow Peron. This would necessitate the family leaving to what was the home of his paternal grandfather. De Tomaso’s family would flee Argentina in 1955. Due to the family’s financial position, Alejandro would be free to chase his dreams of becoming a famous racing driver for an Italian team. Unfortunately, de Tomaso’s dreams were larger than his talent and, by 1959, he was already looking for another route in which to enjoy his love of motor racing. De Tomaso would only end up taking part in two Formula One World Championship races and they would come over a period of three years. The first race, amazingly, would come in 1957 at the Argentine Grand Prix. His last would be at the 1959 United States Grand Prix driving a Cooper-OSCA. Neither of the two races would earn de Tomaso World Championship points. And the Argentine Grand Prix in 1957 would, in fact, be the only one of the two in which he would actually finish. It certainly seemed clear his Formula One career was finished. But, having settled in Modena with his family, de Tomaso would find himself in what would have to have been considered the heart of Italy’s motor racing scene. Living within walking distance of Ferrari, Maserati and within a hours drive away from OSCA, de Tomaso would find himself in the company of some of the greatest motor racing manufacturers of the day. Yet, despite such an overwhelming presence, de Tomaso would decide that though his racing career, as a driver, may be at an end, his career as a manufacturer may just be beginning. Therefore, in 1959, de Tomaso would establish De Tomaso Automobili SpA and would make yet another manufacturer to be based in Modena. De Tomaso’s first focus would be upon becoming yet another Italian racing car manufacturer, hopefully earning as strong a reputation as Ferrari and Maserati. But, to be able to fund the company’s racing interest, de Tomaso would begin construction of his first major production car just a handful of years after having established his company. De Tomaso’s interests had changed. He realized he would never achieve the dream of becoming a major racing driver, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t achieve such a dream as a car manufacturer. Therefore, de Tomaso would set about preparing his first cars for competition. Just two years after establishing his company, he would be rolling out his first Formula One chassis—the 1961 De Tomaso F1. De Tomaso’s first foray into the racing world as a car manufacturer would be by designing and building a Formula Junior car. Just starting out, de Tomaso would look to inspiration from others to help him with his first design and, ultimately, the de Tomaso Formula Junior car would bear a striking resemblance to a Cooper chassis. However, de Tomaso knew that building Formula Junior cars would not achieve him the acclaim he was in search of. Therefore, the following year, 1960, he would set about building an OSCA-powered Formula 2 car. De Tomaso would set about designing his first Formula 2 car. He would start out with a space-frame chassis that would end up sporting a long, rather slim nose with an elegant oval-shaped radiator inlet that was similar in design to most every other design of the time. This nose design would end up changing depending upon the venue. The higher-speed events would see the car adorned with a much more shallow radiator inlet design than at some of the other slower-speed venues. De Tomaso would then look to the car’s front and rear suspension. He would determine to use double-wishbone front and rear suspension that would feature coil springs at all four corners of the car. All four wheels would sport specially-cast alloy wheels and disc brakes. The car’s fuel tanks would be positioned in tanks on either side of the cockpit making the driver’s office quite tight. The cockpit would be made even more tight by the wrap-around windscreen pulling in on the driver’s soldiers. The overall small car would make for the driver to sit up tall inside the tight cockpit. Within the cockpit, the driver would find the raised footbox and the gear lever controlling the de Tomaso designed 5-speed gearbox. Initially, de Tomaso had designed the small Formula 2 car for a 4-cylinder, twin-cam, OSCA engine. Given the small size of the 1.5-litre engine, de Tomaso would design a contoured piece of bodywork to cover the rear end of the car, making for a nicely streamlined car. As it would have it, de Tomaso would never race his Formula 2 car. Beginning with the 1961 Formula One season, the engine regulations would force a maximum displacement of 1.5-liters. While many of those involved in Formula One would look at the new regulations with much disdain, de Tomaso would see it as his opportunity to move up to the big time as his Formula 2 was now eligible. De Tomaso would make his De Tomaso F1 available to a number of privateer customers. Producing a total of six chassis, one of the first examples de Tomaso would sell would end up being purchased by Scuderia Serenissima and it would be driven by Giorgio Scarlatti. The team would purchase an OSCA-powered version of the car and would enter the French Grand Prix held at the fast Reims circuit. Given the small size of the 4-cylinder OSCA engine, Scarlatti would be destined to run at the back of the field. A total of 26 cars would end up qualifying for the 52 lap race. Scarlatti would find himself 26th, dead-last. Around 7 seconds slower than the 25th starter on the grid, Scarlatti would be destined to start from the eleventh row of the grid and stare at the back of the field all race long, that is, if the small 4-cylinder engine could make the entire race distance. While he would not be the first one out of the race, Scarlatti wouldn’t even manage to make it half distance before the engine expired. Unfortunately, it seemed the small OSCA engine just would not be able to compete over the course of the season. Therefore, Scarlatti would not take part in another race in the De Tomaso the rest of the season. The Scuderia Serenissima team, then, would look to a different driver, and engine, over the course of the 1961 season. De Tomaso would make another engine available for his car. Based upon the production Guillietta 4-cylinder, Alfa-Romeo would take its popular engine and would then send it to tuner Conrero to have the engine enlarged and modified. One of those modifications would include a twin plug cylinder head. This engine would then be mated to de Tomaso’s F1 car. Unfortunately, the Alfa-powered derivative would only prove to be slightly more powerful, but still, not quick enough to pull itself out of the back of the pack. The highlight of the Alfa-powered versions of de Tomaso’s F1 cars throughout the 1961 season would come with the third chassis at the Italian Grand Prix. While the OSCA-powered De Tomasos would find themselves within a couple of rows within being dead-last, the Alfa-powered car, driven by Nino Vaccarella, would end up qualifying 20th. And, among the De Tomaso entries, Vaccarella would prove the longest lasting. Unfortunately, it meant that none of the other drivers managed to make it past 13 laps, for that is when Nino retired from the race with engine failure. This would be the end of the 1961 Formula One season for any De Tomaso entries. Unfortunately, what it all meant is that out of the two races in which De Tomaso F1 cars were entered, none of them would see even a single car cross the finish line. Most unfortunate is that this trend would spill over into the following year when neither car for either Scuderia Settecolli or Scuderia de Tomaso would manage to qualify for the Italian Grand Prix. In the end, the 1961 De Tomaso F1 Alfa would prove no different to look at whether static or in motion as there really seemed to be no difference between the two stages of performance. Still, the car looked, aesthetically, very pleasing and provides all that rare opportunity of seeing the blue and white of Argentina contrasting beautifully with the red livery known the world over as pure Italian.
Joining it were a “low nose” Giulietta SS from 1959, a Giulietta Sprint and a Giulia Spider.
Plenty of Alfa models appeared throughout the rest of the Show, too.
Following the 1900 family, Alfa’s next new model range would be cheaper and aimed at capturing some of the market from middle class buyers. Known as Giulietta, the 750 and later 101 Series were a series of family-sized cars made from 1954 to 1965, and Alfa Romeo’s first, successful, foray into the 1.3-litre class. The first to be introduced was the Giulietta Sprint 2+2 coupé which was premiered at the 1954 Turin Motor Show. Designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone, it was produced at the coachbuilder’s Grugliasco plant, near Turin. A year later, at the Turin Motor Show in April 1955, the Sprint was joined by the 4-door saloon Berlina. In mid 1955, the open two-seat Giulietta Spider, featuring convertible bodywork by Pininfarina arrived. The Giulietta used unibody construction and a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Front suspension was by control arms, with coaxial coil springs and hydraulic dampers. At the rear there was a solid axle on coil springs and hydraulic dampers. The axle was located by a longitudinal link on each side, and by a wishbone-shaped arm linking the top of the aluminium differential housing to the chassis. All Giuliettas (save for the last SZ examples) had hydraulic drum brakes on all four corners. The Giulietta used an Alfa Romeo Twin Cam straight-four of 1290 cc, with an aluminium alloy engine block and cast iron inserted sleeves. Bore and stroke measured 74.0 mm and 75.0 mm. The aluminium alloy cylinder head was of a crossflow design and featured hemispherical combustion chambers. The double overhead camshafts were driven by two timing chains, and acted on two valves per cylinder, angled 80°. In 1957 a more powerful Berlina version, called Giulietta T.I. (Turismo Internazionale) was presented with minor cosmetic changes to the bonnet, the dial lights and rear lamps. Carrozzeria Colli also made the Giulietta station wagon variant called Giulietta Promiscua. Ninety-one examples of this version were built. Carrozzeria Boneschi also made a few station wagon examples called Weekendina. A new version of the Giulietta Berlina debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1959. Mechanical changes were limited to shifting the fuel pump from the cylinder head to a lower position below the distributor, and moving the previously exposed fuel filler cap from the tail to the right rear wing, under a flap. The bodywork showed a revised front end, with more rounded wings, recessed head lights, and new grilles with chrome frames and two horizontal bars. The rear also showed changes, with new larger tail lights on vestigial fins, which replaced the earlier rounded rear wings. The interior was much more organised and upholstered in new cloth material; the redesigned dashboard included a strip speedometer flanked by two round bezels, that on the T.I. housed a tachometer and oil and water temperature gauges. The T.I. also received a front side repeater mounted in a small spear, unlike the Normale which kept the earlier small round lamp with no decorations. During 1959 the type designation for all models was changed from 750 and 753 to 101. In February 1961 the 100,001st Giulietta rolled out of the Portello factory, with a celebration sponsored by Italian actress Giulietta Masina. In Autumn 1961 the Giulietta was updated a second time. Both Normale and T.I. had revised engines and new exhaust systems; output rose to 61 bhp and 73 bhp. With this new engine the car could reach a speed of almost 100mph. At the front of the car square mesh side grilles were now pieced together with the centre shield, and at the rear there were larger tail lights. Inside the T.I. had individual instead of bench seats, with storage nets on the seatbacks. June 1962 saw the introduction of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which would eventually replace the Giulietta. As until 1964 the Giulia only had a larger 1.6-litre engine, production of the standard Berlina ended with 1963, whilst the T.I. continued for a full year more. A last T.I. was completed in 1965. The Giulietta sport models had a different fate: Sprint, Sprint Speciale and Spider were fitted with the new 1.6-litre engine, received some updates and continued to be sold under the Giulia name until they were replaced by all-new Giulia-based models during 1965. These days., the Berlina is the model you see the least often. A few of the model are used in historic racing where the car takes on the might of those with far larger engines. A total of 177,690 Giuliettas were made, the great majority in Berlina saloon, Sprint coupé or Spider roadster body styles. It was the Giulietta Sprint that was to be seen here.
Alfa replaced the Giulietta with the Giulia in 1962, but as the Coupe and Spider were not ready, the Giulietta based models were kept in production, and renamed as Giulia. They gained a larger 1600cc engine, and this meant that the bonnet need to be raised a little to accommodate the new unit, so the easy recognition beyond Giulietta and Giulia Spiders is whether there is a flat bonnet or one with a slight hump and a vent in it.
There was also an example of the very lovely Giulietta SZ. The SZ (for Sprint Zagato, officially the Tipo 101.26, or “Type 101.26”) was an aluminium-bodied 2-seater berlinetta, built by Zagato for competition use on the chassis and mechanicals of the Sprint Speciale. A crashed Sprint Veloce was rebodied by Zagato in late 1956, and was immediately successful in competition. Zagato ended up building 18 rebodied Veloces, called the SVZ and the version gave rise to a full production version. The SVZ was about 120 kg (260 lb) lighter than the Coupé on which it was based, and had the highest tuned, 116 hp, version of the Giulietta engine. A production competition version of the Giulietta, with lightened bodywork designed by Franco Scaglione for Bertone was then premiered at the 1960 Geneve Salon. Handbuilt by Zagato, entirely in aluminium and with plexiglass windows, the lightened Sprint Zagato (SZ) was light, fast, and expensive. Two hundred seventeen were built, the original design with a rounded rear and with the last thirty (some say 46) receiving a longer kamm-style rear end as well as disc brakes up front. The original design is called the “Coda Tonda” (round tail), while the Kamm-design is referred to as the “Coda Tronca” (truncated tail). The Coda Tronca is sometimes also referred to as the “SZ2”. The first examples were built in December 1959, and production continued into 1962. Zagato also rebodied a few existing cars with this bodywork, leading to discrepancies in the production numbers. The SZ was very successful in racing, on a national level as well as internationally. The SZ helped Alfa Romeo secure a victory in the 1.3 litre class of the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962 and 1963. Michel Nicol won the Tour de Corse in 1957. On the rare occasions that these cars come up for sale, the price is massive compared to other Giulietta family models. The car seen here is a particularly special one, chassis number 101, which came to light recently having been stored away in a Torinese basement for more than 25 years. Its long term owner died and had no heirs, so the once the car had been liberated – not an easy task given its location – it went for auction where it sold for €500,000. The new owner has promised not to restore it but to leave it in its original unmolested state.
The 2600, or 106 Series, were an evolution of the model first seen in 1958 as a replacement for the 1900, and called the 2000 and known internally as the 102 Series. This was the time when Alfa was still in transition from being a maker of exclusive coachbuilt and racing cars to one that offered volume production models. The 102 Series were never likely to be big sellers, in a world that was still recovering economically from the ravages of the Second World War, but the range was an important flagship, nonetheless. The 2000 models ran for 4 years, from 1958 to 1962, at which point they were updated, taking on the name of 106 Series, with minor styling changes being accompanied by a larger 2600cc engine under the bonnet. As with the 2000 models, the new 2600 cars were sold in Berlina (Saloon), Sprint (Coupe) and Spider (Convertible) versions, along with a dramatically styled SZ Coupe from Italian styling house Zagato and a rebodied Berlina from OSI, all of them with an inline twin overhead cam six cylinder engine of 2.6 litres, the last Alfas to offer this configuration. Just 6999 of the Sprint models were made and 2255 Spiders, very few of which were sold new in the UK where they were exceedingly expensive thanks to the dreaded Import Duty which made them much more costly than an E Type. Many of the parts were unique to these cars, so owning one now is far harder than the more plentiful 4 cylinder Alfas of the era. Whilst the rather square styling of the Berlina, which won it relatively few friends when new and not a lot more in recent times means that there are few of these versions to be seen, the Sprint and Spider models do appear from time to time, and market interest in the cars is now starting to accelerate, with values rise accordingly. Seen here was a 2600 Spider.
It was with the 105 Series of cars that Alfa really found the sort of sales volume that they would need to be able to survive throughout the 1960s. The first car in this range, known as the Giulia, because it was larger than the Giulietta, was the Berlina model launched in 1962. The Giulia was produced from 1962 to 1978 in a bewildering array of similar models, which even the marque enthusiast can find hard to untangle. The styling was quite straight forward, but great attention was paid to detail. The engine bay, cabin and boot were all square shaped. But the grille, the rooflines and details on the bonnet and boot made for an integrated design from bumper to bumper. Thanks to Alfa Romeo using a wind tunnel during its development, the Giulia was very aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of Cd=0.34, which was particularly low for a saloon of the era and not a bad figure even for cars of today. Couple that with the fact that Alfa Romeo was one of the first manufacturers to put a powerful engine in a light-weight car (it weighed about 1,000 kilograms) and thanks to an array of light alloy twin overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, similar to that of the earlier Giulietta models range, the car had a lively performance which bettered that of many sports cars of the day. The Tipo 105.14 was the first model introduced in 1962. with a 1,570 cc Twin Cam engine with single down-draft carburettor generating 91 hp at 6500 rpm. The “TI” nomenclature referred to a class of Italian saloon car racing known as “Turismo Internazionale”, and had previously been applied to higher-performance versions of the 1900 and Giulietta saloons in the 1950s. However, for the Giulia saloon, the Ti was at first the only version available, and later, with the introduction of the TI Super and Super, the TI became the base version for the 1,600 cc engine class. The steering column gearchange (the only one in the Giulia range) was replaced with a floor change for 1964 (Tipo 105.08). Right hand drive cars, available from 1964, only ever had a floor change (Tipo 105.09). Brakes were by drums all around at first. Discs were introduced later, first at the front, and later all around. A brake servo was not fitted at first, but was introduced in later cars. The steering wheel featured the only horn ring ever in the Giulia range. The dashboard with a strip speedo is a notable feature, as is the steering wheel with a horn ring. The Giulia TI was phased out in 1968 and re-introduced as the austerity model 1600 S. Tipo 105.16 was a special racing model introduced in 1963. Quadrifoglio Verde stickers on the front wings were a distinguishing feature. Only 501 were made for homologation and today it is very rare and desirable. The 1,570 cc engine was fitted with two double-choke horizontal Weber 45DCOE carburettors for 110 hp at 6500 rpm. The body was lightened and a floor gearchange was fitted as standard, as were alloy wheels of very similar appearance to the standard steel ones of the TI. The TI’s instrument cluster with its strip speedometer was replaced with a three-instrument binnacle comprising speedometer, tachometer and a multi-gauge instrument (fuel, water temperature, oil temperature and pressure) – these instruments were similar to those fitted to the contemporary Giulia Sprint and Sprint Speciale coupes and Spider convertibles. The steering wheel was a three-spoke item with centre hornpush, also similar to that of the more sporting models. Braking was by discs all around, although the first cars used drums and early disc models lacked a servo which was introduced later. The police cars seen in The Italian Job were of this type. Tipo 105.06 was an austerity model made from 1964 to 1970 with a 1,290 cc single-carburettor engine for 77 hp at 6000 rpm. Four-speed gearbox with floor change fitted as standard (the 1300 was the only Giulia model not fitted with a five-speed gearbox). Though the engine was given a 105 series type number, it was basically the engine from the 101 series Giulietta Ti. This model appears not to have been exported to many markets outside Italy, if at all. Braking was by discs all around, without a servo at first, later with a servo. Tipo 105.26 was introduced in 1965. It transferred the technology from the racing TI Super to a road car, to make the most successful Giulia saloon. 1,570 cc engine with two double-choke Weber 40DCOE carburettors for a milder, but torquier tune than the TI Super – 97 hp at 5500 rpm. There was a new dashboard with two large round instruments (speedo and tacho) and clock, a sportier steering wheel with three aluminium spokes and centre horn push, similar to that of the Ti Super, later changed for one with the horn pushes in the spokes. All-around disc brakes with servo were fitted as standard from the outset. The serpent crest of the Sforza family appears in a badge on the C-pillar and is a distinguishing feature of the Super. For 1968, there was a suspension update, including revised geometry and a rear anti-roll bar. The wheels were changed in size from 5J x 15 to 5J x 14, and tyres from 155/15 to 165/14. For 1970, updates included dual-circuit brakes, centre-mounted handbrake lever to replace under-dash “umbrella handle”, larger external doorhandles, and top-hinged pedals (the latter in left hand drive models only; right hand drive continued with bottom-hinged pedals to the end of production). In 1972, Tipo 105.26 was rationalised into the Giulia 1.3 – Giulia 1.6 range. Tipo 105.39 built from 1965 to 1972. Right hand drive model replaced in 1970 by the 1300 Super. 1,290 cc engine with single down-draft carburettor for 81 hp at 6000 rpm. Unlike the re-deployed 101-series Giulietta engine of the austerity-model 1300, the 1300 ti motor was a 105 series engine, basically that of the sportier GT1300 Junior coupe with different camshaft timing (but the same camshafts) and induction system. Five-speed gearbox. Three-spoke bakelite steering wheel with plastic horn push covering the centre and spokes. Dashboard initially with strip speedo like that of the TI. For 1968, updates included a dashboard based on that of the Super, but with a simpler instrument binnacle, still featuring two large round instruments (speedo and tacho) and a separate fuel gauge, and the same suspension, wheel and tire updates applied to the Giulia Super in the same year. For 1970, updates included dual-circuit brakes, centre handbrake, larger external doorhandles and top-hinged pedals (on left hand drive cars only), again as applied to the Super for that year. Tipo 105.85 was basically a Giulia TI re-introduced in 1968 as a lower-level model to come between the 1300 and 1300 ti on one hand, and the Super on the other. It had a re-interpretation of the 1,570 cc single-carburettor engine for 94 hp at 5500 rpm and similar trim to the 1300 ti. Replaced in 1970 by the 1300 Super which offered similar performance in a lower tax bracket. The last cars from 1970 featured the top-hinged pedals, centre handbrake and dual-circuit brakes as for the Super and 1300 ti. Tipo 115.09 was introduced in 1970. It was basically a 1300 ti fitted with the engine from the GT 1300 Junior coupe that featured two double-choke horizontal carburettors; the engine actually had the GT 1300 Junior type number. This model was rationalised into the Giulia Super 1.3 – Giulia Super 1.6 range in 1972. In 1972 a rationalisation of the Giulia range saw the Super 1300 (Tipo 115.09) and the Super (Tipo 105.26) re-released as the Super 1.3 and Super 1.6. The two models featured the same equipment, interior and exterior trim, differing only in engine size (1,290 cc and 1,570 cc) and final drive ratio. The 1300 ti was dropped. A small Alfa Romeo badge on the C-pillar is a distinguishing feature, as are hubcaps with exposed wheel nuts. In December 1972 Alfa-Romeo South Africa released the 1600 Rallye. This locally developed more powerful 1600 cc version of the 1300 Super, using the 1300’s single-headlight body shell. The car was largely ready for competition and was only planned to be built in limited numbers, and was fitted with racing-style rear-view mirrors, rally lamps, fully adjustable seats, and a limited-slip differential. Claimed power was 125 hp. The Giulia Super range was re-released in 1974 as the Nuova Super range, including the Giulia Nuova Super 1300 and 1600 This and featured a new black plastic front grille and a flat boot lid without the characteristic centre spine. Otherwise the cars differed little from their Giulia Super predecessors and bore the same Tipo numbers with an S suffix. A Nuova Super fitted with a Perkins 1,760 cc diesel with 54 hp at 4000 rpm, the firm’s first attempt at diesel power. The same Perkins diesel was used also in Alfa Romeo F12 van. The diesel version was slow, 138 km/h (86 mph), and the engine somehow unsuitable for a sport sedan so it was not big seller, only around 6500 examples were made in 1976 and the car was not sold in the UK. Production of the Giulia ceased in 1977.
By 1963, Alfa were ready to add a Coupe version to their new 105 Series Giulia range. It evolved over a 14 year production life, with plenty of different models, though the basic design changed little. The first car was called the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, and was revealed at a press event held at the then newly opened Arese plant on 9 September 1963, and displayed later the same month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In its original form the Bertone body is known as scalino (step) or “step front”, because of the leading edge of the engine compartment lid which sat 1/4 an inch above the nose of the car. The Giulia Sprint GT can be distinguished from the later models by a number of features including: Exterior badging: Alfa Romeo logo on the front grille, a chrome script reading “Giulia Sprint GT” on the boot lid, and rectangular “Disegno di Bertone” badges aft of the front wheel arches; flat, chrome grille in plain, wide rectangular mesh without additional chrome bars; single-piece chrome bumpers; no overriders. Inside the cabin the padded vinyl dashboard was characterised by a concave horizontal fascia, finished in grey anti-glare crackle-effect paint. Four round instruments were inset in the fascia in front of the driver. The steering wheel was non-dished, with three aluminium spokes, a thin bakelite rim and a centre horn button. Vinyl-covered seats with cloth centres and a fully carpeted floor were standard, while leather upholstery was an extra-cost option. After initially marketing it as a four-seater, Alfa Romeo soon changed its definition of the car to a more realistic 2+2. The Giulia Sprint GT was fitted with the 1,570 cc version of Alfa Romeo’s all-aluminium twin cam inline four (78 mm bore × 82 mm stroke), which had first debuted on the 1962 Giulia Berlina. Breathing through two twin-choke Weber 40 DCOE 4 carburettors, on the Sprint GT this engine produced 105 hp at 6,000 rpm. Like all subsequent models, the Sprint GT was equipped with an all-synchromesh 5-speed manual transmission. The braking system comprised four Dunlop disc brakes and a vacuum servo. The rear brakes featured an unusual arrangement with the slave cylinders mounted on the axle tubes, operating the calipers by a system of levers and cranks. According to Alfa Romeo the car could reach a top speed of “over 180 km/h (112 mph)”. In total 21,902 Giulia Sprint GT were produced from 1963 to 1965, when the model was superseded by the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce. Of these 2,274 were right hand drive: 1,354 cars fully finished in Arese, and 920 shipped in complete knock-down kit form for foreign assembly. For 1966, the Giulia Sprint GT was replaced by the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, which was very similar but featuring a number of improvements: a revised engine—slightly more powerful and with more torque—better interior fittings and changes to the exterior trim. Alongside the brand new 1750 Spider Veloce which shared its updated engine the Sprint GT Veloce was introduced at the 36th Geneva Motor Show in March 1966, and then tested by the international specialist press in Gardone on the Garda Lake. Production had began in 1965 and ended in 1968. The Giulia Sprint GT Veloce can be most easily distinguished from other models by the following features: badging as per Giulia Sprint GT, with the addition of round enamel badges on the C-pillar—a green Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) on an ivory background—and a chrome “Veloce” script on the tail panel; black mesh grille with three horizontal chrome bars; the grille heart has 7 bars instead of 6; stainless steel bumpers, as opposed to the chromed mild steel bumpers on the Giulia Sprint GT. The bumpers are the same shape, but are made in two pieces (front) and three pieces (rear) with small covers hiding the joining rivets. Inside the main changes from the Giulia Sprint GT were imitation wood dashboard fascia instead of the previous anti-glare grey finish, front seats revised to a mild “bucket” design, and a dished three aluminium spoke steering wheel, with a black rim and horn buttons through the spokes. The Veloce’s type 00536 engine, identical to the Spider 1600 Duetto’s, featured modifications compared to the Giulia Sprint GT’s type 00502—such as larger diameter exhaust valves. As a result it produced 108 hp at 6,000 rpm, an increase of 3 hp over the previous model, and significantly more torque. The top speed now exceeded 185 km/h (115 mph). Early Giulia Sprint GT Veloces featured the same Dunlop disc brake system as the Giulia Sprint GT, while later cars substituted ATE disc brakes as pioneered on the GT 1300 Junior in 1966. The ATE brakes featured an handbrake system entirely separate from the pedal brakes, using drum brakes incorporated in the rear disc castings. Though the Sprint GT Veloce’s replacement—the 1750 GT Veloce—was introduced in 1967, production continued throughout the year and thirty final cars were completed in 1968. By then total Giulia Sprint GT Veloce production amounted to 14,240 examples. 1,407 of these were right hand drive cars, and 332 right hand drive complete knock-down kits. The Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce (also known as 1750 GTV) appeared in 1967 along with the 1750 Berlina sedan and 1750 Spider. The same type of engine was used to power all three versions; this rationalisation was a first for Alfa Romeo. The 1750 GTV replaced the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce and introduced many updates and modifications. Most significantly, the engine capacity was increased to 1779 cc displacement. Peak power from the engine was increased to 120 hp at 5500 rpm. The stroke was lengthened from 82 to 88.5 mm over the 1600 engine, and a reduced rev limit from 7000 rpm to 6000 rpm. Maximum torque was increased to 186 N·m (137 lb·ft) at 3000 rpm. A higher ratio final drive was fitted (10/41 instead of 9/41) but the same gearbox ratios were retained. The result was that, on paper, the car had only slightly improved performance compared to the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, but on the road it was much more flexible to drive and it was easier to maintain higher average speeds for fast touring. For the United States market, the 1779 cc engine was fitted with a fuel injection system made by Alfa Romeo subsidiary SPICA, to meet emission control laws that were coming into effect at the time. Fuel injection was also featured on Canadian market cars after 1971. Carburettors were retained for other markets. The chassis was also significantly modified. Tyre size went to 165/14 from 155/15 and wheel size to 5 1/2J x 14 instead of 5J x 15, giving a wider section and slightly smaller rolling diameter. The suspension geometry was also revised, and an anti-roll bar was fitted to the rear suspension. ATE disc brakes were fitted from the outset, but with bigger front discs and calipers than the ones fitted to GT 1300 Juniors and late Giulia Sprint GT Veloces. The changes resulted in significant improvements to the handling and braking, which once again made it easier for the driver to maintain high average speeds for fast touring. The 1750 GTV also departed significantly from the earlier cars externally. New nose styling eliminated the “stepped” bonnet of the Giulia Sprint GT, GTC, GTA and early GT 1300 Juniors and incorporated four headlamps. For the 1971 model year, United States market 1750 GTV’s also featured larger rear light clusters (there were no 1970 model year Alfas on the US market). Besides the chrome “1750” badge on the bootlid, there was also a round Alfa Romeo badge. Similar Quadrofoglio badges to those on the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce were fitted on C pillars, but the Quadrofoglio was coloured gold instead of green. The car also adopted the higher rear wheelarches first seen on the GT 1300 Junior. The interior was also much modified over that of earlier cars. There was a new dashboard with large speedometer and tachometer instruments in twin binnacles closer to the driver’s line of sight. The instruments were mounted at a more conventional angle, avoiding the reflections caused by the upward angled flat dash of earlier cars. Conversely, auxiliary instruments were moved to angled bezels in the centre console, further from the driver’s line of sight than before. The new seats introduced adjustable headrests which merged with the top of the seat when fully down. The window winder levers, the door release levers and the quarterlight vent knobs were also restyled. The remote release for the boot lid, located on the inside of the door opening on the B-post just under the door lock striker, was moved from the right hand side of the car to the left hand side. The location of this item was always independent of whether the car was left hand drive or right hand drive. Early (Series 1) 1750 GTV’s featured the same bumpers as the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, with the front bumper modified to mount the indicator / sidelight units on the top of its corners, or under the bumper on US market cars. The Series 2 1750 GTV of 1970 introduced other mechanical changes, including a dual circuit braking system (split front and rear, with separate servos). The brake and clutch pedals on left hand drive cars were also of an improved pendant design, instead of the earlier floor-hinged type. On right hand drive cars the floor-hinged pedals were retained, as there was no space for the pedal box behind the carburettors. Externally, the series 2 1750 GTV is identified by new, slimmer bumpers with front and rear overriders. The combined front indicator and sidelight units were now mounted to the front panel instead of the front bumper, except again on the 1971-72 US/Canadian market cars. The interior was slightly modified, with the seats retaining the same basic outline but following a simpler design. 44,269 1750 GTVs were made before their replacement came along. That car was the 2000GTV. Introduced in 1971, together with the 2000 Berlina sedan and 2000 Spider, the 2 litre cars were replacements for the 1750 range. The engine displacement was increased to 1962 cc. Oil and radiator capacities remained unchanged. The North American market cars had fuel injection, but everyone else retained carburettors. Officially, both versions generated the same power, 130 hp at 5500 rpm. The interior trim was changed, with the most notable differences being the introduction of a separate instrument cluster, instead of the gauges installed in the dash panel in earlier cars. Externally the 2000 GTV is most easily distinguished by its grille with horizontal chrome bars, featuring protruding blocks forming the familiar Alfa heart in outline, smaller hubcaps with exposed wheel nuts, optional aluminium alloy wheels of the same size as the standard 5. 1/2J × 14 steel items, styled to the “turbina” design first seen on the alloy wheels of the Alfa Romeo Montreal, and the larger rear light clusters first fitted to United States market 1750 GTV’s were standard for all markets. From 1974 on, the 105 Series coupé models were rationalised and these external features became common to post-1974 GT 1300 Junior and GT 1600 Junior models, with only few distinguishing features marking the difference between models. 37,459 2000 GTVs were made before production ended and these days they are very sought after with prices having sky-rocketed in recent years.
Based on the Coupe, but with a model designation of its own, was the GTC, a stunningly pretty open topped model which was only produced for a year in 1965, in very limited numbers making them rare today with a total production of just 1000 cars in right and left hand drive versions. Only 99 were made for the British and South African market. It was based on the Giulia Sprint GT, with the cabriolet modification carried out by Touring of Milan. Besides the cabriolet top, a distinguishing feature is the dashboard finished in black instead of grey crackle. The model was badged with a script reading “Giulia Sprint GTC” on the bootlid. To restore some of the bodyshell rigidity lost by removing the fixed roof and pillars, Carrozzeria Touring added reinforcement to several areas of the bodyshell. Through the production life of the model, several modifications to the reinforcement applied were made by Touring, apparently in an effort to improve the stiffening achieved. Carrozzeria Touring was in financial trouble when the Giulia Spring GTC went into production. The company went out of business shortly after production of this model ended.
The Series 3 Spider was previewed in North America for the 1982 model year with the introduction of 2.0 litre Bosch electronic fuel injection to replace the SPICA mechanical injection. The Spider underwent a major styling revamp in 1983, which saw the introduction of black rubber front and rear bumpers. The front bumper incorporated the grille and a small soft rubber spoiler was added to the trunk lid. The change altered the exterior appearance of the car considerably and was not universally praised by enthusiasts. Various other minor mechanical and aesthetic modifications were also made, and the 1600 car (never available in North America) dropped the “Junior” name. The Quadrifoglio Verde (Green Cloverleaf) model was introduced in 1986, with many aesthetic tweaks, including sideskirts, mirrors, new front and rear spoilers, hard rubber boot mounted spoilers with integral 3rd stoplight, unique 15″ alloys and optional removable hardtop. Different interior trim included blood red carpets and grey leather seats with red stitching. The QV was offered in only 3 colours: red, silver and black. It was otherwise mechanically identical to the standard Spider Veloce model, with a 1962 cc double overhead cam, four-cylinder engine (twin two-barrel carburettors in Europe; North American models retained the Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection introduced for the 1982 model year except that the VVT mechanism was now L-Jet activated) and five-speed manual transmission. The interior was revised with a new centre console, lower dash panels (to meet U.S. regulations) and a single monopod gauge cluster (with electronic gauges). For the North American market a model dubbed the Graduate was added in tribute to the car’s famous appearance in the 1967 film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. The Graduate was intended as a less expensive “entry-level” Alfa. While it had the same engine and transmission as the Quadrifoglio and Veloce, it lacked the alloy wheels and luxury features of the other two models. The Graduate model had manual windows, basic vinyl seats, a vinyl top, and steel wheels as standard. Air conditioning and a dealer-installed radio were the only options. It first appeared in 1985 in North America and continued until 1990. Minor changes occurred from 1986 to 89, including new paint colours, a centre high mount stop lamp midway through 1986 for North American models, a move away from the fade-prone brown carpet and new turn signal levers. Some 1988 models featured automatic seatbelts that extended from a large device between the front seats.
The S4, the final major change to the long running Spider came in 1990, and mechanically, the biggest different was the use of Bosch Motronic electronic fuel injection with an electric fan. Externally, the Spider lost its front under-bumper spoiler and the rather ungainly rear boot spoiler of the S3, and picked up 164-style rear lights stretching across the width of the car as well as plastic bumpers the same colour as the car. This also marked the first generation of the car with automatic transmission, as well as on-board diagnostics capabilities. The car had remained in production largely thanks to continued demand in North America, though this market had to wait until 1991 for the changes to appear on their cars. European markets were offered a car with a 1600cc engine and carburettors as well as the 2 litre injected unit. Production finally ended in 1993, with an all new model, the 916 Series Spider appearing a year later. The S4 car was not officially sold in the UK, but plenty have found their way to our shores since then.
Looking somewhat like a 6C 1750 was this version, which bore the name Leontina on the front grille. Based in the unlikely location of the hilltop village of San Leo in the Italian administrative district of Pesaro and Urbino (Marche), Carrozzeria Pettenella built a handful of replicas of the vintage Alfa Romeo 6 C 1750 in 1975-76 using Alfa Giulia/GTV mechanics. Great care was taken in the construction of the Leontina Sport, which had hand-made aluminium bodywork and a specially-built ladder chassis with a ribbed aluminium floorpan in the same style as the original Zagato bodywork. Authentic leather interior trim was used, while the tubular front axle with Italian-made Hartford-type friction shock absorbers and an original pattern steering box were further evidence of the care taken to produce a convincing replica. The power unit was a four-cylinder twin-cam Alfa Romeo engine mated to a five-speed gearbox. Front disc brakes were carefully concealed by air scoops and only the left-hand drive, wheel size and modern dashboard instruments were external giveaways as to the car’s origins. Total production was said to be 20 units, making the car offered here a great rarity.
The 1750 and 2000 Berlina models are largely ignored these days in favour of the GTV models, and whereas you would also say the Coupe cars are genuinely pretty whereas the Berlina is, in its own rather boxy way, more of an elegant car, it still seems a shame to me that this car is so little known outside Alfa enthusiast circles. With the commercially unsuccessful 2600 Berlina out of production, Alfa’s only Saloon car of the mid 1960s was the Giulia, and it was clear that they needed something larger to compete against the Ford Corsair, BMW 2000 and Lancia Flavia, the result being the 1750 Berlina which as introduced in Italy in January 1968, along with the 1750 engined versions of the established GT Veloce Coupé and Spider Veloce. Based on the Giulia saloon, which continued in production, and indeed would outlast its larger sibling, the 1750 had a longer wheelbase and revised external panels, but it shared many of the same internal panels and the windscreen. The revisions were carried out by Bertone, and while it resembled the Giulia some of that vehicle’s distinctive creases were smoothed out, and there were significant changes to the trim details. The car’s taillights were later used on the De Tomaso Longchamp. The new car had a 1,779 cc twin-carb engine which produced 116 hp with the help of twin carburettors on European cars and SPICA fuel injection in the US. There was a hydraulic clutch. In 1971, the 1750 Berlina was fitted with an experimental three-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The model designation was 1750A Berlina. The automatic gearbox wasn’t well-suited to the four-cylinder motor due to baulky shifting and ill-chosen gear ratio. Because of this, its fuel consumption was frighteningly high and acceleration was a bit too slow. According to official Alfa Romeo archives, just 252 of these were produced with very few surviving to this day. During 1971 the 1750 series was superceded across the Alfa Romeo range by the 2000 series; creating, in this case, the 2000 Berlina. Key difference was a larger engine, bored and stroked out to 1,962 cc. With two carburettors, this 2 litre Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine produced 130 hp, giving a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration took 9 seconds. The gearbox was a 5-speed manual though the 3-speed automatic was also offered. A different grille distinguishes the 2000 from 1750, and the lights were also changed. The 1750 had 7 inch diameter outboard headlights, whereas on the 2000 all four units were of 5 3/4 inch diameter. The tail light clusters were also of a simpler design on the 1750. In USA this engine was equipped with mechanical fuel injection.. A direct replacement for the car in the 1.8-litre saloon class came that same year, in the form of the all-new Alfa Romeo Alfetta, though the two models ran in parallel for the next five years and it was only in 1977 with the launch of the Alfetta 2000, that the 2000 Berlina was finally discontinued. version, replaced the 2000 Berlina. Total sales of the 1750/2000 amounted to 191,000 units over a 10 year production life, 89,840 of these being 2000 Berlinas, of which just 2.200 units were fitted with the automatic gearbox. You don’t see these cars that often.
Taking its name from the successful Formula One car of 1951, the Type 159, was the Alfetta, and there were several of these to be seen here. The 116 Series Alfetta was launched in 1972, equipped with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder. It was a three-box, four-door saloon (Berlina in Italian) with seating for five designed in-house by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo; the front end was characterised by twin equally sized headlamps connected to a central narrow Alfa Romeo shield by three chrome bars, while the tail lights were formed by three square elements. At the 1975 Brussels Motor Show Alfa Romeo introduced the 1,594 cc 08 PS Alfetta 1.6 base model, easily recognizable by its single, larger round front headlights. Meanwhile, the 1.8-litre Alfetta was rebadged Alfetta 1.8 and a few months later mildly restyled, further set apart from the 1.6 by a new grille with a wider central shield and horizontal chrome bars. Engines in both models were Alfa Romeo Twin Cams, with two overhead camshafts, 8-valves and two double-barrel carburettors. Two years later the 1.6 was upgraded to the exterior and interior features of the 1.8. In 1977 a 2.0-litre model was added. Launched at the March Geneva Motor Show, the Alfetta 2000 replaced the long running 115 Series Alfa Romeo 2000. This range-topping Alfetta was 10.5 cm (4.1 in) longer than the others, owing to a redesigned front end with square headlights and larger bumpers with polyurethane inserts; the rectangular tail light clusters and C-pillar vents were also different. Inside there were a new dashboard, steering wheel and upholstery materials. Just a year later, in July 1978, the two-litre model was updated becoming the Alfetta 2000 L. Engine output rose from 122 PS to 130 PS; inside, the upholstery was changed again and dashboard trim went from brushed aluminium to simulated wood. The 2000 received fuel injection in 1979. A turbodiesel version was introduced in late 1979, the Alfetta Turbo D, whose engine was supplied by VM Motori. Apart from a boot lid badge, the Turbo D was equipped and finished like the top-of-the-line 2000 L both outside and inside. Therefore, it received a tachometer—very unusual in diesels of this era, but no standard power steering, in spite of the additional 100 kg (220 lb) burden over the front axle. The turbodiesel, a first on an Alfa Romeo’s passenger car, was of 2.0 litres and produced 82 PS. The Alfetta Turbo D was sold mostly in Italy and in France, as well as a few other continental European markets where the tax structure suited this model. It was never offered in the UK. In 1981 Alfa Romeo developed in collaboration with the University of Genoa a semi-experimental Alfetta version, fitted with a modular variable displacement engine and an electronic engine control unit. Called Alfetta CEM (Controllo Elettronico del Motore, or Electronic Engine Management), it was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 130 PS 2.0-litre modular engine featured fuel injection and ignition systems governed by an engine control unit, which could shut off two of four cylinders as needed in order to reduce fuel consumption. An initial batch of ten examples were assigned to taxi drivers in Milan, to verify operation and performance in real-world situations. According to Alfa Romeo during these tests cylinder deactivation was found to reduce fuel consumption by 12% in comparison to a CEM fuel-injected engine without variable displacement, and almost by 25% in comparison to the regular production carburetted 2.0-litre. After the first trial, in 1983 a small series of 1000 examples was put on sale, offered to selected clients; 991 examples were produced. Despite this second experimental phase, the project had no further developments. In November 1981 the updated “Alfetta ’82” range was launched, comprising 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 and 2.0 Turbo Diesel models. All variants adopted the bodyshell and interior of the 2.0-litre models; standard equipment became richer. All Alfettas had black plastic rubbing strips, side sill mouldings, tail light surround and hubcaps; the 2000 sported a satin silver grille and a simulated mahogany steering wheel rim. July 1982 saw the introduction of the range topping Alfetta Quadrifoglio Oro (meaning Gold Cloverleaf, a trim designation already used on the Alfasud), which took the place of the discontinued 2000 L. The Quadrifoglio Oro was powered by a 128 PS version of the usual 1962 cc engine, equipped with the SPICA mechanical fuel injection used on US-spec Alfettas; standard equipment included several digital and power-assisted accessories like a trip computer, check control panel and electrically adjustable seats. Visually the Quadrifoglio Oro was distinguished by twin round headlights, concave alloy wheels, and was only available in metallic grey or brown with brown interior plastics and specific beige velour upholstery. In March 1983 the Alfetta received its last facelift; the exterior was modernised with newly designed bumpers (integrating a front spoiler and extending to the wheel openings), a new grille, lower body plastic cladding, silver hubcaps and, at the rear, a full width grey plastic fascia supporting rectangular tail lights with ribbed lenses and the number plate. The C-pillar ventilation outlets were moved to each side of the rear screen. Inside there were a redesigned dashboard and instrumentation, new door panels and the check control panel from the Quadrifoglio Oro on all models. Top of the range models adopted an overhead console, which extended for the full length of the roof and housed three reading spot lamps, a central ceiling light, and controls for the electric windows. Alongside the facelift two models were introduced: the 2.4 Turbo Diesel, replacing the previous 2.0-litre, and a renewed Quadrifoglio Oro, equipped with electronic fuel injection. Thanks to the Bosch Motronic integrated electronic fuel injection and ignition the QO had the same 130 PS output of the carburetted 2.0, while developing more torque and being more fuel efficient. In April 1984 the successor of the Alfetta debuted, the larger Alfa Romeo 90. At the end of the year the Alfetta Berlina went out of production, after nearly 450,000 had been made over a 12-year production period.
As was still the practice in the 1970s, Alfa followed up the 1972 launch of the Alfetta Berlina with a very pretty coupe. Styled by Giugiaro, this car, initially called the GT, and premiered in the autumn of 1974, looked completely unlike the saloon on which it was based. The first cars had 1.8 litre four cylinder engines and there was one of those on show. In 1976 the range was expanded both up and down with a 1.6 and a 2.0 model, the latter adopting the legendary GTV name. In 1981, with the 2.5 litre V6 engine that had been developed for the ill-fated Alfa 6 luxury saloon available, Alfa was able to create a true rival for the 2.8 litre Capri with the GTV6. A facelift modernised the look of the car with plastic bumpers front and rear and a new interior looked rather better as well as being more ergonomically logical. These days you more often see the later plastic bumpered models, and these were the cars on display here. Included among them were a couple of cars sporting 3.0 badging and right hand drive. These are South African cars. From 1974 South African Alfetta’s were manufactured at Alfa Romeo’s own Brits plant. South Africa was one of two markets to have a turbocharged GTV6, with a Garrett turbocharger and a NACA intake. An estimated 750 were assembled before all production ceased in 1986. The South African range included a 3.0 litre GTV-6, predating the international debut of the factory’s 3.0 litre engine in 1987 (for the Alfa 75). and 212 of these were built in South Africa for racing homologation. The last 6 GTV-6 3.0’s were fuel injected. To this day, the GTV-6 remains the quintessential Alfa Romeo for South Africans.
Known initially as the Alfasud Sprint. and later just as the plain Sprint, these were elegant cars, depressingly few of which have survived thanks among other reasons to the poor quality steel from which they were made. Prospective buyers had endured a much longer wait for a Coupe version of the AlfaSud than there had been for the larger Alfetta, the Alfasud Sprint being presented to the press in September 1976 in Baia Domizia and shown at the Turin Motor Show in November some five years after the launch of the saloon. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro like the AlfaSud, whose mechanicals it was based on, it had a lower, more angular design, featuring a hatchback, although there were no folding rear seats. The AlfaSud Sprint was assembled together with the AlfaSud in the Pomigliano d’Arco plant, located in southern Italy—hence the original “Sud” moniker. Under the Alfasud Sprint’s bonnet there was a new version of the AlfaSud’s 1186 cc four-cylinder boxer engine, stroked to displace 1,286 cc, fed by a twin-choke carburettor and developing 75 hp at 6,000 rpm. Mated to the flat-four was a five-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox. The interior was upholstered in dark brown Texalfa leatherette and tartan cloth. Options were limited to alloy wheels, a quartz clock and metallic paint. In May 1978 the AlfaSud Sprint underwent its first updates, both cosmetic and technical. Engine choice was enlarged to two boxers, shared with the renewed AlfaSud ti, a 78 hp 1.3 (1,350 cc) and a 84 hp 1.5 (1,490 cc); the earlier 1286 cc unit was not offered anymore, remaining exclusive to the AlfaSud. Outside many exterior details were changed from chrome to matte black stainless steel or plastic, such as the wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments; the B-pillar also received a black finish, the side repeaters changed position and became square, and the front turn signals switched from white to amber lenses. In the cabin the seats had more pronounced bolsters and were upholstered in a new camel-coloured fabric. Just one year later, in June 1979, another engine update arrived and the AlfaSud Sprint became the AlfaSud Sprint Veloce. Thanks to double twin-choke carburettors (each choke feeding a single cylinder) and a higher compression ratio engine output increased to 85 hp and 94 hp, respectively for the 1.3 and 1.5. In February 1983 Alfa Romeo updated all of its sports cars; the Sprint received a major facelift. Thereafter the AlfaSud prefix and Veloce suffix were abandoned, and the car was known as Alfa Romeo Sprint; this also in view of the release of the Alfa Romeo 33, which a few months later replaced the AlfaSud family hatchback. The Sprint also received a platform upgrade, which was now the same as that of the Alfa Romeo 33; this entailed modified front suspension, brakes mounted in the wheels instead of inboard like on the AlfaSud, and drum brakes at the rear end. Three models made up the Sprint range: 1.3 and 1.5, with engines and performance unchanged from the AlfaSud Sprint Veloce, and the new 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde—1.5 Cloverleaf in the UK. A multitude of changes were involved in the stylistic refresh; there were a new grille, headlamps, wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments. Bumpers went from chrome to plastic, and large plastic protective strips were added to the body sides; both sported coloured piping, which was grey for 1.3 cars, red for the 1.5 and green for the 1.5 Quadrifoglio. At the rear new trapezoidal tail light assemblies were pieced together with the license plate holder by a black plastic fascia, topped by an Alfa Romeo badge—never present on the AlfaSud Sprint. In the cabin there were new seats with cloth seating surfaces and Texalfa backs, a new steering wheel and changes to elements of the dashboard and door panels. Sprint 1.3 and 1.5 came with steel wheels with black hubcaps from the AlfaSud ti. The newly introduced 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde sport variant was shown at the March 1983 Geneva Motor Show. Its engine was the 1,490 cc boxer, revised to put out 104 hp at 6,000 rpm; front brake discs were vented and the gearing shorter. In addition to the green bumper piping, also specific to the Quadrifoglio were a green instead of chrome scudetto in the front grille, a rear spoiler and 8-hole grey painted alloy wheels with metric Michelin TRX 190/55 tyres. Inside a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, green carpets and sport seats in black cloth with green embroidery. In November 1987 the Sprint was updated for the last time; the 1.3 variant was carried over, while the 1.5 engine was phased out and the 1.5 QV was superseded by the 116 hp Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde. The 1,286 cc engine was directly derived from the 33 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde, and could propel the Sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.3 seconds; to cope with the increased engine power, the 1.7 QV adopted vented brake discs upfront. the coloured piping and side plastic strips were deleted, and the Quadrifoglio had alloy wheels of a new design. A fuel injected and 3-way Catalytic converter-equipped 1.7 variant, with an engine again derived from a 33, was added later for sale in specific markets. There were a total of 116,552 Sprints produced during its lifespan, which lasted from 1976 to 1989. 15 of these formed the basis of the Australian-built Giocattolo sports car, which used a mid-mounted Holden 5.0 group A V8 engine. The Sprint had no direct predecessor or successor.
Slotting into the range below the Alfetta was the 116 series Giulietta, and there was just one of these cars, a late model. This Giulietta was introduced in November 1977 and while it took its name from the original Giulietta of 1954 to 1965, it was a new design based on the Alfa Romeo Alfetta chassis (including its rear mounted transaxle). While it was a conventional three-box saloon/sedan body style, a defining point of difference was at the rear, where there was a short boot, and a small aerodynamic spoiler, integrated into the body. The Giulietta was only offered in saloon form, but there were several estate/station wagon conversions made. First out was Moretti, whose conversion appeared in the first half of 1978. At launch, two models were available: Giulietta 1.3, with an oversquare 95 PS 1357 cc engine, and Giulietta 1.6, with a 109 PS 1570 cc engine, both Alfa Romeo Twin Cam inline-fours fed by two twin-choke carburettors. In April 1979, just under two years later, Giulietta 1.8 with a 122 PS 1,779 cc engine was added, and in May of the following year the Giulietta Super with a 2-litre engine (1,962 cc, 130 PS appeared. In summer of 1981, the Giulietta received a minor facelift, externally and internally, while the engines remained the same. The car got plastic protection around the lower body, while interior modifications included a new steering wheel and new seats. The instrument panel and the centre armrest were also modified. The Autodelta-produced Giulietta 2.0 Turbo Autodelta (175 PS) was introduced at the 1982 Paris motor show. This special version had a turbocharged 1,962 cc engine. The production Giulietta Turbodelta version had 170 PS and a KKK turbocharger coupled with two double-barrel Weber carburettors. All turbo versions were black with red interior; only 361 were produced. In the same year, the Giulietta 2.0 Ti and turbodiesel (VM) 1995 cc version with 82 PS were also introduced, going on sale in early 1983. In 1982, Alfetta and Giulietta turbodiesels achieved seven world speed records over 5/10/25/50 thousand kilometres and 5/10/25 thousand miles at Nardò (Lecce). While one of the quickest diesels in its category at the time, the Giulietta was rather costly and suffered from a very forward weight distribution (56.9 per cent over the front wheels). In late 1983, the “84” Giulietta (Series 3) was presented, with minor differences in appearance, bumpers were redesigned and the dashboard was significantly re-designed, the instruments changed slightly and the rear seat in some versions changed its form. Mechanically it was basically the same, with minor modifications to the brake booster and inlet manifold on some versions. The largest market for the Giulietta was South Africa, where a very successful TV advertising campaign by Alfa Romeo produced good sales between 1981 and 1984. Central to this campaign was emphasis of the Giulietta’s new ‘aerodynamic’ line, which was carried over to the 75, and then the 33. The Giulietta was the ‘last hurrah’ for Alfa in South Africa before the appearance of the 164 and 156 models in the 1990s. In 1985, after around 380,000 Giuliettas had been built, it was replaced by the Alfa Romeo 75, which used much of the Alfetta/Giulietta underpinnings.
Follow on to the much-loved AlfaSud was the Alfa 33. Despite the low survival rate, believe it or not, the 33 is actually the best selling Alfa in history, with just under a million of them sold between 1983 and 1994. One reason why precious few seem to have survived is that the 33 struggled even new to gain the affections of the enthusiasts in the way that the model’s predecessor, the AlfaSud, did, so when rust and old age came on, the vast majority of the cars were simply scrapped. There were two distinct generations of the 33. The first ran from 1983 until 1990 and then a major facelift was applied with new front and rear styling to bring the looks more into line with the new 164. A mild facelift was applied to the first 905 series cars in late 1986. Exterior alterations were limited to clear indicator lens, wheel covers and alloy wheels of new design, the adoption of side skirts on all models, and a new front grille. Two-tone paint schemes were discontinued. There were more significant changes inside, with a more conventionally designed dashboard and steering wheel, which superseded the innovative moveable instrument binnacle. All 1.5 variants now had the 105 PS engine from the now discontinued 1.5 QV; a TI (Turismo Internazionale) trim level was exclusive to the front-wheel drive 1.5 hatchback. Changes were made to the suspension, brakes and gearbox, with closer-spaced ratios. A new 1,712 cc 116 bhp engine was introduced on the 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde, which replaced the 1.5 QV. The 1.7 engine was developed from the 1.5 by enlarging bore and stroke; it also used new cylinder heads, incorporating hydraulic tappets. To cope with the increased power the new QV was equipped with vented front brake discs. The 1.7 QV looked close to its predecessor, but had lost the grey mid-body stripe and gained new alloy wheels, wind deflectors on the front windows, more pronounced side skirts and a rear body-colour spoiler on the boot lid. Inside it featured a leather-covered steering wheel, red carpets, and leatherette-backed sport seats upholstered in a grey/black/red chequered cloth. Diesel models were offered in some continental markets, but these were not sold in the UK, where only 1.5 and 1.7 Green Cloverleaf hatchback models were sold, as well as a market-specific 1.7 Sportwagon estate; all three were also available in “Veloce” versions, outfitted by Alfa Romeo GB with a colour-matching Zender body kit.
There were a number of Alfa 75s here, the last Alfa model to be developed before the company was bought by Fiat. It was introduced in May 1985, to replace the 116 Series Giulietta with which it shared many components. It was named to celebrate Alfa’s 75th year of production. The body, designed by head of Alfa Romeo Centro Stile Ermanno Cressoni, was styled in a striking wedge shape, tapering at the front with square headlights and a matching grille. The 75 was only ever sold as a four door saloon, though at the 1986 Turin Auto Salon, a prototype 75 estate was to be seen, an attractive forerunner of the later 156 Sportwagon. This version was, however, never listed for sale, being cancelled after Fiat took control of Alfa Romeo. The car, dubbed the 75 Turbo Wagon, was made by Italian coachbuilder Rayton Fissore using a 75 Turbo as the basis. Two estate versions were to be found at the later 1987 Geneva Motor Show; one was this Turbo Wagon and the other was a 2.0 litre version named the Sportwagon. The 75 featured some unusual technical features, most notably the fact that it was almost perfectly balanced from front to rear. This was achieved by using transaxle schema — mounting the standard five-speed gearbox in the rear connected to the rear differential (rear-wheel drive). The front suspension was a torsion bar and shock absorber combination and the rear an expensive de Dion tube assembled with shock absorbers; these designs were intended to optimize the car’s handling; moreover the rear brake discs were fitted at the centre of the rear axle, near the gearbox-differential group. The engine crankshaft was bolted directly to the two-segment driveshaft which ran the length of the underside from the engine block to the gearbox, and rotated at the speed of the engine. The shaft segments were joined with elastomeric ‘doughnuts’ to prevent vibration and engine/gearbox damage. The 2.0 litre Twin Spark and the 3.0 Litre V6 were equipped with a limited slip differential. The 75 featured a then-advanced dashboard-mounted diagnostic computer, called Alfa Romeo Control, capable of monitoring the engine systems and alerting the drivers of potential faults. The 75 engine range at launch featured four-cylinder 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 litre petrol carburettor engines, a 2.0 litre intercooled turbodiesel made by VM Motori, and a 2.5 litre fuel injected V6. In 1986, the 75 Turbo was introduced, which featured a fuel-injected 1779 cc twin-cam engine using Garrett T3 turbocharger, intercooler and oil cooler. In 1987, a 3.0 litre V6 was added to the range and the 2.0 lire Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine was redesigned to have now two spark plugs per cylinder, the engine was named as Twin Spark. With fuel injection and variable valve timing this engine produced 146 hp. This was the first production engine to use variable valve timing. In North America, where the car was known as the Milano, only the 2.5 and 3.0 V6s were available, from 1987 to 1989. The North American 2.5-litres were fundamentally different from their European counterparts. Due to federal regulations, some modifications were required. Most noticeable from the outside were the ‘America’ bumpers, with the typical rubber accordions in them. Furthermore, these bumpers had thick (and heavy) shock-absorbing material inside them and in addition, they were mounted to the vehicle on shock absorbers. To accommodate these shock absorbers, the ‘America’-bodies were slightly different from the European ones. The North American cars also had different equipment levels (depending on the version: Milano Silver, Milano Gold or Milano Platinum). electrically adjustable outside mirrors, electrically reclining seats and cruise control were usually optional in Europe. The car was also available with a 3-speed ZF automatic gearbox option for the 2.5 V6. Other, more common options such as electrically operated rear windows and an A/C system were standard in the USA. The USA-cars also had different upholstery styles and of course different dashboard panels also indicating speed in mph, oil pressure in psi and coolant temperature in degrees F, and as a final touch the AR control was different, including a seat belt warning light. The European-spec 2.5 V6 (2.5 6V Iniezione or 2.5QV) was officially sold only between 1985 and 1987, although some of them were not registered until 1989. Relatively few of them were sold (about 2800 units), especially when the 155 PS 1.8 Turbo was launched, which in some countries was cheaper in taxes because of its lower displacement. To create a bigger space between the V6 and the inline fours, the 2.5 was bored out to 2959 cc’s to deliver 188 PS and this new engine was introduced as the 3.0 America in 1987. As its type designation suggests, the 3.0 only came in the US-specification, with the impact-bumpers and in-boot fuel tank. However, the European ‘America’s’ were not equipped with side-markers or the door, bonnet and boot lid fortifications. Depending on the country of delivery, the 3.0 America could be equipped with a catalytic converter. In 1988 engines were updated again, the 1.8 litre carburettor version was replaced with fuel injected 1.8 i.e. and new bigger diesel engine was added to the range. In the end of 1989 the 1.6 litre carburettor version was updated to have fuel injection and 1990 the 1.8 Turbo and 3.0i V6 got some more power and updated suspension. The 3.0 V6 was now equipped with a Motronic system instead of an L-Jetronic. The 1.8 Turbo was now also available in ‘America’-spec, but strangely enough not available for the USA market. The 3.0 V6 did make it to the United States, and was sold as Milano Verde. The UK never particularly warmed to the 75 when it was new, but its reputation has got ever stronger as the car ages. Many UK cars were snapped up by the owners of driving schools at racing circuits, thanks to its handling characteristics, but there are also some nice road cars left and there were a couple here.
It was more than 10 years after the Montreal had ceased production before Alfa offered another high-end and costly Coupe model, and the result, seen for the first time in 1989, could hardly have been more different than its forebear. That car had been praised for its looks, whereas this one, the SZ, and cruelly nicknamed “Il Mostro”, was almost wilfully, well, “different”. First seen at the 1989 Geneva Show, the car was also first shown simply as a concept, called the ES-30, for Experimental Sports car 3 litre. It was produced by Zagato. Robert Opron of the Fiat design studio was responsible for the initial sketches while Antonio Castellana was largely responsible for the final styling details and interior. Only the ‘Z’ logo of Zagato was kept. The car possessed unusual headlights positioned in a trio on each side – a styling used more subtly on later Alfa Romeos in the 2000s. Mechanically and engine-wise, the car was based on the Alfa 75, production being carried out by Zagato at Terrazzano di Rho near the Alfa factory in Arese. The thermoplastic injection moulded composite body panels were produced by Italian company Carplast and French company Stratime Cappelo Systems. The suspension was taken from the Alfa 75 Group A/IMSA car, and modified by Giorgio Pianta, engineer and team manager of the Lancia and Fiat rally works team. A hydraulic damper system was made by Koni. The SZ was originally equipped with Pirelli P Zero tyres (front 205/55 ZR 16, rear 225/50 ZR 16) and is able to sustain over 1.1 G in cornering, some drivers have measured a cornering force of 1.4 G, which remains an excellent performance figure. Low volume production got underway late in 1989, and over the next three years, 1036 were built, slightly more than planned. With the exception of a black car made for Zagato, all of them were red. Subsequently a convertible version, the RZ (for Roadster Zagato), was produced from 1992 until December 1994. Although almost identical to look at the two cars had completely different body panels save for the front wings and boot. The RZ had a revised bumper and door sills to give better ground clearance and the bonnet no longer featured the aggressive ridges. Three colours were available as standard: black, yellow and red, with black and yellow being the more popular choices. Yellow and red cars got a black leather interior and black cars burgundy. Although the interior layout was almost unchanged from the SZ, the RZ had a painted central console that swept up between the seats to conceal the convertible roof storage area. 350 units were planned but production was halted after 252 units when the Zagato factory producing the cars for Alfa Romeo went in to receivership, a further 32 cars were then completed under the control of the receivers before production finished at 284 units. Of those final three were painted silver with burgundy interior and another pearlescent white. Seen here were both the SZ and the open-topped RZ.
I was delighted to see that the larger 164 was also represented here, though there appeared to be just the one car, as I had the pleasure of driving one for 4 years and 160,000 miles and to this day, it is the car I regret parting with more than any other of the fleet that I have owned over the years. When I bought mine, Alfa were selling a very small number of cars per month in the UK, so they were never that common, and sadly, survival rates are very low. Most people who know anything about the history of the 164 will be aware that this is one of the four so-called Type 4 cars, a joint venture involving Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Saab. In 1978 these four marques agreed to each develop an executive saloon based on a shared platform to compete against the likes of the Ford Granada and Opel Rekord (Vauxhall Carlton) as well as more premium saloons by BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the form of the 5-Series and E-Class, respectively. Alfa’s Project 164 started life as Project 154 and was completed in 1981, then still under Alfa Romeo. A year later, that project morphed into the 164 based on the Type Four platform. This new model was designed by Enrico Fumia of Pininfarina, with a wedge shape that afforded it a leading drag coefficient of Cd=0.30. The design would later influence the rest of the Alfa Romeo range starting in 1990 with the major redesign of the 33 and culminating with the 155, and Pininfarina also adapted it (much to the maker’s chagrin) for the 1987 Peugeot 405 and the 1989 Peugeot 605 saloons. Initial testing of the 164’s dynamic elements (engine and drivetrain) began in 1984, where mules based on the then contemporary Giulietta were used. In 1985, the first pre-production 164’s were put through their paces on the road. Heavily disguised, with many false panels and even a false nose design (borrowing heavily from the then equally undeveloped 155), sporting 4 round headlamps, these vehicle mules served to test the 164 for the gruelling 1 million kilometre static and road testing demanded of the design. In 1986 and 1987, the first 150 164’s were given their pre-production testing. In terms of engineering demands, these exceeded every Alfa before, and by quite a substantial margin. In Morocco, desert testing saw 5 grey 164 Twin Sparks and V6’s undergo the equivalent of the Paris-Dakar rally. Road conditions varied from good tarmac to off-road conditions, and accelerometers confirmed the superiority of the 164 in terms of passenger comfort. This data was cross-confirmed in the engineering laboratory with a sophisticated dummy in the driver’s seat, with accelerometers both in its seat, and in its ears to mimic that of the semi-circular canals of the ear. The Twin Spark and the V6 underwent handling trials at Arese. The Twin Spark displayed very mature driving manners at the limit, with minimal skid. The V6 displayed a 25% increase in at-the-limit skid, a natural consequence of its greater nose weight. ABS testing confirmed that the Twinspark has superior braking to the V6. Brake linings of the 164’s were run at maximum braking until they literally glowed with heat, and displayed no deviation in form. The 164 was the first Alfa to feature slotted double-walled disc brakes. At no point were the discs drilled to release excess heat, the original design being demonstrated to be excellent. Sound production was tested in an anechoic chamber, the car being subjected to stress and road noise testing, with instruments and with live subjects at the wheel, on a specially designed rig. Electromagnetic stability of the complex electronic system was also tested, in an anechoic chamber equipped with EM emitters (radar). The 164 engines were run to destruction, the Twinspark proving to be the most robust, and with the longest possible engine life. The V6 displayed only 10% shorter overall engine life. All this testing meant that by the time the production car, called the 164 was unveiled at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show – the last model to be developed while the Alfa Romeo was still a fully independent company, even though the launch was a few months after the takeover by Fiat – that the car was far more thoroughly developed and tested than any Alfa preceding it. There were plenty of innovations in the build, too, thanks to the extensive use of galvanised steel for the frame and various body panels for the first time in the brand’s history. Moreover, the car featured advanced electronics thanks to the most complex wiring harness fitted to any Alfa Romeo. For example: it had three onboard computers (one for air conditioning, one for instrumentation, and one for the engine management); air conditioning and instrument functions shared a multiple-mode coded Zilog Z80-class microcontroller for dashboard functioning). The instrumentation included a full range of gauges including an advanced check-panel.. The car was a sensation at launch. For a start, it looked fantastic thanks to Enrico Fumia of Pininfarina’ design. The first 1:1 scale model of the car had been produced in 1982 and design cues had been publicly revealed on the Alfa Romeo Vivace concept car, which was exhibited at the 1986 Turin Motorshow that went on to influence the design of the Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider (916 series) launched in 1993, but the result was distinctive and elegant and very different from any of its rivals, or indeed any of the other Tipo 4 cars. The 164 became the first Alfa to benefit from extensive use of computer aided design, used to calculate structural stresses that resulted in a very rigid but still relatively lightweight chassis. Although sharing the same platform as that of the Lancia Thema, Fiat Croma and Saab 9000, by virtue of the fact that it was the last of the four to enter production, it featured unique front suspension geometry and the most distinctive styling of the lot. In fact, for example, the other cars all shared identical side door panels. Though still voluminous, the 164 had the tightest aperture to the boot, which had a 510-Litre capacity. The interior was spacious and modern, available with standard velour seating or leather trim depending on the model. Its dashboard continued the avantgarde design of the exterior with a centre dashboard that was dominated by a large number of seemingly identical buttons arranged in rows. Air-direction within the ventilation system was controlled by a pair of servomechanisms, which were constructed using notoriously fragile plastic gears that were prone to failure. Depending on the model, the 164 could feature automatic climate control and electronically controlled damping suspension – the latter, for example, in the sports-oriented Quadrifoglio Verde (“Green Cloverleaf “) and 164S models. This suspension actively reduced damping in response to conditions to provide a dynamic compromise between road holding and comfort. At launch, the original 164 range comprised three models: a 148 bhp 2.0 Twin Spark, the 192 bhp 3.0i V6 12-valve and a 2.5 Turbodiesel (badged “TD”). It took a year before the first cars reached the UK and the first eighteen months saw only the 3 litre model offered. The bigger selling 2.0 TS arrived in the simmer of 1990, just before the range was expanded by the 4-cylinder 2.0i Turbo, the sports-oriented 3.0i V6 Quadrifoglio Verde (badged “QV” or “S”) and North American export versions that included the luxury-oriented 164 L (“L” for Lusso) and the 164 S (in essence, the “QV”). Apart from minor running production upgrades, the next change came in 1993 with the launch of the 164 Super. Key differences on the outside consisted of larger bumpers with chrome trimmings added to the upper edge and revised headlights with a slimmer profile. Inside, there were revised instruments and a centre console that featured more delineated switchgear. The range was now also bolstered by a 3.0 V6 24V with a 24-valve engine upgrade and the 3.0 V6 Quadrifoglio 4 (badged “Q4”), which was the most powerful and sole all wheel drive variant built. Production ended in late 1997, with a gap of nearly two years before the replacement model would go on sale.
The Bianchina cars were the first Autobianchi models to be produced. Based on the Fiat 500, they were available in various configurations: Berlina (saloon), Cabriolet, Trasformabile (convertible), Panoramica (station wagon), and Furgoncino (van). The car was presented to the public on 16 September 1957 at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. Initially, the car was equipped with the smallest Fiat engine, air-cooled 479 cc producing 15 PS. In 1959, the engine power was increased to 17 PS and in 1960, the cabriolet version was launched. In the same year, the Trasformabile, whose engine cylinder capacity was increased to 499 cc (18 hp), was made available in a Special version with bicolour paint and an engine enhanced to 21 PS. The Trasformabile featured fixed B-pillar and partial roof, as the rest of the opening was covered with foldable fabric hood. Cabriolet version had no B-pillar. Also this was the only version to feature suicide doors. In 1962, the Trasformabile was replaced by a four-seat saloon. The engine and chassis were the same as in the Trasformabile. In 1965, a minor facelift was made. In France, the models were sold under different names: the Berlina became the Lutèce, the Familiare the Texane, and the Trasformabile was marketed as the Eden Roc. Production ceased in 1970.
The Stellina was a small spider, a rear-engined cabrio, built for only two years, 1964 and 1965. It was based on the mechanicals of the chassis Fiat 600D, but had a unique unibody structure, with the outside panels made of fibreglass reinforced plastics, based on a steel frame. It was the first Italian car with a fibreglass body, and one of the first in the world. Powered by Fiat 600D’s rear-mounted, water-cooled 767 cc straight-4 engine, delivering 29 hp, the Stellina had drum brakes on all four wheels. With sleek styling penned by Luigi Rapi, the Stellina was first presented as a prototype at the 1963 Turin Motor Show, and went on sale a year later with a price tag of almost a million lira. Only 502 Stellinas were made until production ceased in 1965, when Fiat launched a, slightly larger, similar Fiat 850 Spider.
Perhaps the least known Autobianchi, and certainly one of the rarest now is the A111. This 4-door saloon family car is the largest Autobianchi ever made. It was conceived as a replacement for the Primula, and followed the configuration of that car, which meant front wheel drive and a transverse engine. However, for this car, the managing director of Autobianchi, Enrico Ghiretti, desired a new three-box saloon. According to Giacosa’s memoirs, Ghiretti feared competition from the upcoming front-wheel drive Fiat 128 small family car (at the time still known as project X1/1) and was a proponent of conservative three-box styling, as opposed to than the Primula’s current 2-box hatchback or fastback bodies. The project was authorised by Fiat management, but since Fiat’s style centre was already overworked, the decision was taken to use a design for the dismissed project that would have been the Fiat 123, a replacement for the Fiat 1100 The chosen design was the most recent proposal for the transverse-engined front-wheel drive 123 E4; it was updated, chiefly in the front end to incorporate new rectangular headlamp lenses, and approved by Ghiretti for production. Therefore, on the outside the A111’s lines unsurprisingly recalled several Fiat designs, especially the 124 and 128. Christened A111, the new car—albeit larger in size—was based on the Primula’s platform and mechanicals, and used the 1.4-litre drivetrain of the most powerful Primula, the Coupé S of 1968. Size-wise, the A111 slotted between Fiat’s 128 and 124 sedans, being also significantly bigger than the previously biggest Autobianchi, the said Primula. The Autobianchi A111 was introduced in April 1969, and deliveries began in May. The interior, seating four or five, was rather well-appointed, with a genuine wood fascia on the dashboard, individual sliding and reclining front seats, fully carpeted floor, and cloth, cloth-and-leatherette or full leatherette upholstery. Autobianchi advertised a top speed of 155 km/h (96 mph). A lightly revised A111 was introduced at the 52nd Turin Motor Show in October/November 1970. A distinguishing feature of these “series 2” cars were double-stacked tail lamps, of the same design seen on the original A111. New bumpers gained rubbing strips but dispensed with the over-riders (bringing overall length to less than four metres), there was new model badging on the tail, and the interior was partly redesigned, including a new centre console and a shorter gear lever. As the 1970s progressed, Fiat introduced an increasing number of FWD cars under its own brand, and thus the Autobianchis became redundant. The last A111 left the production line in 1972, making the total number produced 56,984. The A111 remained without a direct replacement within the Autobianchi range, and thus the brand was reduced to a single model—the A112 upmarket supermini and its successor the Y10, the last car to bear the Autobianchi badge.
There were also a number of examples of the later A112 here. The Autobianchi A112 was a supermini, developed using a shrunken version of the contemporary Fiat 128’s platform. The mechanicals of the A112 subsequently underpinned the Fiat 127. It was introduced in November 1969, as a replacement for the Bianchina and Primula, and was built until 1986, when it made way for the more modern Autobianchi Y10 (branded in most export markets as the Lancia Y10). Over 1.2 million A112s were produced in Autobianchi’s Milan factory. The A112 was available only with a 3-door body. It was offered with the OHV engine of 903 cc from the Fiat 850 capable of attaining 42 PS. The Autobianchi represented the first appearance of this engine in a front-engine, front-wheel drive configuration which would later become familiar to a wider range of drivers in the top selling Fiat 127 and its derivatives. Claimed power increased to 47 PS in 1971, but without any mechanical changes having taken place. The A112 reached a very particular market; by 1984 female buyers represented 35% of A112 owners and about a third were in the 18-24 age range. In September 1971 the A112 E (“E” for Elegant, which also became its name after the 1973 facelift) was introduced. This featured improved seats, higher grade trimming and equipment, as well as a five-speed gearbox later in life. The mechanics were originally identical to the regular version, now referred to as the Normale, but from 1975 until 1977 the Normale’ received a less powerful engine. A performance edition “Abarth” was introduced too. In March 1973 the A112 received a makeover. The grille was new, with a larger mesh, and the bumpers were now of rubber with chrome insert (although the Normale retained the old metal bumpers with rubber strips). A new style of alloys were also available, and the seats and dashboard underwent some changes. The Abarth received a new chess pattern upholstery. In 1975 the third series arrived. The insides in the rear were recontoured, so that the car now became a five-seater (instead of four). The easiest way to spot a third series is that it received new, much larger vents on the C-pillars, as well as redesigned taillights – with integrated reversing lights on the Elegant and Abarth. The Abarth also received a new larger 1050 cc engine (“70HP”), while the Normale’s output dropped to 42 PS in July 1975. All engines were still pushrod units, derived from the old tipo 100 engine first introduced in the Fiat 600. In 1976, due to new emissions standards, the Elegant lost two horsepower, now down to 45 PS. Third series Normales still received metal bumpers, but from now on they were painted black (instead of being chromed) and no longer had a rubber strip. This was the last model to have the diamond shaped turn signals on the front fenders, with later models receiving more orthodox rectangular ones. In November 1977 the “Nuova A112” (new A112) was introduced: The most obvious difference is a slightly taller roof, with a marked edge around the sides. This improved interior habitability considerably. Autobianchi also at this time modified the upmarket version branded as the “A112 Elegant” with an engine enlarged to 965 cc, now promising 48 PS and improved torque. Later, there were also “A112 Elite” and “A112 LX” versions which received even more comfortable equipment. The 903 cc engine of the lesser A112 Normale remained unchanged. In July 1979 the car underwent another styling modification, receiving large black plastic cladding on the rear, surrounding new taillights, and new side trim and bumpers. The grille was also new, and there was black plastic wheelarches to link all of the plastic parts together. The extractor vents behind the rear side windows were also larger, of black plastic, and wrapped around the pillar. In terms of transmissions, a five-speed transmission now became available on certain models. The fifth gear was an overgear, while the ratios of the four lower speeds and the final gearing remained unchanged. The front turn signals were moved from the front of the fenders to a spot just in front of the leading edge of the doors, while a small badge denoting the trim level appeared in the turn signal’s old place. The Normale now became the Junior, and the Elite version was added, a notch above the Elegant in the lineup. There were some very light modifications to the interior. A large, rollback canvas sunroof became available on the Junior, and a rear window wiper became optional across the range. Aside from the new transmission there were no notable mechanical changes. Power outputs remained at 42, 48, and 70 PS. The Abarth also received the new five-speed gearbox, as well as new alloy wheels and foglights as standard. A lot of the plastic excesses of the fifth series were reversed for the sixth series, which was introduced in the autumn of 1982. New smoother bumpers, removal of the wheelarch trim, and a less heavy grille treatment brought back some of the original elegance of the A112, while the interior was also completely renovated. Another new version arrived, the top-of-the-line LX, which featured tinted windows, velvet seat trimming, power windows, metallic paintwork, and a digital clock amongst other creature comforts. Mechanically, the LX was identical to the Elite, with the five-speed transmission and 965 cc engine. The Elegant version was discontinued, with the Elite taking its position in the lineup. The sixth series also received new body-coloured vents on the C-pillar, and the front corner lights were incorporated into the top of the bumper. The seventh series, presented in 1984, only saw minor changes, largely remaining the same as the sixth. The taillights were again redesigned and were now joined by a reflective strip. The rear license plate was relocated to the bumper and the dashboard received modifications, more noticeable in the better equipped Elite and LX versions. The Abarth received standard front foglights, which were optional on the other versions. The Abarth also has red seatbelts. While the Junior retained small hubcaps, and the Abarth received alloys, the rest of the range now received full-face hubcaps. The front corner lights were now white, instead of orange as before. The engines remained as before, all models except the lowest-priced Junior now used five-speed transmissions. By this time, only France, Italy and Israel still used the “Autobianchi” badge; all others had switched to calling the car a Lancia. At the time of the seventh series introduction, a total of 1,115,000 A112s had been built. As the new Autobianchi Y10 was introduced in 1985, the A112 range was cut down considerably, with only the Junior remaining on sale as a low-priced alternative. It was no longer called Junior, however, now being marketed simply as the “Autobianchi A112”. Other than the name change, there were no design changes to the car. Production continued into 1986, at which point 1,254,178 Autobianchi A112s had been built. The most interesting version was the A112 Abarth, introduced in September 1971 at the same time as the Elegant. It was prepared by the motorsports division of the Fiat Group, at first with a 982 cc engine, obtained by increasing the stroke, coupled to a sportive exhaust, a twin carburettor, and a different camshaft. In 1975, displacement was increased to 1,050 cc, while power climbed from 58 HP to 70 HP at 6600 rpm, for a weight of only 700 kg (1,540 lb). The two engines were offered in parallel until production of the smaller unit ended in late 1976. The 1975 model was also the first A112 to use a 5-speed manual gearbox. These changes turned the A112 into a nervous machine, much admired by young performance enthusiasts. The car was entered in various rallying events throughout Europe and even spawned a one-make trophy: the Campionato A112 Abarth spanned eight editions, from 1977 to 1984, and adopted contemporary Group 1 rules, which meant nearly-stock cars. Some famous Italian rally drivers, including Attilio Bettega, Fabrizio Tabaton and Gianfranco Cunico, were among the winners of the championship. The increasing popularity of the A112 in historic rallies and hillclimbs led to the reintroduction of a one-make trophy, called Trofeo A112 Abarth, in 2010. Abarths have often led hard lives, having been preferred by young owners with aggressive driving styles!
Final car to bear the Autobianchi name was the Y10, which was launched in 1985 as a replacement for the long running Autobianchi A112. It retained the Autobianchi badging in some European markets, but in the UK where that brand had never been sold, it was a Lancia. A boutique city car, it created a small market niche all of its own long before the world had become obsessed with “premium” at every point of the market. When first launched, the top model of the range was the Turbo, which was a slightly raw pocket rocket created by the simple expedient of strapping a small IHI turbo on the 1050cc engine, resulting in a car with 85 bhp at its disposal. When the Y10 was facelifted in 1989, the Turbo was gone, replaced by the GTie, which is the version seen here. The new unit, a naturally aspirated 1301cc engine of 1301 cc and Multi Point fuel injection was derived from the previous 1050, and although not quite as potent, with maximum power of 78 hp at 5750 rpm and a maximum torque of 100 Nm at 3250 rpm was still able to propel the car to 178 km/h and to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds. It also delivered more comfort and a smoother drive than the rather raucous turbo version, which made the GT a much more “usable” and “all-rounder” of a GT. As was common with sports models at the time, the GT i.e. is characterised by red border that frames the front grille, by an adhesive strip, with the mark of identification, which runs through the lower edge of the side, by original hub caps (optional alloy wheels) and chrome tailpipe. It was the lesser models which achieved most of the sales, of course. Over 850,000 Y10s were made between 1985 and 1992.
The New Class coupé range, which comprised the BMW 2000 C and BMW 2000 CS, was a coupé body style built by Karmann for BMW from the summer of 1965 to 1969. In 1965, BMW ended production of their Bertone-bodied 3200 CS coupé, the last of their line of V8 powered luxury cars from the 1950s. BMW decided to continue with a coachbuilt coupé. Based on the New Class platform, the 2000 C and 2000 CS introduced the 2.0 L version of the M10 4-cylinder engine and replaced the 3200 CS as BMW’s flagship model in 1965. The New Class coupé was developed from the New Class sedans to showcase the 2.0 L version of the M10 engine used in the sedans. The new displacement of 1,990 cc was achieved with the 80 mm stroke of the 1.8 L version combined with a 89 mm bore. The coupé was built for BMW by Karmann in Osnabrück and available as the 2000C, with a single-carburettor engine delivering 100 hp at 5500 rpm, or as the 2000CS with a twin-carburettor engine delivering 120 hp at 5500 rpm. Both versions used a four speed manual transmission as standard, while the 2000C was available with a three speed automatic transmission as an optional extra. The styling was based the New Class sedan, with an all-new front end. The headlights were behind a glass fairing, and the grill consisted solely of a chromed BMW “double-kidney” at the centre of the front. Apart from chrome accents around the headlights and along the top of the front end, the rest of the front was painted metal, with a row of vertical slots behind the bumper on each side to admit air for cooling and engine induction. Reactions to the front end styling have been mixed; Norbye describes it as “a blunt, unattractive front end”, Severson agrees, calling the front clip “odd-looking” and stating that the details of the front end “do no favours for the looks”, while Noakes disagrees, referring to its “imposing front end” being “tidier than the Bertone body’s fussy nose” in comparison to the 3200CS. The cars were replaced by the 6-cylinder E9 2800CS in 1969.
The 1600-2, as the first “02 Series” BMW was designated, was an entry-level BMW, and was smaller, less expensive, and less well-appointed than the New Class Sedan on which it was based. BMW’s design director Wilhelm Hofmeister assigned the two-door project to staff designers Georg Bertram and Manfred Rennen. The 9.1 in shorter length and wheelbase and lighter weight of the two-door sedan made it more suitable than the original New Class sedan for sporting applications. As a result, the two door sedan became the basis of the sporting 02 Series. The 1600-2 (the “-2” meaning “2-door”) made its debut at the Geneva Show in March 1966 and was sold until 1975, with the designation being simplified to “1602” in 1971. The 1.6 litre M10 engine produced 84 hp at 5,700 rpm and 96 lb·ft. A high performance version, the 1600 TI, was introduced in September 1967. With a compression ratio of 9.5:1 and the dual Solex PHH side-draft carburettor system from the 1800 TI, the 1600 TI produced 110 hp at 6,000 rpm. Also introduced in September 1967 was a limited-production cabriolet, which would be produced by Baur from 1967 through 1971. A hatchback 1600 Touring model was introduced in 1971 but was discontinued in 1972. It was what came next which was more significant. Helmut Werner Bönsch, BMW’s director of product planning, and Alex von Falkenhausen, designer of the M10 engine, each had a two litre engine installed in a 1600-2 for their respective personal use. When they realised they had both made the same modification to their own cars, they prepared a joint proposal to BMW’s board to manufacture a two litre version of the 1600-2. At the same time, American importer Max Hoffman was asking BMW for a sporting version of the 02 series that could be sold in the United States. As per the larger coupe and 4-door saloon models, the 2.0 engine was sold in two states of tune: the base single-carburettor 2002 producing 101 hp and the dual-carburettor high compression 2002 ti producing 119 hp.In 1971, the Baur cabriolet was switched from the 1.6 litre engine to the 2.0 litre engine to become the 2002 cabriolet, the Touring hatchback version of the 02 Series became available with all engine sizes available in the 02 Series at the time and the 2002 tii was introduced as the replacement for the 2002 ti. The 2002 tii used the fuel-injected 130 hp engine from the 2000 tii, which resulted in a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). A 2002 tii Touring model was available throughout the run of the tii engine and the Touring body, both of which ended production in 1974. The 2002 Turbo was launched at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show. This was BMW’s first turbocharged production car and the first turbocharged car since General Motors’ brief offerings in the early 1960s. It produced 170 hp. The 2002 Turbo used the 2002 tii engine with a KKK turbocharger and a compression ratio of 6.9:1 in order to prevent engine knocking. Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection was used, with a sliding throttle plate instead of the usual throttle butterfly. The 2002 Turbo was introduced just before the 1973 oil crisis, therefore only 1,672 were built. The 1802 was introduced in 1971 and was available with either the original 2-door sedan body or the 3-door Touring hatchback introduced that year. Production of the Touring model continued until 1974, with the 1802 sedan ending production the following year. The 1502, an economy model with an engine displacement of 1573 cc was introduced in 1975. This engine had a lower compression ratio of 8.0:1, therefore standard-octane petrol could be used. While the rest of the 02 Series was replaced in 1975 by the E21 3 Series, the 1502 was continued until 1977. Seen here were both a 2002 Touring and a 2002 Turbo
This is a D46/48 racer. Founded in 1939 by Turinese texile industrialist Piero Dusio to manufacture sports equipment, Consorzio Industriale Sportiva Italia (Cisitalia) amassed a fortune for its former soccer star owner making military uniforms during WW2. An experienced amateur driver, Dusio used his fortune to become involved with the sport he loved. After winning his class on the 1937 Mille Miglia, he began to explore the possibilities of building his own racing cars. He commissioned Ing. Dante Giacosa to create a simple, inexpensive single-seater racing car which could get Italy racing again. Using Fiat parts as a base Dante Giacosa designed the D46 which made its successful debut in 1946. Giacosa had a vast knowledge of Fiat bits and pieces as he had designed the legendary 500 Fiat Topolino before WW II. Giacosa used a Fiat 1100 production engine with a preselector gearbox in which the actual change of gear was made with the clutch pedal, converted it to dry sump lubrication and increased the power to a whopping 62 bhp. The singular feature of this car was its sophisticated spaceframe, which owed itself to Giacosa’s wartime aeronautical experience and a secret cache of chrome-molybdenum that Piero Dusio had “acquired”. With a weighing under 400 kg (880 lb) the available power was more than enough for competitive performance. Ing. Giovanni Savonuzzi, an ex-Fiat experimental aero engineer knew of this cache and also joined the firm. The Cisitalia D46 was born. Full production could now begin and a series was established just for Cisitalias. Orders from all over Italy soon poured in. Dusio’s dream of a one model series came to nothing, but instead his D46s started to dominate the voiturette series. Highly talented drivers like Tazio Nuvolari piloted the D46 to multiple successes against more advanced but older racing cars.
Several example of the iconic 2CV were here, with a couple of the limited edition models from towards the end of the production run among them. These included a Charleston and the France 3.
There were several examples of the uber-cool Méhari here. Much like the way the 1959 Mini became the 1964 Mini Moke, this small Citroen was based on an existing model, in this case, the 2CV/Dyane. 144,953 Méharis were built between the car’s French launch in May 1968 and 1988 when production ceased. A méhari is a type of fast-running dromedary camel, which can be used for racing or transport. A méhariste was a French Armée d’Afrique and Army of the Levant cavalryman that used these camels. The Méhari was based on the Citroën Dyane 6, and had a body made of ABS plastic with a soft-top. It also employed the 602 cc flat twin engine shared with the 2CV6 and Citroën Ami and because the standard Méhari weighed just 535 kg (1,179 lb), performance was respectable though very far from brisk. The vehicle also had the interconnected fully independent long-travel 2CV suspension used by all of the Citroën ‘A-Series’ vehicles. The colour was integrated into the ABS plastic material in production, and as a utilitarian vehicle, the options chart was quite limited. Only the Vert Montana remained in the catalogue for all the 18 years of production. Except for Azur blue, the official names of colours all refer to desert regions. Ultraviolet rays from the Sun impact the colourfastness of ABS plastic, so unrestored cars have a faded appearance. New bodies for restorations are only supplied in white colour, and now require painting on top of a specialist primer. A four-wheel drive version of the Méhari was produced from 1980 to 1983 and had excellent off-road qualities, due to the lightness of the vehicle. Unlike the earlier four wheel drive 2CV Sahara, which had two engines, this car only had one. Only 1300 were produced and so these cars are now both rare and highly sought after. The Méhari was sold in the United States in 1969 and 1970, where the vehicle was classified as a truck. As trucks had far more lenient National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety standards than passenger cars in the US, the Méhari did not have seat belts. The Mehari did have limited sales success. Budget Rent-A-Car bought a number of them and offered them as rentals in Hawaii. Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California, used them as groundskeeper cars. The cars had some differences from those sold elsewhere, with an altered front panel with larger 7″ sealed-beam headlamps being the most obvious.
This would be the first chance for a lot of people to see the Dallara Stradale, a car that was first revealed in 2017. Company founder Gian Paolo Dallara had the desire to create a car bearing his own name after having worked with various manufacturers and over seeing their projects ranging from the development of Formula 1 and Formula 3 cars as well as Indycars and even designing the chassis of sports cars for other manufacturers, notable manufacturers include Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Alfa Romeo. The development of such a car was halted six times as the funds received from the completion of projects of other companies were invested in development of other projects but finally after accumulating enough funds for the development of a road car, the CEO of the company, Andrea Pontremoli was tasked with the development work. Development began in 2015 with design work contracted to Granstudio, a small Italian design consultancy firm located in Turin. Hours of wind tunnel testing was performed on the final mockups in order to ensure that the car was aerodynamically refined. Chassis work was undertaken by former race car driver Loris Bicocchi. Dallara had been inspired by Colin Chapman’s philosophy of lightweight minimalist sports cars and the final product, the Stradale embodied those principals. With a dry weight of 855 kg (1,885 lb), the Stradale has performance comparable to high performance sports cars while being driver-focused. The first car was delivered to Dallara himself, on the occasion of his 81st birthday, at the company’s headquarters in Varano de’ Melegari, Italy, in 2017. The Stradale is powered by a 2.3-litre turbocharged Ford EcoBoost Inline-four engine also used in the Ford Focus RS. The engine is reworked by Bosch in order to generate a maximum power output of 400 PS (395 bhp) at 6,200 rpm and a peak torque of 500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft) at 3,000–5,000 rpm. Bosch also worked on the car’s aerodynamics and as a result, the car in the berlinetta body style is able to generate 820 kg (1,808 lb) of downforce with its optional rear wing. The conversion to different body styles was made possible by a removable windscreen made from motosport grade polycarbonate glass and a carbon fibre frame. The windscreen has a shape and a central windscreen wiper reminiscent of the Group C race cars of the 1990s. A T-shape removable frame combined with detachable gull-wing doors makes the conversion to a targa top and berlinetta bodyshell possible, but the driver enters the car in the same way, regardless of body structure (i.e by climbing over the side). The base of the chassis is a hollow carbon-fibre tub with solid carbon fibre side structure in order to channel air to the rear of the car. The air from one side goes to the engine while the air from the other side goes to the air-to-air intercooler. The carbon tub is joined by aluminium sub-structures front and aft. Two control arms are present at each corner, with the front arms directly mounted on the tub. The floor of the chassis is flat with a front splitter mounted at the front and a rear diffuser mounted at the rear. These elements combined without the optional rear wing create so much downforce that the format of the car requires to be fitted with reverse Gurney flaps that help maintain appropriate aerodynamic balance. The engine is transversely mounted and is combined with a 6-speed manual transmission (also from the Focus RS) or an optional 6-speed sequential manual transmission with paddle shifters mounted on the steering column transferring the power of the engine to the rear wheels. Both of the transmissions come with a limited slip differential. The Stradale comes with electronic stability control as standard that can be turned off and set to intervene as minimum as possible. The braking system utilises steel brake discs as the engineers working on the car believed that steel brake discs worked just as good without the added complexity and cost of a carbon-ceramic brake disc. The brake calipers are supplied by Brembo. The interior of the car has carbon fibre as its main element and has all of the main controls of the car integrated into the steering wheel. Vital information of the car such as speed and rpm are displayed on a motorsports-style display screen on the steering column. The seats are carbon-fibre shells fixed to the chassis and have foam padding applied on them. The steering column and paddles are adjustable in order to alter the driving position. Minimal luggage can be stowed in two compartments located behind the engine and two additional compartments in the seats are designed to store two race helmets. The total space of these compartments is four cubic-feet. Other features of the car include Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, active racing suspension system by Tractive suspension which drops the car’s ride height by 0.8-inches in track mode and an oil pressure accumulator enabling the fuel pump to withstand the 2.0 g of lateral acceleration the chassis is capable of generating. The Stradale can generate a downforce of 400 kp (881 lbf) at 241 km/h (150 mph) in its basic form and 853 kp (1,880 lbf) with its optional rear wing. The car accelerates from 0–60 mph in 3.2 seconds, 0–100 mph in 8.1 seconds, can complete a quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds and can attain a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph). The company plans to produce no more than 600 units of the Stradale in five years offering a limited number of units for sale every year. Each car has a cost of €191,000 before taxes.
DE DION BOUTON
Designed by American Tom Tjaarda, unlike the Mangusta, which employed a steel backbone chassis, the Pantera was a steel monocoque design, the first instance of De Tomaso using this construction technique. The Pantera logo included a version of Argentina’s flag turned on its side with a T-shaped symbol that was the brand used by De Tomaso’s Argentinian cattle ranching ancestors. The car made its public debut in Modena in March 1970 and was presented at the 1970 New York Motor Show a few weeks later. Approximately a year later the first production Panteras were sold, and production was increased to three per day. The curious slat-backed seats which had attracted comment at the New York Show were replaced by more conventional body-hugging sports-car seats in the production cars: leg-room was generous but the pedals were off-set and headroom was insufficient for drivers above approximately 6 ft. Reflecting its makers’ transatlantic ambitions, the Pantera came with an abundance of standard features which appeared exotic in Europe, such as electric windows, air conditioning and even “doors that buzz when … open”. By the time the Pantera reached production, the interior was in most respects well sorted, although resting an arm on the central console could lead to inadvertently activating the poorly located cigarette lighter. The first 1971 Panteras were powered by a Ford 351 cu in (5.8 litre) V8 engine that produced a severely underrated 330 hp. Stock dynos over the years proved that power was more along the lines of about 380 hp. The high torque provided by the Ford engine reduced the need for excessive gear changing at low speeds: this made the car much less demanding to drive in urban conditions than many of the locally built competitor products. The ZF transaxle used in the Mangusta was also used for the Pantera: a passenger in an early Pantera recorded that the mechanical noises emanating from the transaxle were more intrusive than the well restrained engine noise. Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering were all standard equipment on the Pantera. The 1971 Pantera could accelerate to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. In the summer of 1971, a visitor to the De Tomaso plant at Modena identified two different types of Pantera awaiting shipment, being respectively the European and American versions. From outside, the principal differences were the larger tail lamps on the cars destined for America, along with addition of corner marker lamps. The visitor was impressed by the large number of cars awaiting shipment; but in reality, spending the best part of a year under dust covers in a series of large hangars probably did nothing for the cash-flow of the business or the condition of some of the cars by the time they crossed the Atlantic. Late in 1971, Ford began importing Panteras for the American market to be sold through its Lincoln Mercury dealers. The first 75 cars were simply European imports and are known for their “push-button” door handles and hand-built Carrozzeria Vignale bodies. A total of 1,007 Panteras reached the United States that first year. These cars were poorly built, and several Panteras broke down during testing on Ford’s test track. Early crash testing at UCLA showed that safety cage engineering was not very well understood in the 1970s. Rust-proofing was minimal on these early cars, and the quality of fit and finish was poor, with large amounts of body solder being used to cover body panel flaws. Notably, Elvis Presley once fired a gun at his Pantera after it would not start. An L model (“Lusso”) was added in 1972 and a GTS version in 1974, but it was not enough and Ford ended their importation to the US in 1975, having sold around 5,500 cars. De Tomaso continued to build the car in ever-escalating forms of performance and luxury for almost two decades for sale in the rest of the world. A small number of Panteras were imported to the US by grey market importers in the 1980s, notably Panteramerica and AmeriSport. After 1974, Ford US discontinued the Cleveland 351 engine, but production continued in Australia until 1982. De Tomaso started sourcing their V8s from Australia once the American supplies dried up. These engines were tuned in Switzerland and were available with a range of outputs up to 360 PS. The chassis was completely revised in 1980, beginning with chassis number 9000. From May 1980 the lineup included the GT5, which had bonded and riveted-on fibreglass wheelarch extensions and from November 1984 the GT5S model which had blended arches and a distinctive wide-body look. The GT5 also incorporated better brakes, a more luxurious interior, much larger wheels and tires and the fibreglass body kit also included an air dam and side skirts. Production of the wide body GT5 (and similarly equipped narrow body GTS models) continued until 1985, when the GT5-S replaced the GT5. Although the factory has not made its records available, an analysis based on Vehicle Identification Numbers by the Pantera Owners Club of America (POCA) late model (9000 series) registrar has shown that fewer than 252 GT5 Panteras were likely to have been built. The GT5-S featured single piece flared steel fenders instead of the GT5’s riveted-on fibreglass flares, and a smaller steel front air dam. The ‘S’ in the GT5-S name stood for “steel”. Otherwise the GT5-S was largely identical to the GT5. The POCA 9000 series registrar’s VIN analysis indicates that fewer than 183 GT5-S Panteras were built. Concurrent GTS production continued, on a custom order and very limited basis, until the late 1980s. The car continued to use a Ford V8 engine, although in 1988, when the supply of Ford 351 Cleveland engines from Australia ran out, De Tomaso began installing Ford 351 Windsor engines in the Pantera instead. For 1990 the 351 was changed to the Ford 302 cu in (4942 cc, commonly called a “5.0”). Incorporating a Marcello Gandini facelift, suspension redesign, partial chassis redesign and the new, smaller engine, the Pantera 90 Si model was introduced in 1990. Only 38 90 Si models were sold before the Pantera was finally phased out in 1993 to make way for the radical, carbon-fibre-bodied Guarà. Some say 41 were built (with the last one not finished until 1996), of which four were targa models. The targas were converted by Pavesi directly off the production lines. In all, about 7,200 Panteras were built.
One of the oldest cars of the event was this 1909 Coupe Chauffeur. The Diatto firm was founded in 1835 in Turin by Guglielmo Diatto and was specialized around 1900 in the manufacture of trams and rail cars. In 1905 two of his grandsons, Vittorio and Pietro, founded the Diatto-A. Clément Vetture Marca Torino company, of which Adolphe Clément became president. The cars were Bayard cars made under license and were sold as Diatto-A. Clément. From the beginning, the cars were entered in trials and races and were successful in many of these events. In 1909, however, the firm was reformed to become independent of Adolphe Clément. Was he too influential and did he hinder the ambition of the Diatto brothers? This is not fully clear, but very plausible of course. The new firm was called with a mouthful: Società Officine Fonderie Frejus Vetture Diatto. In 1909 a completely new Diatto car was designed, including a new monobloc engine. In an article early 1910 the Car Illustrated named the new car “exceptionally well designed” and tests on the Brooklands track of the 12/15 HP model showed a very good performance indeed. This model remained into production until 1922. An improved model with a slightly larger engine was introduced in 1912. The firm expanded continuously, but halfway the twenties the economic situation forced Diatto to economise production, to give up racing and finally the end came in 1928. This 1909 Diatto coupé chauffeur has a genuine Diatto engine under the bonnet. It is a 4DV 16/20 HP engine of 2.920 cc, making it the first of the Diatto monobloc range. No other Diatto of this age is known to exist, making this well-restored car the oldest survivor of the illustrious make. A problem in the research of this car is lack of information on the transition period during 1909.
The Edsel was technically a separate marque that was planned, developed, and manufactured by the Ford Motor Company for model years 1958–1960. With the Edsel, Ford had expected to make significant inroads into the market share of both General Motors and Chrysler and close the gap between itself and GM in the domestic American automotive market. Ford invested heavily in a yearlong teaser campaign leading consumers to believe that the Edsel was the car of the future – an expectation it failed to deliver. After it was unveiled to the public, it was considered to be unattractive, overpriced, and overhyped. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. The Ford Motor Company lost $250 million on the Edsel’s development, manufacturing, and marketing and the very name “Edsel” became a popular symbol for a commercial failure. The Ford Motor Company had become a publicly traded corporation on January 17, 1956, and thus was no longer entirely owned by members of the Ford family. The company was now able to sell cars according to current market trends. Ford’s new management compared the company’s roster of makes with that of General Motors and Chrysler, and concluded that Lincoln was competing not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile, Buick and DeSoto. Ford developed a plan to move Lincoln upmarket, with the Continental broken out as a separate make at the top of Ford’s product line, and to add a premium/intermediate vehicle to the intermediate slot vacated by Lincoln. Marketing research and development for the new intermediate line had begun in 1955 under the code name “E car”,which stood for “experimental car.” Ford Motor Company eventually decided on the name “Edsel”, in honour of Edsel B. Ford, son of the company’s founder, Henry Ford (despite objections from Henry Ford II). The proposed vehicle marque would represent the start-up of a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the Lincoln-Mercury division, whose cars at the time shared the same bodies. The Edsel was introduced amid considerable publicity on “E Day”—September 4, 1957. It was also promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show, on October 13, but the promotional effort was not enough to counter the adverse initial public reaction to the car’s styling and conventional build. The day after its launch, the Edsel was described as a “reborn LaSalle,” a brand that had disappeared in 1940. For months, Ford had been telling the industry press that it “knew” (through its market research) that there would be great demand for the vehicle. Ford also insisted that, in the Edsel, it had built exactly the “entirely new kind of car” that Ford had been leading the buying public to expect through its pre-introduction publicity campaign for the car. In reality, however, the Edsel shared its engineering and bodywork with other Ford models, and the similarities were apparent once the vehicle was viewed first-hand. The Edsel was to be sold through a newly formed division of the Ford Motor Company, as a companion to the Ford Division, Mercury Division, Lincoln Division and (newly formed but also short-lived) Continental Division. Each division had its own retail organization and dealer network. The free-standing Edsel Division existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsel sales and marketing operations were integrated into the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division. Initially Edsel was sold through a new network of approximately 1,187 dealers. This briefly brought the total number of dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with Chrysler, which had 10,000 dealers, and General Motors, which had 16,000. As soon as it became apparent that the Edsels were not selling, many of these dealers added Lincoln-Mercury, Ford of Britain, or Ford of Germany franchises to their dealerships with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company. Some dealers, however, closed For the 1958 model year, Ford produced four submodels of Edsel: The larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. The Citation was offered in two-door and four-door hardtop and two-door convertible versions. The Corsair was available in two-door and four-door hardtop versions. The Pacer was available as a two-door or four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, or two-door convertible. The Ranger was sold in two-door and four-door hardtop or sedan versions. The four-door Bermuda and Villager wagons and the two-door Roundup wagon were based on the 116-inch wheelbase Ford station wagon platform and shared the trim and features of the Ranger and Pacer models. The Edsel offers several of what were then considered innovative features, among which are its rolling-dome speedometer; warning lights for such conditions as low oil level, parking brake engaged, and engine overheating; and its push-button Teletouch transmission shifting system in the centre of the steering wheel (a conventional column-shift automatic was also available at a reduced price). Other Edsel design innovations include ergonomically designed controls for the driver and self-adjusting brakes (which Ford claimed for the Edsel as a first for the industry, even though Studebaker had pioneered them earlier in the decade). The Edsel also offers such features, advanced for the time, as seat belts (which were available at extra cost as optional equipment on many other makes) and child-proof rear door locks that could only be opened with the key. In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the United States, and 4,935 were sold in Canada. Though below expectations, this nevertheless represented the second-largest launch for any new car brand to date, exceeded only by the DeSoto introduction in 1929. For the 1959 model year, the Edsel brand fielded only two series, the Ford-based Ranger and Corsair. The larger Mercury-based Edsels were discontinued. Replacing the Pacer as the top-line Ford-based Edsel, the new Corsair was offered as a two-door and four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger was sold as a two-door and four-door hardtop, two-door and four-door sedan, and the Villager station wagon. In the 1959 model year, 44,891 Edsels were sold in the U.S., and 2,505 were sold in Canada. For the 1960 model year, Edsel’s last, only 2,846 vehicles were produced. All but the pilot cars were assembled at the Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant. The marque was reduced to the Ranger series of sedans, hardtops, convertibles, and the Villager station wagons. The Edsel shared a basic chassis, glass, and major sheet metal with the 1960 Ford Galaxie and Fairlane models that were built on the Louisville assembly line with it. But the Edsel has its own unique grille, bonnet, and four upright oblong taillights, along with its side-sweep spears. The Edsel’s front and rear bumpers were also unique. The 1960 Edsel rides on a 120-inch wheelbase, compared to the concurrent Ford’s 119-inch span, and it also uses a different rear suspension. The cars did, however, share engines and transmissions. Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, production continued until late in November, with the final tally of 2,846 model year 1960 cars. Total Edsel sales were approximately 116,000, less than half the company’s projected break-even point. The company lost $350 million, or the equivalent of $2,900,000,000 in 2017 dollars, on the venture. Only 118,287 Edsels were built, including 7,440 produced in Ontario, Canada. By U.S. auto industry standards, these production figures were dismal, particularly when spread across a run of three model years. Historians have advanced several theories in an effort to explain the Edsel’s failure. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Consumer Reports has alleged that poor workmanship was the Edsel’s chief problem. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of the corporate culture’s failure to understand American consumers. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford’s executive offices. According to author and Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, the Edsel was “the wrong car at the wrong time.”
Dating from 1969 is this 365 GTC, a development of the earlier 330 GTC, offering increased power and torque over that car. In Ferrari terms the 365 GTC has been somewhat overlooked and with only 150 examples built and production only lasting a single year, the Ferrari 365 GTC is known by few. It is, by all accounts, one of the finest all-rounders Maranello has ever produced. Pininfarina designed and built the GTC’s steel body, blending the general design of the 275 GTS and 330 GTC while incorporating a nose resembling the 500 superfast. The Kamm-like ducktail rear from the 330 remained unchanged with the exquisite light cluster and two-element chromed bumpers adorning the rear-end. The main difference between the Ferrari 365 GTC and its older brother the 330 GTC was the bonnet slats instead of louvres on the front wings to improve the cooling of the engine compartment. Further minor yet important modifications were made such as the handbrake mechanism which switched from the umbrella-type mechanism as seen in the 330 GTC to a more modern fitment between the seats on the 365GTC. The clutch on the 365 GTC was also improved from a hydraulic to cable operation and the half shafts went to CV joints instead of the 330’s more basic U-joints. The more exciting news, however, was inside the engine bay. This Ferrari was equipped with the latest version of Gioacchino Colombo’s V12 engine, giving it power to match Pininfarina’s elegant bodywork. The displacement was increased to 4.4 litres over the 330’s 4.0 litre engine and the single camshaft improved bottom-end performance while retaining sonorous power at the other end of the rev-counter, this Colombo V12 is the one to have. It is no coincidence that this is the most powerful Single Overhead Cam of any Columbo V12 Ferrari producing an incredibly potent 320 bhp. The Ferrari 365 GTC’s short production run is likely explained by a range of factors. The ever-more stringent safety laws in the US contributed to its short run but it was the arrival of Ferrari’s brand new model, the Daytona, that really spelled the end for the Ferrari 365 GTC.
Top of the Ferrari range from the mid 70s for 10 years was the Berlinetta Boxer, object of many a small child’s intense desire, as I can attest from my own childhood! Production of the Berlinetta Boxer was a major step for Enzo Ferrari. He felt that a mid-engined road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, and it took many years for his engineers to convince him to adopt the layout. This attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance in the late 1950s to mid-engined competitors. The mid-engined 6- and 8-cylinder Dino racing cars were the result, and Ferrari later allowed for the production Dino road cars to use the layout as well. The company also moved its V12 engines to the rear with its P and LM racing cars, but the Daytona was launched with its engine in front. It was not until 1970 that a mid-engined 12-cylinder road car would appear. The first “Boxer” was the 365 GT4 BB shown at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. Designed to rival the Lamborghini Miura and the newly developed Lamborghini Countach, it was finally released for sale in 1973 at the Paris Motor Show. 387 were built, of which 88 were right-hand drive (of which 58 were for the UK market), making it the rarest of all Berlinetta Boxers. The Pininfarina-designed body followed the P6 show car with popup headlights. Though it shared its numerical designation with the Daytona, the Boxer was radically different. It was a mid-engined car like the Dino, and the now flat-12 engine was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely. Although referred to as a Boxer, the 180° V12 was not a true boxer engine, but rather a flat engine. It had 380 hp, slightly more than the Daytona. The 365 GT4 BB was updated as the BB 512 in 1976, resurrecting the name of the earlier Ferrari 512 racer. The name 512 referred to the car’s 5 litre, 12 cylinder engine; a deviation from Ferrari’s established practice of naming 12-cylinder road cars (as the 365 BB) after their cylinder displacement. The engine was enlarged to 4943.04 cc, with an increased compression ratio of 9.2:1. Power was slightly down to 360 hp, while a dual plate clutch handled the added torque and eased the pedal effort. Dry sump lubrication prevented oil starvation in hard cornering. The chassis remained unaltered, but wider rear tires (in place of the 365’s equally sized on all four corners) meant the rear track grew 63 mm. External differentiators included a new chin spoiler upfront, incorporated in the bumper. A NACA duct on the side provided cooling for the exhaust system. At the rear there were now twin tail lights and exhaust pipes each side, instead of triple units as on the 365 GT4 BB. 929 BB 512 models were produced. The Bosch K-Jetronic CIS fuel injected BB 512i introduced in 1981 was the last of the series. The fuel injected motor produced cleaner emissions and offered a better balance of performance and daily-driver temperament. External differentiators from the BB 512 besides badging include a change to metric sized wheels and the Michelin TRX metric tyre system, small white running lights in the nose, and red rear fog lamps outboard of the exhaust pipes in the rear valance. 1,007 BB 512i models were produced.
The 308 GTB was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1975 as a direct replacement for the Dino 246. Designed by Pininfarina with sweeping curves and aggressive lines, the 308 has gone on to become one of the most recognised Ferraris of all time. Fitted with a 2.9 litre DOHC V8 engine fed by four Webber 40DCNF Carburettors, the power output of 255bhp was sufficient to propel the 308 from 0 to 60mph in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 159 mph.Tougher emissions standards in the 1980s challenged Ferrari more than many other marques. In 1980, fuel injection was adopted for the first time on the 308 GTB and GTS models, and power dropped quite noticeably fro 240 bhp to 214bhp. Two years later, at the 1982 Paris Motor Show, Ferrari launched the 308 quattrovalvole, in GTB and GTS form. The main change from the 308 GTBi/GTSi it succeeded were the 4-valves per cylinder—hence its name, which pushed output back up to 240 hp restoring some of the performance lost to the emission control equipment. The new model could be recognised by the addition of a slim louvred panel in the front lid to aid radiator exhaust air exit, power operated mirrors carrying a small enamel Ferrari badge, a redesigned radiator grille with rectangular driving lights on each side, and rectangular (in place of round) side repeaters. The interior also received some minor updates, such as a satin black three spoke steering wheel with triangular centre; cloth seat centres became available as an option to the standard full leather. Available included metallic paint, a deep front spoiler, air conditioning, wider wheels, 16-inch Speedline wheels with Pirelli P7 tyres, and a satin black roof aerofoil (standard on Japanese market models). Apart from the 32-valve cylinder heads, the V8 engine was essentially of the same design as that used in the 308 GTSi model. The gear and final drive ratios were altered to suit the revised characteristics of the four valves per cylinder engine. One other significant benefit of the QV four valve heads was the replacement of the non-QV models sodium valves which have been known to fail at the joint between the head and the stem. Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and Marelli Digiplex electronic ignition were carried over from the GTBi/GTSi. The car was produced in this form until the launch of the 328 models in the autumn of 1985 which had larger 3.2 litre engines and a number of styling changes. 308 GTB models are becoming increasingly sought after, with prices rising steadily and quite steeply. There was a 308 GTB here.
For those who needed a bit more space, Ferrari also offered the 308 GT4 Dino, which was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1973. It only gained the “Prancing Horse” badge in May 1976, replacing the Dino badges on the front, wheels, rear panel and the steering wheel. This has caused major confusion over the years by owners, enthusiasts and judges. During the energy crisis at that time many prospective owners were hesitant to buy such an expensive automobile not badged “Ferrari” being confused at the significance of the Dino name. The GT4 was a groundbreaking model for Ferrari in several ways: it was the first production Ferrari to feature the mid-engined V8 layout that would become the bulk of the company’s business in the succeeding decades, and was the first production Ferrari with Bertone (rather than Pininfarina) designed bodywork. Pininfarina was upset by the decision to give cross-town rival Bertone the design, considering all they had done for Ferrari. The styling featured angular lines entirely different from its curvaceous 2-seater brother, the Dino 246, and was controversial at the time. Some journalists compared it to the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Urraco, also penned by Marcello Gandini. From the cockpit the driver sees only the road. It has perfect 360 degree visibility, no blind spots, upright and comfortable seating position, a real boot, a back seat for soft luggage, and very easy engine access. Enzo Ferrari himself took a major role in its design, even having a mock-up made where he could sit in the car to test different steering, pedals and cockpit seating positioning. The chassis was a tubular spaceframe based on the Dino 246, but was stretched for a 115.2 in wheelbase to make room for the second row of seats. The suspension was fully independent, with double wishbones, anti-roll bars, coaxial telescopic shock absorbers and coil springs on both axles. Niki Lauda helped set up the chassis. The 2927 cc V8 was mounted transversally integrally joined with the 5-speed transaxle gearbox. The engine had an aluminium alloy block and heads, 16-valves and dual overhead camshafts driven by toothed belts; it produced 255 hp in the European version and 240 hp in the American. The induction system used four Weber 40 DCNF carburettors. The GT4 was replaced by the Mondial 8 in 1980 after a production run of 2,826 308s and 840 208s.
Introduced at the 1985 Frankfurt Show alongside the Mondial 3.2 series, the Ferrari 328 GTB and GTS (Type F106) were the successors to the Ferrari 308 GTB and GTS which had first been seen in October 1975. While mechanically still based on the 308 GTB and GTS respectively, small modifications were made to the body style and engine, most notably an increase in engine displacement to 3185 cc for increased power and torque output. As had been the case for a generation of the smaller Ferraris, the model name referred to the total cubic capacity of the engine, 3.2 litres, and 8 for the number of cylinders. Essentially the new model was a revised and updated version of the 308 GTS, which had survived for eight years without any radical change to the overall shape, albeit with various changes to the 3-litre engine. The 328 model presented a softening of the wedge profile of its predecessor, with a redesigned nose that had a more rounded shape, which was complemented by similar treatment to the tail valance panel. The revised nose and tail sections featured body colour bumpers integral with the valance panels, which reflected the work done concurrently to present the Mondial 3.2 models, with which they also shared a similar radiator grille and front light assembly layout. Thus all the eight-cylinder cars in the range shared fairly unified front and rear aspects, providing a homogeneous family image. The exhaust air louvres behind the retractable headlight pods on the 308 series disappeared, coupled with an increase in the size of the front lid radiator exhaust air louvre, which had been introduced on the 308 Quattrovalvole models, whilst a new style and position of exterior door catch was also provided. The interior trim also had a thorough overhaul, with new designs for the seat panel upholstery and stitching, revised door panels and pulls, together with more modern switchgear, which complemented the external updating details. Optional equipment available was air conditioning, metallic paint, Pirelli P7 tyres, a leather dashboard, leather headlining to the removable roof panel plus rear window surround, and a rear aerofoil (standard on Japanese market models). In the middle of 1988 ABS brakes were made available as an option, which necessitated a redesign of the suspension geometry to provide negative offset. This in turn meant that the road wheel design was changed to accommodate this feature. The original flat spoke “star” wheels became a convex design, in the style as fitted to the 3.2 Mondial models, whether ABS was fitted or not. The main European market 328 GTS models had a tubular chassis with a factory type reference F 106 MS 100. Disc brakes, with independent suspension via wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, were provided all round, with front and rear anti roll bars. There were various world market models, each having slight differences, with right and left hand drive available. The V8 engine was essentially of the same design as that used in the 308 Quattrovalvole model, with an increase in capacity to 3185 cc. The engine retained the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system of its predecessor, but was fitted with a Marelli MED 806 A electronic ignition system, to produce a claimed power output of 270 bhp at 7000 rpm. As with the preceding 308 models the engine was mounted in unit with the all synchromesh five-speed manual transmission assembly, which was below, and to the rear of the engine’s sump. The 328 GTS continued in production for four years, until replaced by the 348 ts model in the autumn of 1989, during which time 6068 examples were produced, GTS production outnumbering the GTB (1344 produced) version almost five to one.
With styling that had a close link to the Testarossa, the next Ferrari to be launched, in 1989, was the 348, as a replacement for the 328 GTB/GTS models. At launch, the 348 series were not that enthusiastically received by the press who found much to complain about. The 348’s styling differed from previous models with straked side air intakes and rectangular taillights resembling the Testarossa. Launched in two models, a coupe badged 348 tb (Trasversale Berlinetta) and targa roofed 348 ts (Targa), these were soon joined by a fully open car, the 348 Spider. All featured a normally aspirated 3.4-litre version of the quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine. As with its predecessors, the model number was derived from this configuration, with the first two digits being the displacement and the third being the number of cylinders. The engine, which produced 300 hp was mounted longitudinally and coupled to a transverse manual gearbox, like the Mondial t with which the 348 shared many components. This was a significant change for Ferrari, with most previous small Ferraris using a transverse engine with longitudinal transmission. The “T” in the model name 348 tb and ts refers to the transverse position of the gearbox. The 348 was fitted with dual-computer engine management using twin Bosch Motronic ECUs, double-redundant anti-lock brakes, and self-diagnosing air conditioning and heating systems. Late versions (1993 and beyond) have Japanese-made starter motors and Nippondenso power generators to improve reliability, as well as the battery located within the front left fender for better weight distribution. Similar to the Testarossa but departing from the BB 512 and 308/328, the oil and coolant radiators were relocated from the nose to the sides, widening the waist of the car substantially, but making the cabin much easier to cool since hoses routing warm water no longer ran underneath the cabin as in the older front-radiator cars. This also had the side effect of making the doors very wide. The 348 was equipped with a dry-sump oil system to prevent oil starvation at high speeds and during hard cornering. The oil level can only be accurately checked on the dipstick when the motor is running due to this setup. The 348 was fitted with adjustable ride-height suspension and a removable rear sub-frame to speed up the removal of the engine for maintenance. Despite trenchant criticism of the car, especially its handling, 2,895 examples of the 348 tb and 4,230 of the ts were produced.
The 360 was followed by F430, which debuted at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Designed by Pininfarina, under the guidance of Frank Stephenson, the body styling of the F430 was revised from its predecessor, the Ferrari 360, to improve its aerodynamic efficiency. Although the drag coefficient remained the same, downforce was greatly enhanced. Despite sharing the same basic Alcoa Aluminium chassis, roof line, doors and glass, the car looked significantly different from the 360. A great deal of Ferrari heritage was included in the exterior design. At the rear, the Enzo’s tail lights and interior vents were added. The car’s name was etched into the Testarossa-styled driver’s side mirror. The large oval openings in the front bumper are reminiscent of Ferrari racing models from the 60s, specifically the 156 “sharknose” Formula One car and 250 TR61 Le Mans cars of Phil Hill. Designed with soft-top-convertible. The F430 featured a 4.3 litre V8 petrol engine of the “Ferrari-Maserati” F136 family. This new power plant was a significant departure for Ferrari, as all previous Ferrari V8’s were descendants of the Dino racing program of the 1950s. This fifty-year development cycle came to an end with the entirely new unit. The engine’s output was 490 hp at 8500 rpm and 343 lb/ft of torque at 5250 rpm, 80% of which was available below 3500rpm. Despite a 20% increase in displacement, engine weight grew by only 4 kg and engine dimensions were decreased, for easier packaging. The connecting rods, pistons and crankshaft were all entirely new, while the four-valve cylinder head, valves and intake trumpets were copied directly from Formula 1 engines, for ideal volumetric efficiency. The F430 has a top speed in excess of 196 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, 0.6 seconds quicker than the old model. The brakes on the F430 were designed in close cooperation with Brembo (who did the calipers and discs) and Bosch (who did the electronics package),resulting in a new cast-iron alloy for the discs. The new alloy includes molybdenum which has better heat dissipation performance. The F430 was also available with the optional Carbon fibre-reinforced Silicon Carbide (C/SiC) ceramic composite brake package. Ferrari claims the carbon ceramic brakes will not fade even after 300-360 laps at their test track. The F430 featured the E-Diff, a computer-controlled limited slip active differential which can vary the distribution of torque based on inputs such as steering angle and lateral acceleration. Other notable features include the first application of Ferrari’s manettino steering wheel-mounted control knob. Drivers can select from five different settings which modify the vehicle’s ESC system, “Skyhook” electronic suspension, transmission behaviour, throttle response, and E-Diff. The feature is similar to Land Rover’s “Terrain Response” system. The Ferrari F430 was also released with exclusive Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 EMT tyres, which have a V-shaped tread design, run-flat capability, and OneTRED technology. The F430 Spider, Ferrari’s 21st road going convertible, made its world premiere at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. The car was designed by Pininfarina with aerodynamic simulation programs also used for Formula 1 cars. The roof panel automatically folds away inside a space above the engine bay. The conversion from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action. The interior of the Spider is identical to that of the coupé. Serving as the successor to the Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia was unveiled by Michael Schumacher at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show. Aimed to compete with cars like the Porsche RS-models and the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera it was lighter by 100 kg/220 lb and more powerful (510 PS) than the standard F430. Increased power came from a revised intake, exhaust, and an ion-sensing knock-detection system that allows for a higher compression ratio. Thus the weight-to-power ratio was reduced from 2.96 kg/hp to 2.5 kg/hp. In addition to the weight saving measures, the Scuderia semi-automatic transmission gained improved “Superfast”, known as “Superfast2”, software for faster 60 millisecond shift-times. A new traction control system combined the F1-Trac traction and stability control with the E-Diff electronic differential. The Ferrari 430 Scuderia accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 202 miles per hour. Ferrari claimed that around their test track, Fiorano Circuit, it matched the Ferrari Enzo, and the Ferrari F430’s successor, the Ferrari 458. To commemorate Ferrari’s 16th victory in the Formula 1 Constructor’s World Championship in 2008, Ferrari unveiled the Scuderia Spider 16M at World Finals in Mugello. It is effectively a convertible version of the 430 Scuderia. The engine produces 510 PS at 8500 rpm. The car has a dry weight of 1,340 kg, making it 80 kg lighter than the F430 Spider, at a curb weight of 1,440 kg (3,175 lb). The chassis was stiffened to cope with the extra performance available and the car featured many carbon fibre parts as standard. Specially lightened front and rear bumpers (compared to the 430 Scuderia) were a further sign of the efforts Ferrari was putting into this convertible track car for the road. Unique 5-spoke forged wheels were produced for the 16M’s launch and helped to considerably reduce unsprung weight with larger front brakes and callipers added for extra stopping power (also featured on 430 Scuderia). It accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph). 499 vehicles were released beginning early 2009 and all were pre-sold to select clients.
Firmly placed in Ferrari’s history as one of their finest big GTs, the 550 Maranello’s combination of stylish Pininfarina lines and front mounted 12-cylinder engine meant this car had the potential to become an instant classic, following in the footsteps of its forebear, the 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’, and if you look at the way the prices are steading to go, it’s clear that the potential is being realised. Launched in 1996, and with modern styling cues, a 5.5 litre V12 engine producing around 485bhp and a reported top speed of 199mph, the 550 Maranello was a serious motor car. A less frenetic power delivery, the six speed manual box and excellent weight distribution were all factors in the 550 becoming the perfect European Grand Tourer. Ferrari updated the car in 2002 to create the 575M
A variant of the 575 was the 575M SuperAmerica, created to satisfy demand for open-topped V12 motoring and with a rather better roof arrangement than had been on the 550 Barchetta. The 575M Superamerica featured an electrochromic glass panel roof which rotated 180° (both of these attributes being production car firsts) at the rear to lie flat over the boot. The patented Revocromico roof incorporates a carbon fibre structure that is hinged on the single axis with a luggage compartment lid, allowing the access to the latter even with an open roof. With the roof open the rear window, apart for holding the third stop light, also acts as a wind deflector. This roof design was previously used on the 2001-designed Vola by Leonardo Fioravanti. The Superamerica used the higher-output tune of the V-12 engine, F133 G, rated at 533 hp and Ferrari marketed it as the world’s fastest convertible, with a top speed of 199 mph. The GTC handling package was optional. A total of 559 Superamericas were built; this number followed Enzo Ferrari’s philosophy that there should always be one fewer car available than what the market demanded.
Torino is the home of Fiat, so you might reasonably expect a strong showing of the marque here, and it proved to be the case, with a vast array of different models showing the progression of the brand, from some of the earliest days to more recent cars.
Dating from 1914 is this Tipo 2B. A scaled-up version of the Fiat model Zero, and also known as the 52B, the Tipo 2B was produced between 1912 and 1920. The Tipo 2B has a 2815 cc four-cylinder side-valve monoblock engine with 80 mm bore, a 140 mm stroke, and a compression ratio of 4.2:1, producing 28 hp at 1800 rpm. The standard tire on this model is an 815X105. The Tipo 2B has a 4-speed gearbox and a factory top speed of 70 km/h (43 mph)/75 km/h (47 mph). Early Tipo 2B cars had an angular radiator shell, with later production models having a taller pear-shaped radiator shell. The Tipo 2B from-the-factory chassis, ready for installation of various body styles, weighed 760 kilograms (1,680 lb). 2,332 were produced between 1912 and 1914.
This is a 1921 501S. The 501 was Fiat’s first model after World War I. and was produced from 1919 to 1926. It had a 4 cylinder engine producing 23 bhp. Fiat introduced more powerful S (27 bhp) and SS (30 bhp) sports versions in 1921. The vast majority of 501 models had regular 4 seater open tourer type bodies, but there were a small number of cars with light weight bodies like this, aimed at motor sport. Fiat produced 47,600 501s in total.
The 508 Balilla was a compact car launched in 1932. It was effectively the replacement of the Fiat 509, although production of the earlier model had ceased back in 1929. It had a three-speed transmission (increased to four in 1934), seated four, and had a top speed of about 50 mph (80 km/h). It sold for 10,800 lire (or 8,300 2005 euro). About 113,000 were produced. It was offered with a number of different body styles. The first 508 came with a front-mounted four cylinder petrol/gasline side-valve engine of 995cc. Maximum power was listed as 20 hp at 3500 rpm, providing for a top speed of approximately 80 km/h (50 mph). Power passed to the rear wheels through a 3-speed manual gear box without the assistance of synchromesh on any of the ratios. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes on all four wheels. At the end of 1933 power was increased to 24 hp at 3500 rpm, and the maximum speed went up to 85 km/h (53 mph). Transmission was upgraded to a four speed gear box. For 1934 the car now came with a slightly more aerodynamic looking “berlina” (saloon/sedan) body, available with either two or four doors. This version was identified as the Fiat 508B, and the original 1932 model was now, retrospectively, became the Fiat 508A. The first 508A, introduced in 1932, was a 2-door “Berlina” (saloon/sedan) with four seats and a three speed “crash” gearbox. The front seats could be slid forwards and the backrests tilted in order to facilitate access to the back seat in what was a relatively small car. Unusually, the windows in the doors could be wound down by turning a crank handle fitted to the door, while the windscreen was hinged at the top and could be opened, while two windscreen wipers were powered by their own electric motor, positioned inside just above the windscreen. The interior used rubber mats while the seats were cloth covered. Accessories offered included a dash-mounted rear-view mirror, an interior light mounted on the centre of the roof and an externally mounted luggage platform at the back which, when specified, came with the spare wheel repositioned to a mounting point on the side of the car between the left-side door and the front wing. A “Lusso” (“de Luxe”) version also featured a better type of cloth covering for the seats as well as extra bright work around the lights, front grille, wheels and door handles. With the 508B, introduced early in 1934, the body was described as “more aerodynamic” although from the perspective of later developments in car styling, the 508B still followed the rather boxy lines associated with cheap cars from the early 1930s. The gear box was upgraded, now offering four forward speeds, and while the a 2-door “Berlina” remained on offer for a few more months, a 4-door “Berlina” was now added. In June of the same year the 2-door “Berlina” was delisted for Italy and there was a further face-lift for the 4-door bodied car, which now received a modified front grille and a windscreen, previously vertical, that was slightly raked, hinting at the more wholesale styling changes that would accompany the appearance in 1937 of the 508C version of the car. Standard and “Lusso” versions of the 4-door “Berlina” were both offered. A “Torpedo” bodied 508 was added to the range in 1933, with four seats and four doors, and in 1933 still with the 3-speed “crash” gear-box. It was offered only with the “Lusso” (“de Luxe”) trimmings. As on the “Spider”, seat covers and interior trimmings used coloured leather. The windscreen pillars and door hinges were chrome plated, and the removable fabric hood could be stored in a suitably shaped storage bag provided for the purpose. The upgrade to a four speed transmission in 1934 was not accompanied by any aesthetic changes to the “Torpedo” bodywork. The Italian military was active in Tripolitania (now known as Libya) during this period, and a special “Torpedo Coloniale” was produced, sharing the features of the regular 508 Torpedo, but this car came with wider tyres and was painted the colour of sand. A commercial version of the Balilla was offered, both as a panel van or as a small flat-bed truck, with a 350 kg load capacity, based initially on the 3-speed 508A and later on the 4-speed 508B. Around 113,000 were produced.
The Fiat 1100 was introduced in 1937 as the Fiat 508 C or Balilla 1100, a replacement for the Fiat 508 Balilla. Under the new body the 508 C had more modern and refined mechanicals compared to the 508, including independent front suspension and an enlarged overhead valve engine. In 1939 it was updated and renamed simply Fiat 1100. The 1100 was produced in three consecutive series—1100, 1100 B and 1100 E—until 1953, when it was replaced by the all-new, unibody Fiat 1100/103. The Fiat 508 C was first introduced in 1937. It was powered by a 1,089 cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine rather than the earlier Balilla’s 1-litre unit. Power was up by a third, to 32 PS at 4,000 rpm. Drive was to the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox, and for the period, its comfort, handling, and performance were prodigious,making it “the only people’s car that was also a driver’s car”. Unusual for a modestly priced car of the time was the independent front suspension, while the rear had a leaf sprung live axle. According to the manufacturer top speed was 110 km/h (68 mph). Exterior styling recalled the 1935 Fiat 1500 and the 1936 Fiat 500 “Topolino”, with the typical mid-thirties heart-shaped front grille. The main body style for the Fiat 508 C was a 4-door pillarless saloon with 4 side windows (two windows on each side without the rear quarter window), and suicide doors at the rear. Other body styles listed by Fiat were a 4-door convertible saloon (saloon with folding roof, based on the standard 4-door model), a 4-door torpedo, a 2-door 4-seat cabriolet, and, for a brief period, a sporty 2-door 2-seat spider built by Carrozzeria Viotti. In 1938 Fiat put on sale a long-wheelbase six-passenger variant, named 508 L. Besides the 280 mm (11.0 in) extended wheelbase (at 2,700 mm or 106.3 in), other differences from the 508 C were wider wheels and tyres (5.50–15 instead of 5.00–15 tyres) and a shorter final drive ratio, which reduced top speed to 95 km/h (59 mph). The 508 L was sold as a 4-door, 6-window saloon, pillarless and with rear-hinged aft doors like the 508 C, able to carry six passenger thanks to two foldaway seats. Additionally there was a 4-door, 6-window taxi (Tassì) version, which differed in possessing a B-pillar—to which all four doors were hinged—and a partition between the driver and passenger compartments. Indeed, most 508 L saloons saw service as taxis or livery cars. The lengthened 508 L also formed the base for two light commercial vehicles, a van (Italian name 508 L Furgoncino) and a platform lorry (508 L Camioncino). Again in 1938 a sports model was introduced, the 42 PS 508 C Mille Miglia. In 1939 the car underwent a restyling of the front end and became the Fiat 1100, also inappropriately known as 1100 A to distinguish from the later variants. The car had gained a taller, pointed grille—which earned it the popular nickname of 1100 musone, i. e. “big muzzle”—with horizontal chrome bars, the top three extending back over window-shaped louvres on each side of the redesigned engine bonnet. Available body styles were six, all carried over from the previous model: saloon, convertible saloon, cabriolet, sports berlinetta, long-wheelbase saloon and taxi. No significant changes were made to the car’s mechanicals. After World War II, in 1948, the 1100 received some mechanical and interior upgrades, and was renamed 1100 B. The revised type 1100 B engine produced 35 PS at 4,400 rpm thanks to improved inlet and exhaust manifolds and a larger 32 mm diameter choke carburettor. Inside the cabin there was a two-spoke steering wheel instead of the previous three-spoke one, new instrumentation and new trim. The 1100 B was available as saloon, long-wheelbase saloon and taxi. In total 25,000 were made between 1948 and 1949. The 1100 B lasted only one year as in 1949 the car was re-introduced with a curvy boot and new name, the 1100 E. There were examples here of the 1100 Berlina.
This is a 1934 Ardita. The Fiat 518, also called Fiat Ardita, was a model of car produced by Italian car manufacturer Fiat between 1933 and 1938. The name “Ardita” was also used on the six-cylinder engined and more expensive Fiat Ardita 2500 or 527. The Ardita was available in two chassis, having different wheelbases. Furthermore, there was a choice of two engines, the standard 1.8-litre (Ardita, also known as Ardita 1750) and a 2.0-litre version (Ardita 2000). The short 2,700 mm (106.3 in) wheelbase chassis was coded 518 C (for corta, short) and the long (3,000 mm or 118.1 in one 518 L (for lunga, long). Suspension and braking were fairly conventional, with solid axles front and rear, hydraulic dampers, hydraulic drum brakes on all four wheels and a band handbrake on the transmission. The 518 L chassis was fitted with wider tyres (5.50×17″ instead of 5.25×17″) and a different final drive ratio from the 518 C. Both the 518 C and 518 L were offered from the factory with 4-door saloon and 4-door torpedo bodies. Therefore, the factory body styles available for the standard Ardita and the Ardita 2000 were: Saloon, 4 doors, 7 seats, long chassis; Saloon, 4 doors, 5 seats, short chassis; Torpedo, 4 doors, long chassis; Torpedo, 4 doors, short chassis. The saloons had 6 side windows, lacked a centre pillar and had suicide doors at the rear. The Ardita’s type 118 inline-four sidevalve engine had a bore and stroke of 78 mm × 92 mm and displaced 1,758 cc. With a 6.2:1 compression ratio and a single Zenith 36 VIF carburettor it produced 40 PS. Top speed was 100 and 98 km/h (62 and 61 mph) respectively for the 518 C and 518 L saloons. The Ardita 2000’s type 118 A was obtained from the smaller engine by enlarging its bore to 82 mm (bore and stroke 82×92 mm), displacing 1,944 cc. With unchanged compression ratio and carburettor it produced 45 PS at 3,600 rpm. Top speed was about 105 km/h (65 mph). In total 8,794 518s were produced by Fiat. Additionally the 518 was produced outside Italy: in France by Simca as Simca-Fiat 11 CV, and in Poland by Polski Fiat as well as by PZInż under licence.
Sitting at the top of the Fiat range in the late 30s was the 2800. It was produced between 1938 and 1944. The 2800 was the first Fiat with the new pointed front portion, the “musone” nose. The limousine continued in production until 1941. Between 1938 and 1944 only 624 Fiat 2800’s (both types) were built.
There were lots of examples of the 500 Topolino and the later 500C here. Known for being the car which really put Italy on wheels, the Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1937, three versions were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. It was equipped with a 569 cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, which meant that it was a full-scale car rather than a cyclecar. The radiator was located behind the engine which made possible a lowered aerodynamic nose profile at a time when competitors had a flat, nearly vertical grille. The shape of the car’s front allowed exceptional forward visibility. The rear suspension initially used quarter-elliptic rear springs, but buyers frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominally two-seater car, and in later models the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs. With horsepower of about 13 bhp, its top speed was about 53 mph and it could achieve about 48 mpg. The target price given when the car was planned was 5,000 lire. In the event the price at launch was 9,750 lire, though the decade was one of falling prices in several part of Europe and later in the 1930s the Topolino was sold for about 8,900 lire. Despite being more expensive than first envisioned, the car was competitively priced and nearly 520,000 were sold. Nowadays the car seen here is known as the 500A, and this shares its body with the later 500 Model B, but the later car had more power, a heady 16 hp. It was made between 1948 and 1949. The Model A was offered as a 2-door coupé, 2-door cabriolet and a 2-door van, while the Model B also introduced a 3-door estate under the name 500 B Giardinetta (“estate car”). The 500 Model C was introduced in 1949 with a restyled body and the same engine as Model B, and was offered in 2-door coupé, 2-door cabriolet, 3-door estate and 2-door van versions. In 1952, the Giardinetta was renamed the Belvedere (“A turret or other raised structure offering a pleasant view of the surrounding area”, referring to its sunroof). The Model C was produced until 1955. Among the 500s here were the original Topolino, as well as several 500c and Belvedere models.
Introduced at the 1950 Geneva Motor Show, the 1400 was the first unibody Fiat and had a 1.4 litre engine which generated a heady 44 bhp, giving it a maximum speed of 75 mph. In 1953 the Fiat 1400 also became the SEAT 1400, the first model produced by SEAT, and the first passenger car produced by Crvena Zastava in FNRY, the Zastava 1400 BJ. Equipped with a 2.0 litre Steyr engine, it was produced as “Steyr 2000” by Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG in Austria from 1953. The Fiat 1900, introduced in 1952, was an upmarket model that used the same body as the 1400, but came with a 1.9 litre engine and more standard features. The petrol-engined Fiat 1900 A, introduced in 1954, offered a claimed 70 bhp. It also featured a hydraulically operated clutch and, unusually for that time, a five speed column shifted manual transmission, as well as a radio and a rudimentary “trip computer” that showed the average speed. In 1953 the introduction of a diesel version with a 1900 cc engine marked another Fiat first, although the diesel version was known as the 1400 Diesel. The Motor magazine tested one in 1954 and recorded a top speed of 63.8 mph (102.7 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 45.2 seconds and a fuel consumption of 33.9 mpg. The car was not at the time available on the UK market but a price in Italy of 1,545,000 Lire was quoted which they worked out as equivalent to £909. About 179.000 1400s and 19.000 1900s were built.
There were lots of examples of the long lived Fiat 1100 model here. Produced from 1953 to 1969, this was an all-new unibody replacement for the Fiat 1100 E, which descended from the pre-war, body-on-frame Fiat 508 C Balilla 1100. The 1100 was changed steadily and gradually until being replaced by the new Fiat 128 in 1969. There were also a series of light commercial versions of the 1100 built, with later models called the Fiat 1100T, which remained in production until 1971. The Fiat 1100 D also found a long life in India, where Premier Automobiles continued to build the car until the end of 2000. Like other manufacturers, after World War II Fiat continued producing and updating pre-war types. The first blank sheet design was the 1950 1400, the first with unibody Fiat, which took place of the 1935 1500. Fiat’s intermediate offering between the 1500 and the diminutive 500 was the 1100 E, the last evolution of the 508C Nuova Balilla 1100 first launched in 1937. Its replacement it was codenamed Tipo 103; like the 1400 was to use unit construction, while the 1100 E’s 1.1-litre engine was carried over unaltered. The Fiat Nuova 1100, or Fiat 1100/103 as it was called after its internal project number, was introduced at the April 1953 Geneva Motor Show. Unlike the 1100 E it replaced, the 103 had a modern four-door saloon pontoon body topping new unibody construction, both pioneered in Fiat’s range by the 1950 1400. If the 103’s body was all-new, its engine was well-tested, having debuted in 1937 on the predecessor of the outgoing 1100 E, the 508 C Balilla 1100. Updated as type 103.000, the 1,089 cc overhead valve four-cylinder was fed by a single Solex or Weber downdraught carburettor, and put out 36 PS at 4,400 rpm—just one horsepower more than on the 1100 E. The 4-speed manual transmission had synchromesh on the top three speeds and a column-mounted shifter, fashionable at the time. The car could reach a top speed of 116 km/h (72 mph). The new model was offered in two different versions: the spartan Tipo A and richer Tipo B. The former was only available in a grey-brown paint colour, had separate front seats instead of a bench, reduced, non-chromed exterior trim, and lacked a heater and ventilation. The type B came in a choice of paint hues and interior fabrics, and could be ordered with factory-fitted whitewall tyres and radio. A distinguishing feature of 103s throughout the 1950s were the doors, both hinged on the centre pillar; this would only change in 1960, when the 1100 started to adopt the more modern bodyshell of the Fiat 1200 saloon. At the October 1953 Paris Motor Show Fiat launched a sporting version of the 103, the 1100 TV—standing for Turismo Veloce, “Fast Touring”. The TV was fitted with an improved engine (type 103.006), which developed 48 PS at 5,400 rpm rather than the 36 PS of the regular versions, mainly thanks to a twin-choke Weber carburettor and a higher 7.4:1 (instead of 6.7:1) compression ratio. Later in 1954, compression ratio was raised further to 7.6:1 and power reached 50 PS. Top speed was 135 km/h (84 mph). Another notable mechanical difference was the propeller shaft, two-piece instead of one-piece in order to dampen torsional vibrations, intensified by the increased engine output. The TV’s bodyshell, outfitted by Fiat’s Carrozzerie Speciali special bodies department, differed from the standard in having a larger, curved rear window and prominent rear wings, supporting differently shaped tail lamps. A distinguishing trait of the TV was a single front fog lamp, inset in the grille and flanked by two chrome whiskers. Specific exterior trim included thicker chrome spears on the sides with “1100 TV” and “Fiat Carrozzerie Speciali” badging, a taller bonnet ornament, special hubcaps, and whitewall tyres. As standard the TV was painted in a two-tone livery, with the roof and wheel rims in a contrasting colour. Inside it featured a tortoiseshell celluloid two-spoke steering wheel, two-tone cloth and vinyl upholstery, colour-coded fully carpeted floor, and until the end of 1954 reclining buckets which could optionally be fitted instead of the standard bench seat. At 1,225,000 Italian lire (1953 price) the 1100 TV was markedly more expensive than the standard Tipo A and B saloons, priced respectively 945 and 975 thousand lire. The TV was appreciated by Fiat’s more sporting clientele, who entered it in numerous races in period; its most prestigious victories include class wins at the 1954 and 1955 Mille Miglia, and an outright win at the 1954 Cape Town to Algiers trans African rally. A new 1100 body style was introduced at the 1954 Geneva Motor show, a 5-door estate named 1100 Familiare on its home market. Abroad it was alternatively known as the 1100 Family, 110 Familiale, 1100 Kombiwagen or 1100 Familiar in English-, French- German-, and Spanish-speaking markets respectively. The rear door was side-hinged, and the vinyl-covered rear bench could be folded down to form a flat loading surface, able to carry a load of 300 kg (661 lb). A third row of two forward-facing jump seats allowed to carry a fifth and sixth passenger, folding level with the boot floor when not in use. From a mechanical standpoint, aside from taller tyres, the Familiare was identical to the standard saloon. The 1100/103 TV Trasformabile, a two-seater roadster, was introduced in March 1955 at the Geneva Motor Show. As its name implied, it was based on mechanicals from the 1100 TV. Like the Turismo Veloce saloon, the American-inspired design of the Trasformabile was the work of Dipartimento Carrozzerie Derivate e Speciali, the special bodies department of Fiat, rather than of a third-party coachbuilder; it was penned by the department’s head, engineer and designer Fabio Luigi Rapi. 571 of these first series Trasformabiles were built. In 1956 it received a more powerful engine (three more horsepower) and a modified rear suspension; 450 more of these were built. From 1957 it became the 1200 Trasformabile as it was now equipped with the more powerful 55 PS “1200” engine (1221 cc). Production of this model continued until 1959, with circa 2360 of the 1.2-litre Trasformabiles built. The 1.2 also received slight changes to the front and rear design, with bigger headlights being the most noticeable difference. From 1954 to 1956 Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Pinin Farina independently built and sold a 2-door 2+2 coupé based on 1100 TV mechanicals, in a small series of about 780 examples. The design was first seen on a one-off displayed at the 1953 Paris Motor Show and entered by Umberto Agnelli at a race event held in 1954 near Turin, the Orbassano 6 hours Cup. The hand-built body was steel with aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid; starting from 1955 a panoramic rear window was used, similar to the one found on coeval Pinin Farina-bodied Ferraris. In June 1956, after three years and 257,000 cars built, the entire 1100/103 range was updated. The new series bore the type code 103 E. All models—saloon type A and B, Familiare, TV and TV Trasformabile—were continued. Compression ratios were raised to 7:1 for the standard engine and 8:1 for the Turismo Veloce’s, for a 4 PS (to 40 PS at 4,400 rpm) and 3 PS (to 53 PS at 5,200 rpm) gain in power respectively. Suspension was made softer, and the steering geometry altered. Standard saloons wore new chrome trim and a new radiator grille with vertical bars and a rectangular fog lamp in the middle, à la TV; the TV also had a similarly redesigned grille, but now had two rectangular driving lamps, one under each headlight. The TV’s contrasting paint colour was extended the body sides, from the side trim down. Inside the dashboard was new, and featured a strip speedometer, an ivory plastic steering wheel, and a lower padded fascia; new features were a glove compartment, armrests to all four redesigned door cards, two-tone seat upholstery, and a windscreen washer. Luggage space was improved by adopting a fold-down rear backrest and moving the spare tyre under the boot floor. The Trasformabile roadster was updated too to the new TV specifications; the 103 E TV Trasformabile can be identified from details like the turn signals, no more supported by chrome stems but rather attached directly to the front wings. In September 1957 the 1100 was updated again as a 1958 model, most notably with a completely redesigned rear end, and took on the new type code 103 D. It premiered at the Paris Motor Show in October, together with the new 1200 Granluce. The latter was an elegant saloon, developed from the 1100 designing a more modern bodyshell and enlarging the engine to 1.2 litres, and replaced the 1100 TV. Therefore, the 1100 range was left temporarily without an upmarket variant, and consisted of just two models: saloon and estate, both sporting contrasting colour roofs as standard. The saloon’s new tail was longer and carried tailfins. Boot space had increased, and the rear window had also been enlarged. On the other hand, the estate’s sheetmetal was unchanged; body-colour buttresses were added to fit the new tail lights to the 1954-vintage body. Almost all of the exterior trim was new, including door handles and turn signal repeaters. Exterior distinguishing features of the 1958 model were a new grille made of thin vertical bars crossed by four horizontal ones, with a Millecento (1100 spelled out in Italian) script on its centre, and “stepped” chrome spears on the sides. From a mechanical standpoint the main improvement were the uprated brakes, with self-centering brake shoes and wider drums, transversely instead of longitudinally finned. Engine output went up from 40 to 43 PS at 4,800 rpm, thanks to a larger carburettor, a new aluminium cylinder head, and a water-cooled inlet manifold with an individual duct per each cylinder. Top speed rose accordingly to 125 km/h (78 mph). In 1959 Fiat re-introduced an upmarket 1100 model, positioned between the standard saloon and the 1200 Granluce: the 1100 Lusso (type 103 H), also known as De luxe or Luxus on foreign markets. Based on the 1100 model 1958 bodyshell, the Lusso was distinguished by elaborate exterior trim. At the front for the first time on a 1100 the Fiat badge was moved from the bonnet to the centre of the grille, featuring a new square mesh radiator. The body-side chrome spear split in two to encompass a contrasting colour band (matching the roof paint) extended from the front doors to the end of the rear quarter panels, where there was a brass-plated ornament. The fuel filler cap was hidden under a lockable flap. There were new hubcaps, and the bumpers carried tall rubber-edged overriders. New interior features were a padded vinyl shelf added below the dashboard, and wind deflectors fixed to the front side windows. Thanks to a twin-choke carburettor and a higher 7.85:1 compression ratio the Lusso’s 1.1-litre engine developed 50 PS, rather than the 43 PS of the model 1958 1100. Top speed was 130 km/h (81 mph). Another change from the regular saloons was the two-piece propshaft, inherited from the TV saloons. Late in 1960 the 1958 1100/103 D and the 1110/103 H Lusso were replaced by three models, first shown at the November 1960 Turin Motor Show: the 1100 Export, the pricier 1100 Special, and the 1100 Familiare station wagon. The Special changed its name depending on the market—e.g. it was named Speciale in Italy and Spezial in Germany. The main difference between Special and Export saloons was the sheetmetal: the Export used a 103 H Lusso bodyshell, while the Special became the first 1100 with four front-hinged doors, as it adopted the more modern 1200 Granluce bodyshell. Otherwise the two saloons had nearly identical interior trim and equipment. Both had been stripped of the Granluce and Lusso’s glitzy trim and their complex paint schemes—though a contrast colour roof remained optional on the Special. Sole concessions to ornamentation were a chrome spear down the side and factory-fitted whitewall tyres, with a thicker band on the Special. Export, Special and Familiare all used the same front end, as fitted to the Lusso and the 1959 restyled Granluce; front and rear the bumpers had less bulky over-riders, without rubber inserts. The engine was the twin-carburettor type 103 H (50 PS) carried over from the outgoing Lusso, for a 130 km/h top speed. Thanks to new flexible rubber mounts it was possible to replace the two-piece propshaft with a simpler one-piece one, even with the more powerful engine. A Saxomat automatic clutch was available as on option on the Special only. At some point during the Special’s production run the tooling was modified, eliminating the decorative ridges extending from the front wheel opening to the front door, present since 1953. 1100 Export and Special remained on sale until 1962, when they were both replaced by the Fiat 1100 D. Indian production by PAL. The Fiat 1100/103 was imported to India and sold by Premier Automobiles Limited (PAL). The older model was known as the Millecento and the one with the centre light on the front grille (1100/103 E) as the Elegant. In 1958, the 1100/103 D tailfin model was introduced as the Select. It was followed by the Super Select in 1961. By 1964, the 1100 D was introduced and it was assembled in India by PAL. This model has most of the parts manufactured locally. In India it was considered a sportier alternative than the Hindustan Ambassador. Retaining the exterior changes of this model, in 1962 Fiat introduced the third generation 1100, called the 1100 D. It was a sober yet comfortable four-door sedan, very similar to the Granluce but with simpler sides and a new simpler rectangular front end. The 1100 D was a successful Italian Standard in the early sixties and along with its own Estate or Family car version and a Deluxe model that offered a higher performance of 50 PS, extra side mouldings, front bench seat with two reclining backs and carpet floor mats. These survived without any substantial alteration until 1966, when the introduction of the groundbreaking 124 model imposed a further change in styling. Power was 40 PS at the time of introduction, which was soon increased to 43 PS. The Fiat 1100 D was manufactured under licence in India by the Premier Automobiles Limited beginning in 1964. The vehicle was initially marketed as the Fiat 1100 D, as the Premier President for model year 1972, and as the Premier Padmini since 1974 until its discontinuation in 2000. By 1993, a diesel version with a 1366 cc diesel engine made in collaboration with FNM from Italy and was badged as the Premier Padmini 137D.The car manufacturing plant was closed down by 2000. The very last 1100 model, born in February 1966, was the 1100 R (“R” stood for Rinnovata). It had a longer, straighter and slimmer line, with a square back and a front-end look not very different from its bigger sister the Fiat 124. In terms of styling cues, the vestigial fins were further suppressed and the simple round rear light cluster from the Fiat 850 replaced the vertical form seen on the 1100 D. At the same time, the larger engine was withdrawn in order to avoid undue overlap with the 124. The 1100 R was offered only with the older 1,089 cc engine, now with a compression ratio of 8:1 and a claimed output of 48 bhp. This engine (with a somewhat narrower bore) had been first introduced in the 1937 508 C Balilla 1100. Clutch and gearbox were little changed, but the return of a floor mounted gear lever positioned between the front seats and connected to the gearbox with a rod linkage system was welcomed by the motoring press. The absence of synchromesh on the bottom forward speed nevertheless offered a reminder that under the surface this was becoming a somewhat aging design. Between the gearbox and the differential, the propeller shaft had now been separated into two parts with three couplings. The boot was usefully expanded, helped by a slight increase in the car’s overall length, and with more careful packaging of the spare wheel (under the floor) and the fuel tank (in the rear wing on the right). As configured for UK sales, reclining front seats were available as an optional extra for £8. The 1100 R finally gave way in 1969 to the new middle-class Fiat 128. It was also assembled by the Neckar-Automobilwerke in Heilbronn, Germany. Called the Neckar 1100 Millecento it only differed lightly in trim. Seen here were several examples.
This striking car is also Fiat 1100-based, Built in 1953, it is an 1100 TV Allemano Coupe, the first of a trio of Allemano bodied Fiat models that were produced in tiny quantities in the 1950s.
There were several of the Nuova 500, Dante Giacosa’s much loved tiny city car, present. registered for the event. Known as project 110, the brief for the Nuova 500 was to create a micro-car that would not only carry on the tradition of the earlier Topolino, but which would also take sales away from the ever popular Lambretta and Vespa scooters of the day. It clearly needed to be smaller than the 600 which had been released with a conventional 4 cylinder engine. Not an easy task, but development started in 1953 and by August 1954, two designs were ready to be shown to Fiat management. They selected one, and serious development began. At first the car was referred to as the 400, as it was going to have a 400cc engine, but it was soon realised that this was just too small, so a larger 500cc air-cooled engine was developed. It was signed off in January 1956, with production starting in March 1957 in advance of a June launch. Fiat’s marketing department got busy, with hundreds of the new car taking to the streets of Turin, each with a pretty girl standing through the open sunroof that was a feature of all the early cars. The press loved it. 50 units were shipped to Britain, where the car made its debut at Brands Hatch, and again the reception was enthusiastic. But the orders just did not come in. Fiat went for a hasty rethink, relaunching the car at the Turin Show later that year. power was increased from 13 to 15 bhp, and the poverty spec was lessened a little, with headlight bezels, brightwork on the side and chrome hubcaps, a Nuova500 badge on the engine cover, winding side windows (the launch cars just had opening quarterlights) and the option of a heater fan. It was enough to get sales moving. The original car was still offered, at a lower price, called the Economy. In the first year of production, 28,452 Fiat 500s were made. Over the next 19 years, the car changed little in overall appearance, but there were a number of updates with more power and equipment added. A 500 Sport was launched in August 1958, with a more powerful version of the 499cc engine. It lost the soft top, having a ridged steel roof, to increase strength of the body. It was only available in grey with a red side flash. The first major changes came in 1960 with the 500D. This looks very similar to the Nuova, but with two key differences. One is the engine size: the D features an uprated 499 cc engine producing 17 bhp as standard, an engine which would be used right through until the end of the L in 1973; and the other is the roof: the standard D roof does not fold back as far as the roof on the Nuova, though it was also available as the “Transformable” with the same roof as the Nuova. The D still featured “suicide doors”. There were larger rear light clusters, more space in the front boot thanks to a redesign of the fuel tank and new indicators under the headlights. A year later, Fiat added a light on the rear-view mirrors and a windscreen washer, but the car still lacked a fuel gauge. Sales increased from 20,900 in 1960 to 87.000 in 1961, 132,000 in 1962 and by 1964, the last year of production, they hit 194,000 units. The D was replaced in 1965 by the 500F, which finally moved the door hinges from back to the front, owing to changes in Italian safety laws. There was a deeper windscreen and thinner door pillars, which increased the height of the car by 10mm, improving visibility for the driver. The 500F ran through to 1975, from 1968 alongside the more luxurious 500L which was added to the range in 1968. The L is easy to tell apart, with its bumper overriders. The final updates created the 500R, which incorporated many changes from the 126 under the skin of the classic shape, and in this form production continued alongside the newer 126 until 1976. There were examples of the 500D, 500F. and 500L, and they attracted lots of attention all day – everyone, it seems, has a soft spot for them. Seen here were several of the “regular” cars as well as rare 500 Sport America which has higher headlights than featured on cars sold in the rest of the world.
The Nuova 500’s larger brother was also here, the 600. You don’t see these cars that often, as the model was deleted from the UK range in 1964 when it was replaced by the larger 850. These days the 600 is somewhat overshadowed by the smaller 500, but in its day this was probably the more significant car. Codenamed Progetto 100 (“Project 100”), the Fiat 600 mirrored the layout of the Volkswagen Beetle and Renault 4CV of its era. Aimed at being an economical but capable vehicle, its design parameters stipulated a weight of around 450 kg with the ability to carry 4 people and luggage plus a cruising speed of no less than 85 km/h. A total of 5 prototypes were built between 1952 and 1954, which all differed from one another. Chassis number 000001 with engine number 000002 is believed to be the sole remaining example. It was powered by an innovative single-cam V2-cylinder engine designed to simplify maintenance and did not feature a clutch pedal. At the official launch in 1955, FIAT engineer, Dante Giacosa declared that the aim had been to create something new, both in the interest of progress and simplification. This prototype, however, did not become the chosen design. When the car made it to production, with a launch at the 1955 Geneva Show, it was christened the 600. It had hydraulic drum brakes on all four wheels. Suspension was a unique single double-mounted leafspring—which acts as a stabiliser—between the front wheels coupled to gas-charged shock absorbers, and an independent coil-over-shock absorber setup coupled to semi-trailing arms at the rear. All 600 models had 3-synchro (no synchro on 1st) 4-speed transaxles. Unlike the Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500, the Fiat 600 was water-cooled with an ample cabin heater and, while cooling is generally adequate, for high-power modified versions a front-mounted radiator or oil cooler is needed to complement the rear-mounted radiator. All models of the 600 had generators with mechanical external regulators. The first cars had a 633 cc inline-four cylinder engine which max-ed out at 59 mph. Sales were brisk, as it was just the right size for a market still recovering from the war of the previous decade. A year after its debut, in 1956, a soft-top version was introduced, and it was followed by a six-seater variant—the Fiat 600 Multipla, the very definite precursor of current multi-purpose vehicles. By 1957, assembly started in Spain, where the car would go on to become a legend, and where you can still see large numbers of them certainly at classic car events. Production was also undertaken by Steyr Puch in Austria, and in Yugoslavia and Argentina. The millionth 600 was produced in February 1961, less than six years after the car’s launch, and at the time when the millionth car was produced, the manufacturer reported it was producing the car at the then remarkable rate of 1,000 a day. Italian production ceased in 1969, but the model continued to made in other countries, and a grand total of nearly 3 million examples were eventually made.
In 1958 Fiat shipped a number of Fiat 600s to the Italian design house Ghia for conversion into the Jolly. Featuring wicker seats and the option of a fringed top to shield its occupants from the Mediterranean sun, these cars were originally made for use on large yachts of the wealthy (Aristotle Onassis owned one). The car was designed as a luxury vehicle for wealthy Europeans and the US market. With a cost of nearly double that of a standard “600”, they were made in a very limited production. It is believed that fewer than 100 exist today, each one being unique. 32 Jolly cars were used as taxis on the island of Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles in the US from 1958 to 1962. Famous Fiat Jolly owners include Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brynner, Grace Kelly, Mary Pickford, Mae West, Gianni Agnelli, Josip Broz Tito and James Inglis. Fiat Jollys are highly sought after by collectors; however, replicas are being made and are being passed off as authentic. A genuine 1960 Fiat Jolly “600” model brought a record price of $170,500 at a collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2015.
It was nice to see several examples of the original Fiat 600 Multipla here as well. This innovative design was based on the Fiat 600’s drivetrain, had independent front suspension for a good drive and accommodated six people in a footprint just 50 centimetres (19.7 in) longer than the original Mini Cooper. The driver’s compartment was moved forward over the front axle, effectively eliminating the boot but giving the body a very minivan-like “one-box” look. Two rows of rear bench seats were reconfigurable, allowing for a large, nearly flat cargo area. Until the 1970s, the Multipla was widely used as a taxi in many parts of Italy, and one of the cars here was in the livery as used in Rome in period. These days a good Multipla will command prices in excess of the £20,000 mark.
Also here was a very rare 1959 600 Multipla Monviso. A small number of these were built, with the Monviso body revisions creating yet more space inside what was already a roomy body. It is not known whether this is the only survivor or not.
Fiat launched a new large saloon in 1959, the 1800 and 2100, with Pininfarina styling which looked very similar to the BMC quintet of Austin Cambridge and Morris Oxford and relatives, as well as the Peugeot 404. A versatile Estate model followed not long after. In 1961, the model received a face lift, with a new front end featuring twin headlights and an enlarged 2.3 litre 4 cylinder engine, creating the 2300. Joining the saloon and estate models was the stylish Coupe, designed by Ghia. It was available in two versions, the regular 115 bhp 2300 Coupé and the more potent 2300S Coupé which put out 150 bhp thanks to double twin-choke carburettors. The shape of the car was first seen in public when Ghia presented it as a prototype sports coupé at the 1960 Turin Motor Show. The production version was presented in 1961 and went on general sale in 1962. Having developed the coupé body, Ghia lacked the production capacity needed for the volumes envisaged, and were obliged to subcontract its production to OSI. The coupé body was welded to the standard floor platform of the 2300 saloon with which it shared its core components. (Despite being a new model, the 2300 saloon was in most respects a well-proven design, being a larger engined version of the Fiat 2100 that had been available since 1959. The wheelbase was identical, but the coupé had a slightly wider track at both ends than the saloon, and final drive gearing for the coupé was increased to 3.9 (3.72 for the 2300S coupé) which translated to 20.9 mph per 1,000 rpm. Inside the 2300 Coupé featured power operated windows and other luxury fittings. It was a costly car and only sold in small quantities, with production ceasing in 1968. There were examples of the 2300 Coupe as well as an 1800 Berlina model.
The first Camapgnola was launched in 1951, a utility vehicle that was a sort of Italian Land-Rover. It came with short and long wheelbases, and a choice of a fixed, steel or canvas roof. A redesigned model was launched in June 1974 and in this form was produced until 1987. The new vehicle used the petrol engine of the Fiat 132, but with a longer stroke which increased the capacity to 1,995 cc. – the same enlarged engine turned up in the Fiat 132 itself two years later, albeit with twin overhead camshafts. There was a light alloy cylinder head: instead of the twin overhead camshafts of the 132, the engine in the Campagnola had a single side-mounted camshaft driven by a toothed belt, the valve movement being driven by pushrods and rockers. The large square engine compartment gave easy access to the engine bay which was designed to permit “wading” up to 70 cm deep. The 57 litre fuel tank was positioned well out of range from rocks and flying stones, being under the twin passenger seat beside the driver. MacPherson struts suspended all four wheels, with two struts for each of the rear wheels and a single strut for each of the front wheels. All six struts used were of identical specification and thereby interchangeable. Road testers from the UK commended the smoothness of the ride over rough ground which evidently compared very favourably with that offered by the Land Rover of the time. A military version was introduced in 1976 (AR76) and 1979 after new updated it was called AR76.
Following the success of the 500 and 600 models, Fiat introduced a slightly larger and more expensive variant, the 850 in 1964. The regular 2 door saloon was soon joined in the range by other models and they are the ones you see more often these days, not that they are exactly common now. The 850 Coupe, early and later versions of which were to be seen here was seen for the first time at the 1965 Geneva Show. As was generally the case at the time, the body looked completely different from the saloon on which it was based, but underneath it shared the same mechanicals including the the original 843 cc engine producing 47 hp, which gave it a maximum speed of 84 mph. A Spider model was launched at the same time. In order to separate the sportier variants, equipment levels were raised, with both models getting sport seats, a sport steering wheel and round speedometer; The Spider even received a completely rearranged instrument panel. The front drum brakes were replaced with disc brakes, although drum brakes remained on the rear wheels. In 1968, Fiat revised both the Spider and Coupé and gave them a stronger engine with 903 cc and 52 hp. They were called Sport Spider and Sport Coupé. The Sport Spider body stayed essentially the same, but with a restyled front, whereas the Coupe gained twin headlights at the front and a revised tail with a slight lip on the trailing edge of the engine cover. Despite its popularity, the Coupe was the first model to cease production, being deleted in 1971. Seen here was an early 850 Spider.
Among my favourite cars of all time are the Fiat Dino Coupe and Spider and I was pleased to see several examples of both here. They came about because of Enzo Ferrari’s need to homologate a V6 engine for Formula 2 racing cars. In 1965 the Commission Sportive Internationale de la FIA had drawn up new rules, to be enacted for the 1967 season. F2 engines were required to have no more than six cylinders, and to be derived from a production engine, from a road car homologated in the GT class and produced in at least 500 examples within 12 months. Since a small manufacturer like Ferrari did not possess the production capacity to reach such quotas, an agreement was signed with Fiat and made public on 1 March 1965: Fiat would produce the 500 engines needed for the homologation, to be installed in a yet unspecified GT car. The Fiat Dino was introduced as a 2-seater Spider at the Turin Motor Show in October 1966; a 2+2 Coupé version, built on a 270 mm (10.6 in) longer wheelbase, bowed a few months later at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1967. The two bodies showed very different lines, as they had been designed and were manufactured for Fiat by two different coachbuilders: the Spider by Pininfarina, and the Coupé by Bertone—where it had been sketched out by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Curiously the Spider type approval identified it as a 2+1 seater. The Spider had poorer interior trim than the Coupé, below par for its class: the dashboard was covered in vinyl, the metal-spoke steering wheel had a plastic rim, and the interior switchgear was derived from cheaper Fiat models. After a few months this issue was addressed, and Spiders produced after February 1967 had a wood-rimmed steering wheel as well as a wood trim on the dashboard like the sister Coupé car had since the beginning. Option lists for both models were limited to radio, metallic paint, leather upholstery, and for the Spider a vinyl-covered hardtop with roll-bar style stainless steel trim. The car was offered with an all-aluminium DOHC 2.0 litre V6, coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. The same 2.0-litre engine was used in mid-engined, Ferrari-built Dino 206 GT, which was introduced in pre-production form at the 1967 Turin Motor Show and went on sale in 1968. Fiat quoted 160 PS (158 hp) for the Fiat Dino, while in 1967 Ferrari—presenting the first prototype of the Dino 206 GT—claimed 180 hp despite both engines were made by Fiat workers in Turin on the same production line, without any discrimination as to their destination. Jean-Pierre Gabriel in “Les Ferraris de Turin” notes that, “La declaration de Ferrari ne reposait sur aucun fondament technique”—Ferrari’s statement had no technical basis. The real reason for this difference was a mistake in between quotes made in SAE and BHP power output. In 1969, both Ferrari and Fiat introduced new 2.4-litre Dino models. The Fiat Dino 2400 premiered in October 1969 at the Turin Motor show; besides the larger engine, another notable improvements was independent rear suspension. The V6 now put out 180 PS, and used a cast iron instead of the previous light alloy engine block; the same engine was installed on the Dino 246 GT, Ferrari’s evolution of the 206. Whereas the original Dino was equipped with a rigid axle suspended by leaf springs and 4 shock absorbers, 2.4-litre cars used a coil-sprung independent rear suspension with 2 shock absorbers derived from the Fiat 130. Rather than engine power and absolute speed, the most important consequence of the larger displacement was a marked increase in torque, available at lower engine speeds; the Dino 2400 had much better pickup, and it was found more usable, even in city traffic. Other modifications went on to improve the car’s drivability and safety: larger diameter clutch, new dogleg ZF gearbox with revised gear ratios, wider section 205/70VR -14 tyres, and up-sized brake discs and callipers. Cosmetic changes were comparatively minor. Both models were now badged “Dino 2400”. On the coupé the previous silver honeycomb grille with the round Fiat logo on its centre had been replaced by a new black grille and a bonnet badge. A host of details were changed from chrome to matte black, namely part of the wheels, the vents on the front wings and the cabin ventilation outlets—the latter moved from next the side windows to the rear window. At the rear there were different tail lights. The spider also sported a new grille with two horizontal chrome bars, 5-bolts instead of knock-off wheels, as well as a new bumpers with rubber strips. Inside only the coupé received an entirely redesigned dashboard and new cloth seats, with optional leather seat upholstery; front seat headrests were standard on the coupé and optional on the spider. Spider and coupé bodies were produced respectively by Pininfarina and Bertone. 2.0-litre and early 2.4-litre cars were assembled by Fiat in Rivalta di Torino. Starting from December 1969 the Fiat Dino was assembled in Maranello on Ferrari’s production line, alongside the 246 GT. Between 1966 and 1969 there were 3,670 2.0-litre coupés and 1,163 2.0-litre spiders made; with only 420 built, the 2400 Spider is the rarest of the Fiat’s Dinos. Of the total 7,803 Fiat Dino produced, 74% were the popular coupés and only 26% were spiders. Spiders are worth big money now – good ones are over £100k – which means that the car is way beyond my means, but every time I see one, I go weak at the knees. To my eyes, it is one of the best looking cars ever made.
Following its introduction in 1966 with a publicity stunt, with Fiat filming the dropping of the car by parachute from a plane, the 124 won the 1967 European Car of the Year. As a clean-sheet design by Oscar Montabone, the chief engineer responsible for its development, the 124 used only the all-synchromesh gear box from the Fiat 1500. The 124 featured a spacious interior, advanced coil spring rear suspension, disc brakes on all wheels and lightweight construction. A 5-door station wagon variant (named 124 Familiare on its home market) as well as the 124 Sport Spider variants debuted at the 48th Turin Motor show in November 1966. A few months later, at the March 1967 Geneva Motor Show, the 124 Sport Coupé completed the range.
The Fiat 124 Sport Spider was designed by Pininfarina and styled in-house by Tom Tjaarda. The 124 Sport Spider, 124 Sport Coupé and 124 sedan share much of their running gear – and, in the case of the coupé, platforms. The Sports Spider uses a shorter platform along with a shorter wheelbase, and in contrast to the Pininfarina styled and manufactured spider, Fiat designed and manufactured the coupé in-house. The succession of build series of the 124 were designated internally as AS, BS, BS1, CS and CSA. AS models had a torque tube transmitting power to the rear wheels; this crack-prone design was replaced by a trailing-arm rear axle with the second series (BS) during 1969 — which was manufactured alongside the AS for the first six months of 1970. The early AS cars also have smaller taillights, while the BS receives a mesh grille and black-rimmed gauges inside. In July 1970 the 1.6-liter BS1 appeared; this model is recognizable by its twin humps on the bonnet and bumper overriders. The CS series Spider arrived during 1972. Also in 1972, a sports version of the Spider debuted, required for type-approval of its rally version, and was marketed as 124 CSA (C-Spider-Abarth). The vehicle has a capacity of 128 hp. In three years, Fiat manufactured less than 1000 CSA models, which were intended for sale to individual clients. The car was manufactured by Fiat (with a Pininfarina body) in Turin until October 1981, when Pininfarina took over manufacture in their San Giorgio Canavese plant. Serial numbers started over from zero, while the eleventh digit in the Vehicle Identification Number was switched from an 8 to a 5. The Fiat Spider 2000 ended manufacture in July 1982, and after the Italian summer holidays production of Pininfarina-badged cars commenced in its place.
The up-market brother to the 124, the Fiat 125 was introduced in 1967 and produced by them until 1972, though derivatives were built under license outside Italy until the 1990s, and these are perhaps better known these days. As launched the car was unusual in blending saloon car passenger accommodation with sports car performance, a combination which would be more widely adopted by the European volume auto-makers in the decade ahead. The floor pan was virtually unchanged from that of the longer variant of the outgoing model, the Fiat 1300/1500, and the chassis used was the same as the Fiat 1300/1500. The body was a slightly lengthened development of the Fiat 124: both models shared the same passenger compartment and doors, but the 125’s rear seat was set slightly further back, reflecting the 2505 mm wheel-base, inherited from the Fiat 1500 and over 8 cm (3 inches) longer than that of the 124. The 125’s engine was based on the one fitted in the Fiat 124 Sport: a 1608 cc DOHC unit with 90 bhp driving the rear wheels. The 125 was equipped with a Solex carburettor. The car was fitted with an alternator, reflecting the twin headlights and the increasing number of energy intensive electrical components appearing on cars at this time. Other noteworthy features included the electromagnetic cooling fan clutch. In 1968 the 125 Special was added to the range, with 100 bhp (from a modified cylinder head, camshafts, inlet/outlet manifold and Weber/Solex carburettor) and, unusually at this time, a five-speed gearbox. It also had one of the worlds first intermittent wipers, halogen lights, servo-assisted twin circuit brakes and optional superlight magnesium wheels. A variety of other improvements were made including improved cabin ventilation, trim and styling. The Special was facelifted in 1971 using pretty much the same trim as the 125S, but both front and rear lights were new and wider, enhancing the visual width of the car. The interior gained upgraded upholstery of the seats and a wood facia. A three-speed automatic transmission as well as air conditioning became available as an option. A variant, the 125 T, was made by the Fiat importers in New Zealand, Torino Motors, for the annual 6 hour production car race, the Benson and Hedges 500. The 125T has larger valves, two twin Weber DCOH or Dell’Orto 40DHLA carburettors (depending on availability), modified camshafts and a higher compression ratio to produce around 125 bhp, lowered and stiffer suspension. All featured Ward alloy wheels and were painted bright yellow. Sources for production figures quote that between 84 and 89 were modified. Reasons for stopping production are sometimes given that Fiat headquarters found out and stopped this venture. However a more likely scenario is that selling the required 200 cars in a market that only sold 1,000 Fiats in total each year was a tall order. Other versions were built by Moretti, who made the 125GS 1.6 with styling similar to the Fiat Dino Spider. Zagato made the 125Z; Savio, a 125 Coupé and 125 Station Wagon; Bertone, a 125 Executive; and Vignale produced the Samantha, a two-door coupé with pop-up headlights, designed by Virginio Vairo. Production by Fiat in Italy ceased in 1972 when the Fiat 132 was introduced, a total of 603,877 cars having been built.
You might not guess it from looking at them, but these Fiats, the 850 Familiare and the later 900T were based on the small 850 saloon. There were quite a few of these, and other derivatives of the 850T and 900T bodyshell on our roads throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but like almost everything else of that era, suddenly they all disappeared and there are very few of them left now, and certainly not as nice as this pair. The model is part of the 850 family that first appeared in 1964, with this overall shape first offered as the 850 Familiare, a boxier and slightly larger heir to the Fiat 600 Multipla. It featured space for seven passengers in three rows, which made it suitable for groups including children and thin adults. It was too small to accommodate in comfort seven large adults. In Van guise, it was known as the 850T. The 850 Familiare and related 850T continued in production till 1976 long after the saloon version of the 850 had been replaced by the Fiat 127. In 1976 the Fiat 900T was introduced, retaining most of the body panels of the 850 Familiare, but featuring the 903 cc engine from the Fiat 127 (although, in this application, still mounted behind the rear axle). The 900T benefitted from significant enhancements in 1980, at which point it was renamed the 900E. A number of them were sold as camper vans, and in the UK, these were badged as the FIAT Amigo, and the 7 seater model was called the Pandora. Production finally ended in 1985. Among them was a rare hearse-bodied 850T dating from 1970.
Also here was a larger van-based product, the 238, which was introduced in 1967 as the logical successor for the Fiat 1100T. The 238 was based on the chassis of the Autobianchi Primula and had a downtuned version of the Fiat 124’s engine. The 238 was produced in many different body styles for utility and personnel transport. In 1974 Fiat introduced a new van, the 242 with a larger petrol engine and also a diesel engine variant. Despite that the sales of Fiat 238 did not weaken and Fiat decided to keep it in its lineup, and made the new bigger 1.4-litre engine also available to the 238 model. The 238 was produced until 1983 and was replaced with the Ducato.
Built by Bertone was this unusual vehicle, the 1975 Fiat Alto Monovolume. Reliable production figures are hard to come by, but Bertone purportedly intended to build a handful of these vans in order to shuttle VIPs around the Fiat empire’s numerous and sprawling factory complexes. It seats six in an extremely airy cabin with huge panes of glass on all sides (as well as the roof), chocolate brown leather upholstery and dual air conditioning, while a rear-mounted Fiat 850 engine propels the vehicle at what I’d assume is a leisurely pace–accordingly. The van sports a simple, slab-sided body resembling a monorail car of the era. Features include three doors on each side, a tall greenhouse with expansive windscreens front and rear, and a glass-paneled roof for maximum visibility. Detailing is deceptively sophisticated and build quality looks quite good. While considerably larger than a 600 Multipla, the Monovolume carries an equal number of passengers (6), and the engine is mounted low behind the last row of seats.
Looking very different to the 130 Berlina which had launched in 1969, the 130 Coupé appeared in 1971 at Geneva Show exhibiting a completely new 2-door body and a completely new interior, both the exterior and interior of which were the work of Paolo Martin at Pininfarina. The car won a design prize, attributed to Pininfarina, and this helped Pininfarina begin a new life after all those years relying on the “Fiat 1800/Peugeot 404/Austin A60” concepts. Pininfarina extended the Fiat 130 Coupé line with two proposals that were rejected by Fiat: the Maremma in 1974 (2-door shooting brake) and the Opera in 1975 (4-door saloon). Paolo Martin never got involved in these Fiat 130 Coupé variations, as he left the company soon after the design prize in 1971. The car was mechanically the same as the 130 Saloon, which meant it had a 165 bhp 3.2 litre V6 unit and a standard Borg Warner 3 speed automatic gearbox with the option of a 5 speed ZF manual. The interior was particularly luxurious by the standards of the day (and other Fiats). It was costly, though, and sales were modes, with 347 being sold in the first year. This ramped up to 1746 in 1972, but then fell steadily every year, reaching 4,491 when production ceased in 1977.
It was good to see examples of the Fiat 128 here. Named European Car of the Year in 1970, over three million were manufactured, but few are left.. Introduced in 1969, it was built in an entirely new plant in Rivalta, north-west of Turin, specifically to manufacture the car. With engineering by Dante Giacosa and engine design by Aurelio Lampredi, the 128 was noted for its relatively roomy passenger and cargo volume — enabled by a breakthrough innovation to the front-engine, front-drive layout which became the layout “adopted by virtually every other manufacturer in the world”. Front-wheel drive had previously been introduced to small, inexpensive cars with the British Mini. As engineered by Alec Issigonis, the compact arrangement located the transmission and engine sharing a single oil sump — despite disparate lubricating requirements — and had the engine’s radiator mounted to the side of the engine, away from the flow of fresh air and drawing heated rather than cool air over the engine. The layout often required the engine be removed to service the clutch. As engineered by Dante Giacosa, the 128 featured a transverse-mounted engine with unequal length drive shafts and an innovative clutch release mechanism. The layout enabled the engine and gearbox to be located side by side without sharing lubricating fluid while orienting an electrically controlled cooling fan toward fresh air flow. Fiat tested this then new engineering for a full five years in the Autobianchi Primula, Fiat’s less market-critical subsidiary, Autobianchi which allowed them to sufficiently resolve the layout’s disadvantages, including uneven side-to-side power transmission, uneven tyre wear and potential torque steer, the tendency for the power of the engine alone to steer the car under heavy acceleration. The compact and efficient layout — a transversely-mounted engine with transmission mounted beside the engine driving the front wheels through an offset final-drive and unequal-length driveshafts — subsequently became common with competitors and arguably an industry standard. The 128 used an all new 1.1 litre Fiat SOHC engine, engineered by noted engine designer Aurelio Lampredi, featuring an iron block mated to an aluminium head along with a belt-driven single overhead camshaft producing 49 hp. The 128 was styled similarly to the 124 and 125 and featured rack-and-pinion steering, front disc brakes, independent rear suspension with a transverse leaf spring, and a strut-type front suspension with integral anti-roll bar. Initially, the 128 was available as a two-door or four-door sedan. At the 1970 Turin Motor Show a three-door station wagon model called “Familiare” was added to the line-up. The car was only available with a 1116 cc engine on launch, though the two-door-only 128 Rally edition launched in 1971 used a 1,290 cc unit. Also in 1971, the Sport Coupé, an all-new coupé body on a shortened 128 platform, was unveiled at the Turin Show. On launch it was available with both existing 128 engines. The 128 range underwent a facelift in 1972, featuring a revised grille. 1974 saw the launch of the 128 Special, which used the Rally engine in a four-door sedan body. In 1975 the 128 3P (3-door) Berlinetta replaced the Sport Coupé. In 1976, the range received new bumpers, rectangular headlights, tail lights and dashboard as well as modifications to the engines. At this time, the wagon was also renamed the “Panorama”. Production of all 128s except that of the base 1,100 cc powered model ended in 1979 after the introduction of the Fiat Ritmo/Strada in 1978. In 1980 production of the small three-door station wagon Panorama was dropped from the range and 128 production finally ended in 1985.
The X1/9 followed a 1969 show concept car called the Autobianchi Runabout, with styling by Bertone under chief designer Marcello Gandini, which was on show here. The Runabout was powered by the same engine as the Autobianchi A112. Designed around the all-new 128 SOHC engine and with the gearbox (transmission) from the front wheel drive Fiat 128, the X1/9 relocated the transverse drive train and suspension assembly from the front of the 128 to the rear of the passenger cabin, directly in front of the rear axle, giving a mid-engined layout. The layout also located the fuel tank and spare wheel side by side ahead of the engine, directly behind the seats — optimising the proportion of the car’s weight falling within its wheelbase for more effective handling and also enabling cargo areas front and rear. Unlike Fiat’s marketing nomenclature at the time which used a numerical system (e.g., 127, 128, 124, 131) denoting relative position in the model range, the X1/9 retained its prototype code as its marketing name. Fiat’s prototype coding used X0 for engines, X1 for passenger vehicles and X2 for commercial vehicles. The X1/9 was thus the ninth passenger car developed using the nomenclature. The prototype car featured a distinctive wedge shape and took many styling cues from contemporary power-boat design. Though the more extreme features of the Runabout such as the C pillar mounted headlights and the small wind-deflector windscreen were lost for the production car, many aesthetic features of the Autobianchi Runabout are readily identifiable on the X1/9. The long flat bonnet with central indentation, the large front overhang, the wedge shape with prominent C pillar roll-over hoop and the car-length indented plimsoll-line all made the successful transition to the X1/9, giving it a highly distinctive appearance. Once developed for production, the two-seater featured sharp-edged styling with a wedge shape, pop-up headlights and a removable hard top roof panel (targa top). The removable hardtop stores in the front luggage compartment, below the front hood, only slightly reducing the space available for cargo. An aftermarket company offered a top made of lightweight clear-smoked polycarbonate. The car was developed for release for European sales in 1972 to replace the 850 spider by Bertone. It was not intended as a replacement for the 124 Sport spider and production of the 124 spider and X1/9 continued in parallel for much of the X1/9’s life. The car’s monocoque body was produced at the Bertone factory in Torino and then transported to the Fiat’s Lingotto factory for final assembly. In 1982, shortly after the introduction of the 1500 model, complete production was assumed by Bertone with models subsequently badged as the “Bertone” X1/9. Bertone models featured revised footwells redesigned to enhance legroom and sitting comfort for persons taller than the original design’s target. The first models featured a 75 bhp 1290 cc single overhead cam engine with an aluminium head. In 1978 the more powerful 85bhp 1500cc unit found its way into the engine bay which necessitated a raised engine cover to provide the clearance. Larger bumpers were fitted at this time. Fiat made few other changes for many years, as if they lost interest in the car. The last production models were named the Gran Finale and sold over the 1989/1990 period. They were a dealer modification of the special edition (commonly abbreviated to SE) of 1988/1989, with the addition of a rear spoiler and “gran finale” badges.
You don’t often see examples of the once very popular 127 range here, so this 127 Sport was a pleasant surprise. Developed towards the end of the 1960s, the Fiat 127 was launched as a two-door saloon in April 1971. A three-door hatchback, using an identical body profile but with a full-depth rear door and folding rear seat, was launched the following year; this would prove to be the most popular version of the 127. This was Fiat’s first supermini-sized hatchback, along with a state-of-the-art transverse-engine/front-wheel-drive layout, with the transmission mounted on the end of the engine, both design ideas had been fully trialled since 1964, by Fiat’s Autobianchi subsidiary with the Autobianchi Primula and 1969 Autobianchi A112 and A111 – although these models were not as widely exported as the 127 was. The larger Fiat 128, launched in 1969, was the first Fiat badged car to use the same transverse powertrain layout. The 127 used, as the A112, a shrunken version of the 128 platform and the rugged Fiat OHV 100 series 903 cc engine, that had powered the Autobianchi and, with various cylinder capacities, earlier generations of Fiat cars. The 127 also featured a unique transverse leaf spring suspension at the rear. Safety was another area of innovation – the 127 included an articulated steering column and crumple zones for progressive deformation under impact. The car was one of the first of the modern superminis, and won praise for its utilisation of space (80 percent of the floor space was available for passengers and luggage) as well as its road-holding. It was launched a year before the comparable Renault 5, and before the end of the 1970s most mass market European manufacturers were producing similar cars, notable examples being the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, while General Motors added a three-door hatchback to the Opel Kadett range, which was reworked for British production and sold as the Vauxhall Chevette. The 127 was also one of the more popular imported cars on the UK market, peaking at more than 20,000 sales in 1978. It was also the first car fitted with an all-polypropylene bumper on steel support. The 127 was an instant success, winning the European Car of the Year award for 1972, and quickly became one of the best-selling cars in Europe for several years. It was the third Fiat in six years to receive this accolade. In June 1974, slightly over three years after the model’s introduction, Fiat reported that the one millionth 127 had been completed at the Mirafiori plant in Turin, after just over three years in production. The (in its time) hugely successful Fiat 600 had taken seven years to reach that same milestone. The Series 1 car changed little during its lifetime. However, in May 1973 saloons became available in both standard and deluxe versions. In 1975 the 127 Special variant was released which featured a restyled front grille and detail changes to the interior. The deluxe version was differentiated by its reclining front seats and opening hinged rear side windows as standard equipment. During the next couple of years the Fiat 850, which had initially been marketed alongside the 127, was withdrawn from most markets. The Series 2 version of the 127 debuted in May 1977. It featured a restyled front and rear, a new dashboard (although almost identical in layout to that of the Series 1), larger rear side windows (using rear quarter pressings derived from those used on the Brazil market Fiat 147) and the option of the 1049 cc engine – uniquely for the 127 this was the five-bearing OHC “Brazil” 124 series engine from the 147 rather than the Fiat OHC unit from the 128. The tailgate was extended and now reached nearly to the rear bumper, addressing complaints about the high lip over which luggage had to be lifted for loading into the earlier 127 hatchbacks. A short-lived Series 3 came early in 1982, but when the Uno followed it just a year later, the car was deleted from most European markets.
The 132 was introduced as a replacement for the Fiat 125 and like it, came with twin overhead cam (TC) engines as standard. However, the Fiat 132 looked more like the larger top-of-the-range Fiat 130. Like the 125, the 132 came with a five speed gear box, optional in some markets and standard in others: this was still a relatively unusual feature in this class of car in 1977. GM “Strasbourg” automatic transmission was listed as an option. A major update to the front suspension was implemented for January 1974 in response to criticism of the handling and very low geared steering. Press reports of the time commend the improved handling which was also supported by the fitting of wider tires, although poor fuel consumption at high speed continued to draw adverse comment, even where the (unusual for the time) five speed transmission option was specified. In the same year an external redesign gave the impression of a lowered waistline resulting from larger side windows. It included a reshaped C-pillar which had a semblance of BMW’s “Hofmeister kink” and reminded some of the recently introduced BMW 5 Series. For the driver, new shock absorbers accompanied the suspension improvements. The 1600 cc engine remained unchanged but the 1800 cc engine benefitted from a modified cylinder head and carburettor resulting in a small increase in claimed output to 107 bhp, along with a usefully flattened torque curve.Interior improvements included a redesigned steering wheel along with improved heating and ventilation controls. In April 1977, the 132 received a further facelift. New plastic “safety” bumpers were introduced to the model, and the gearing of the steering was raised, supported by the addition of servo-assistance. Inside were a new dashboard and seat trims. At this point, with the 130 having been discontinued, the 132 became the “flagship” of the Fiat range. It was replaced by a heavily-modified version called the Argenta in 1981.
The successor to the 500 was the 126, which arrived in the autumn of 1972. Initially it was produced alongside the 500, which stayed in production until 1976. The 126 used much of the same mechanical underpinnings and layout as its Fiat 500 rear-engined predecessor with which it shared its wheelbase, but featured an all new bodyshell resembling a scaled-down Fiat 127, also enhancing safety. Engine capacity was increased from 594 cc to 652 cc at the end of 1977 when the cylinder bore was increased from 73.5 to 77 mm. Claimed power output was unchanged at 23 PS, but torque was increased from 39 N·m (29 lb/ft) to 43 Nm (32 lb/ft). A slightly less basic DeVille version arrived at the same time, identified by its large black plastic bumpers and side rubbing strips. A subsequent increase in engine size to 704 cc occurred with the introduction of the 126 Bis in 1987. This had 26 PS, and a water cooled engine, as well as a rear hatchback. Initially the car was produced in Italy in the plants of Cassino and Termini Imerese, with 1,352,912 of the cars made in Italy, but from 1979, production was concentrated solely in Poland, where the car had been manufactured by FSM since 1973 as the Polski Fiat 126p. Even after the introduction of the 126 Bis the original model continued to be produced for the Polish market. The car was also produced under licence by Zastava in Yugoslavia. Western European sales ceased in 1991, ready for the launch of the Cinquecento, but the car continued to be made for the Polish market. In 1994, the 126p received another facelift, and some parts from the Fiat Cinquecento, this version was named 126 EL. The 126 ELX introduced a catalytic converter. Despite clever marketing, the 126 never achieved the popularity of the 500, with the total number produced being: 1,352,912 in Italy, 3,318,674 in Poland, 2,069 in Austria, and an unknown number in Yugoslavia.
This concept for a city car was produced in 1976 by Michelotto, and was based on the Fiat 126. It was the first city car with sliding doors. A four seater one box car, it was 26 cm shorter than the Fiat 126 on which it was based. Intended for use in urban areas, the sliding doors were practical and it had flexible bumpers,and its compact dimensions, – a 66-inch wheelbase, a 110-inch length, and a 54-inch width – would have been very useful. The doors slid along rails which continued onto the doors themselves as a decorative stripe. It did not proceed to production.
Fiat started work on the Ritmo in 1972, at a time when the hatchback bodystyle for small family cars was still relatively uncommon in Europe, although Fiat had utilised it for its 127 supermini. In the intervening years, however, rival European manufacturers began launching small family hatchbacks, the most notable being the Volkswagen Golf in 1974. Prior to its launch, the press speculated that the project codename 138 would be the final production name, however, Fiat resolved to follow the precedent set by the Fiat Mirafiori by giving its new car the Ritmo name, rather than another three digit number. Technologically, the biggest innovation of the Ritmo was not the car itself (since it was mechanically based on its predecessor, the Fiat 128) but the way in which it was manufactured at the Cassino plant. Fiat, in conjunction with its subsidiary Comau, developed the pioneering “Robogate” system which automated the entire bodyshell assembly and welding process using robots, earning the car the advertising slogan “Handbuilt by robots”, immortalised in a memorable television advertising campaign showing the robots assembling the Ritmo bodyshells to the strains of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. The avant-garde nature of its exterior design is highlighted by large plastic bumper bars integrated into the styling (a trend that became an industry standard, thanks to this plastic’s ability to absorb small impacts without damage, unlike the then more prevalent metal bumper bars), the manner in which these intersected the front round headlights and incorporated the rear taillights plus licence plates, and how round shapes (such as the headlights, door handles and the rear edge of the roof ending in an upward sweep) were combined within overall sharp lines (e.g. from those of the sloping rear hatch and slanted rear window corners to the badges and shape of the side indicators and rear view mirrors). Its aerodynamic design resulted in an excellent — for its era — drag coefficient of Cd=0.38, The initial 4-cylinder engine range included 1.1-Litre 60 PS 1.3-litre 65 PS and 1.5-litre 75 PS petrol engines, which were reasonably refined and economical. Suspension was independent all-round, the braking system comprised front discs and rear drums and the wheels measured 13-inch in diameter. Gearboxes ranged from a standard 4-speed manual (5-speed optional on CL models) and an optional 3-speed Volkswagen-derived automatic. The Ritmo finished second in the European Car of the Year awards, finishing narrowly behind the winning car, the Simca-Chrysler Horizon – which was similar in concept. The CL range was the better-equipped model (with the 60 CL comprising 80% of total initial sales in Italy) and the whole range also distinguished itself by having numerous optional accessories unseen in past Fiat cars. These included: larger tyres; a rev counter; stereo system; safety seatbelts and headrests; passenger-side rear view mirror; split-fold rear seat; tinted windows; rear window wiper; heated rear window; metallic paint; sunroof . The instrumentation was incorporated in a rectangular pod with modular slots that could house various gauges and switches, either standard depending on the model or optional (e.g. digital clock and switches for hazard lights or adjustable-speed ventilation fan). Whilst well received in the key Italian and German markets, the first series of the Ritmo was criticised for its basic interior trim (e.g. no fabric on door panels) and other assembly shortfalls. As a consequence, Fiat quickly responded in 1979 with various revisions and the introduction of the Targa Oro (“Gold plate”) range. The latter was based on the Ritmo 65 (or 75 for export markets) and was distinguished by, among other things: a mink paint (or black for the 3-door version), gold striping plus accents in the alloy wheels, foglights, dark bumper bars and velour trim interiors. That same year, the 65 CL range could also be had with a VW-derived automatic transmission, and a 1,049 cc petrol engine built by Fiat of Brazil that had the same power and torque figures as those of the 128-derived 1.1-litre engine, was also introduced to power the “60 L” models available in some markets. At the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, a 5-door only diesel version — marketed as the Ritmo D and available in both L and CL trim — was introduced with a 1,714 cc 55PS engine.To accommodate this considerably heavier engine, the steering rack was slowed down (from 3.5 to 4 turns) and the suspension adjusted. Nonetheless, a 65.5% forward weight distribution was hard to mask and both handling and braking suffered when compared to petrol-powered Ritmos. In 1981, the Targa Oro and 75 models were replaced by the 5-door only Ritmo Super (or Superstrada in some export markets). They brought higher specification and fittings (from chrome trimmings to a more complete instrumentation and optional central locking), larger 14-inch wheels and, most significantly, revised engines with 75 PS (1300) and 85 PS (1500). This extra power was gained through slight alterations to the camshaft profile, a twin carburettor, and a twin exhaust system. Other differences included lower profile tyres (Pirelli P8) and a close-ratio 5-speed manual gearbox. The steering was also somewhat faster. By this time, the Ritmo range in Italy also included 3- and 5-door manual versions of the 75 CL and 3-door 75 CL Automatica, with the price of the popular 60CL now ranging from ₤6,868,000 to 7,180,000 for the 3- and 5-door versions, respectively. In May 1981, the first sports version, the Ritmo 105 TC, was launched. Available only as a 3-door, it was powered by a 105 PS Fiat DOHC engine with a displacement of 1,585 cc, which was derived from that used in the 131 and 132 models. This car had the same 14-inch wheels as the Ritmo Super, but with black centre hubcaps. British and Irish models had black and silver Speedline alloy wheels (5.5 x 14) as standard. Other distinguishing features relative to the normal range included: front fog lights integrated into the front bumper; integrated front spoiler combined with wheel arch extensions; black lower door paint; black mesh air intake; rear spoiler at the base of the rear window. Series 2 cars would be introduced in 1982, with more conventional frontal styling. In 1983, Fiat completed the range with the Ritmo ES (“energy saving”) models and the hot hatch, Ritmo Abarth 130 TC. The latter was based on the 125 TC (which had not been sold in the UK) but was powered by a 1,995 cc engine with power output increased to 130 PS. This was achieved by replacing the single Weber carb used in the 125 TC with twin Solex/Weber carburettors on a side-draught manifold, and via improved cam profiles. The 130 TC had a top speed of 195 km/h (121 mph) and accelerated from 0 to100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.8 seconds. It was fitted with Recaro bucket seats in Britain and it remained the only 1980s European hot hatch to continue utilise carburettors instead of fuel injection. Ignition timing was controlled electronically. Although appearing outwardly similar to the restyled 105 TC with its lower door and wheelarch trims, the 130 TC could be distinguished by its polished four-spoke alloy wheels (continued from the earlier 125 TC), aerodynamic perspex front door wind deflectors, and lower hatchback spoiler. The powerful twin-cam was mated to a close ratio five-speed ZF manual gearbox and had superior performance to its contemporary rivals, which included the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Escort XR3i, Vauxhall Astra GTE and the MG Maestro. In its day, it was faster than all of them, but it found relatively few buyers.
Slightly surprisingly, there was only one example of the popular Fiat Uno thaht I spotted here, a Turbo model. Fiat launched the Uno, the Tipo 146, in January 1983, just one day before the equally iconic Peugeot 205, to replace the elderly Fiat 127. Both were huge sellers, and deservedly so too, but it was the Fiat that sold in greater quantity, with over 8 million examples produced. It was Italy’s best selling car, and by some margin, throughout its 10 year production life, though you might find that hard to believe now, as they were are not a common sight even in Italy. The 127 had revolutionised the supermini market on its launch more than 10 years earlier, and the Uno followed the same format, but brought uptodate. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign company, its tall, square body utilising a Kamm tail achieved a low drag coefficient of 0.34 won it much praise for interior space and fuel economy as well as its excellent ride and handling, and was widely regarded as the most innovative small car in Europe at the time of its launch. It incorporated many packaging lessons learnt from Giugiaro’s 1978 Lancia Megagamma concept car (the first modern people carrier / MPV / mini-van) but miniaturised. Its tall car / high seating packaging is imitated by every small car today. It reversed the trend for lower and lower built cars. It showed that not just low sleek cars could be aerodynamic, but small, roomy, boxy well packaged cars could be too. There was a lot of activity in the supermini class in 1983, as the Uno hit the UK market a couple of months before the Peugeot 205 – another small European car which became the benchmark for this market sector, enjoying a long production life and strong sales, and just after General Motors launched its new Opel Corsa/Vauxhall Nova. Within a few months of its launch it had gained two new major competitors in the shape of the restyled Ford Fiesta and Nissan’s new Micra. UK sales began in June 1983, and more than 20,000 were sold in its first full year and peaking at more than 40,000 sales in 1988, making it one of the UK’s most popular imported cars during the 1980s. In December 1983, it was European Car of the Year for 1984, finishing narrowly ahead of the Peugeot 205. Initially, the Uno was offered with the 0.9 litre (903 cc) 100-series OHV, 1.1 litre (1116 cc) and 1.3 litre (1301 cc) 128-series SOHC petrol engines and transmissions carried over from the 127. The Uno’s badging was not by the commonly used measurement of engine size but by metric horsepower: 45, 55, 60, 70, or 75. The Uno was available as either a three- or five-door hatchback. It also featured ergonomic “pod” switchgear clusters each side of the main instrument binnacle, (that could be operated without removing the driver’s hands from the steering wheel), although indicators remained on a stalk; an unusual arrangement similar to that used by Citroën. The Uno had MacPherson strut independent front suspension and twist-beam rear suspension with telescopic dampers and coil springs. From 1985, the 1.0 litre (999 cc) SOHC Fully Integrated Robotised Engine (FIRE) powerplant was offered, replacing the 0.9 litre unit. This was a lighter engine, built with fewer parts, and gave improved performance and economy. The most luxurious version, the single-point injected 75 SX i.e., had remote door locks, integrated front foglamps, and the oval exhaust tip also used on the Turbo. In April 1985 the hot hatch version of the first series Uno – the Uno Turbo i.e. – was launched as a three-door only derivative. It competed with the likes of the Ford Fiesta XR2, MG Metro Turbo and Peugeot 205 GTI. The Uno was replaced by the Punto in late 1993, although production for some markets continued for some time after that.
There was also one example of the Tipo Sedicivalvole here. Once again, it would seem that there are more of the highest performance version of the car left compared to the more prosaic ones, though it is understood that fewer than 10 of these early 90s hot hatches are currently on British roads. The Tipo (Type 160 in development speak) was styled by the I.DE.A Institute design house, and produced between 1988 and 1995. The Tipo was initially available only as a five door hatchback. The car was made entirely out of galvanised body panels to avoid rust, and was built on a completely new Fiat platform, which was later used on Fiat, Alfa-Romeo, and Lancia models. It stood out because of its boxy styling that gave it innovative levels of packaging, rear passenger room being greater than that in a rear-wheel-drive Ford Sierra, but in a car that was of a similar size to the smaller Ford Escort. This type of design was comparable to the smaller Fiat Uno, which was launched five years earlier. For 1989, the Tipo won the European Car of the Year award. Unveiled in January 1988, the Tipo went on sale in Europe during June 1988, and on the right-hand drive UK market from 16 July 1988, initially base (i.e.), DGT, (early Italian market DGT models were badged as ‘digit’, presumably in recognition of the digital dash, but this was quickly changed to DGT after a dispute over ownership of the name, leading to confusion about whether the model was diesel-powered) S, SX and 16v trim levels were available. Power outputs ranged from 57 to 146 bhp, with a engines of 1.1, 1.4, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.8 16v, 2.0, and 2.0 16v litre petrol engines, as well as a 1.7 and 1.9 diesel, and 1.9 turbodiesel, though not all of these were available in all markets. The 1.1 base engine was widely regarded as underpowered for the car, which was otherwise roomy for five adults and with above average equipment. This version was never sold in the UK, which initially received only the 1.4 and 1.6 versions of the Tipo, with the 1.8 and 2.0 petrol engines and the diesel powered units not being imported until the early 1990s. The smaller Uno had been a huge success there during the 1980s (peaking at more than 40,000 sales in 1988) and it was widely expected by both Fiat and by the motoring press that the Tipo would prove similarly successful, not least as the car launched into a favourable market in the UK, where none of the “big three” (Ford, Vauxhall, and Austin Rover) had launched an all new car of this size for at least four years. However, these three marques all had new Tipo sized products within three years, and increased competition reduced the Tipo’s sales. Initially it won plaudits for its innovative and practical design, as well as its good handling. It was originally sold with only 1.4 and 1.6 petrol engines, although the 16 valve 1.8 and 2.0 engines with fuel injection became available in the early 1990s. The digital dashboard of higher end models proved to be controversial and unreliable. The addition of the more powerful models did little to help, even though these were pretty good. The top of the range was the 2.0 Sedicivalvole (16 valves), which took its engine from the Lancia Thema, and with a much smaller and lighter bodyshell to house it, this power unit brought superb performance and handling, and a top speed of around 130 mph (210 km/h), which made it faster than the Volkswagen Golf GTI of that era. Many thought it to be one of the best cars in its class at the time. The Tipo was facelifted in 1993 and a three door version was added, as well as minor exterior changes (the two evolutions of the car can be differentiated by their slightly different radiator grilles and headlamps) and improved specifications; safety features like stiffer bodyshells, driver’s airbag, and side impact bars were added to the range. This included the new S, SX, and SLX trim levels, as well as a new eight valve 2.0 GT model. The Tipo ceased production in the summer of 1995, and was replaced by the three door Fiat Bravo and five-door Fiat Brava.
The Cinquecento, Tipo 170 in Fiat development parlance, was launched in December 1991, to replace the Fiat 126. It was the first Fiat model to be solely manufactured in the FSM plant in Tychy, Poland, which had been sold to Fiat by the Polish state, and where production of the Polish variant of the Fiat 126, the Polski Fiat 126p, was still running. It took 18 months before the new city car reached the UK, and its success proved that there was a market for very small cars after all, even though Renault had concluded that there was not sufficient demand for their Twingo which appeared around the same time. The Fiat sold well, and it was not long before it had a number of market rivals, such as the Ford Ka, Seat Arosa and Volkswagen Lupo. The smallest engine, intended for sale in Poland only, was a 704 cc OHV two-cylinder unit, delivering 31 bhp, an engine which was inherited from the 126p BIS. For the front-wheel drive Cinquecento, it underwent a major refurbishment (although the engine still employed a carburettor), which resulted, among other changes, in the crankshaft revolving in the opposite direction than in the 126p BIS! The bigger engine was the 903 cc 40 PS version of the veteran Fiat 100 OHV four-cylinder engine, which saw service in many small Fiat models, starting with the Fiat 850, and dating back to the initial 633 cc unit as introduced in the 1955 Fiat 600. It was fitted with single point fuel injection and was the base engine in most markets. Due to fiscal limitations, the displacement of this unit was limited to 899 cc in 1993, with a slight reduction of output, now producing 39 PS. In 1994, Fiat introduced the Cinquecento Sporting, featuring the 1108 cc SOHC FIRE 54 PS engine from the entry-level Punto of the same era, mated to a close-ratio 5 speed gearbox. Other additions were a drop in standard ride height, front anti-roll bar, 13″ alloy wheels, plus colour-coded bumpers and mirrors. The interior saw a tachometer added, along with sports seats, red seatbelts and a leather steering wheel and gear knob. It is the Sporting model which gave birth to a rallying trophy and a Group A Kit-Car version, and the Sporting is the version you see most often these days, and indeed, that was the variant seen here. Production of the Cinquecento ended in early 1998, when it was replaced by the Seicento.
Fiat have long produced far more than just cars, as we were reminded by the sight of this 55R Tractor
The Carrozzeria Francis Lombardi was founded in 1947 in Vercelli, Italy, by noted pilot Carlo “Francis” Lombardi. They originally engaged in some aeronautical design, but this soon ended. and they focussed exclusively on automobiles after 1950. Their first efforts were coupés on Fiat 1100 and 1400 basis; these were soon followed by station wagons with wood-panelled bodywork on 1100-basis. Francis Lombardi also made six-seater limousines from Fiat sedans of the period such as the 1400 and 1800. Intended for ministerial or representational use, they had stretched wheelbases and luxuriously fitted interiors. Famously, they built a Vatican-commissioned Fiat 2300-based limousine with a glass roof for Pope Paul VI in 1963 – this was the first “true” Popemobile. Francis Lombardi also developed four-door versions of the Fiat 600, 850, and 127. This series of small four-door saloons was called “Lucciola” by Lombardi. The first one was the 600 Lucciola which appeared in early 1957; in addition to four doors without a B-pillar (the rear door opening backwards) it also had a floor mounted shifter unlike a regular 600. Francis Lombardi’s greatest commercial success was with the luxuriously appointed Fiat 500 called “My Car”; which supported an annual production of about 6,000 cars in the sixties, up from about 1,500 towards the late fifties. The Fiat 850 Lucciola was also used by Spain’s SEAT for their 850 four-door sedan, although eventually they developed their own, longer version. At the end of the sixties, the Lombardi Grand Prix appeared, the closest thing to an independent design from the firm. This model had a convoluted history and was sold in small numbers under a variety of names until 1972, fitted with Fiat engines in various states of tune. Francis Lombardi continued to focus on modifying cars as well, building coupés on Fiat as well as on NSU basis (1000 TTS). In the 1970s they made special versions of the Fiat 128 and Lancia 2000, but in 1973 their doors were closed for good. Ten years later, Carlo Lombardi died. This is their version of the Nuova 500, which was known as the Francis Lombardi MyCar.
There’s a complex history associated with this car, which bore a number of badges during its production life. Among the badges are the Abarth Scorpione 1000, as well as the Lombardi Grand Prix,. This was a small, rear-engined sports car, based on Fiat 850 underpinnings, developed by the Carrozzeria Francis Lombardi with an in-house design by Giuseppe Rinaldi. It was first shown in March 1968, at the Geneva Motor Show. The design had a Kammback rear and a very low nose with flip-up headlights, and a large single windshield wiper. The headlights were electrically powered. The bodywork was all steel, except the rear panel. The design was originally shown as a prototype based on the front-wheel drive Autobianchi A112, and was adapted by Lombardi for the 850 sedan’s floorpan. At the 1969 Turin Show, a targa version was also shown; called the “Monza”, this open model has a rollover bar. At least two were built but it is unknown whether any were sold. The original Lombardi Grand Prix had the regular 843 cc Fiat 850 engine with 37 PS at 5000 rpm, coupled to a four-speed gearbox. Low drag resistance and weight (630 kg or 1,390 lb) meant that this was supposedly enough for a top speed of 99 mph. Later production models had the 850 Special engine, with 47 PS at 6400 rpm – in a period German test the maximum speed of the more powerful variant was 95.6 mph. Luggage space is limited, with very little space next to the spare wheel up front and with a tiny area behind the seats. In case the electric wind-up mechanism for the headlights should fail, there is also a mechanical lever underneath the bonnet. The single round tail lights are Fiat 850 Coupé units. The front suspension consists of a transverse leaf spring on the bottom and A-arms on top, while the rear received coil sprung semi-trailing arms. The Lombardi Grand Prix was built in two series: early models used the regular, metal engine cover from the Fiat 850 while the Series II has a louvred unit in black metal. The door windows are also different, being of a three-piece design (one on top, two lower pieces of which one could be slid open) while later cars have a more conventional layout with a vent window up front and a single piece which, however, could only be rolled halfway down. A Cypriot casino owner and millionaire had also shown interest in the Lombardi Grand Prix around the time of its introduction. Frixos Demetriou intended to market the car in the United Kingdom and began planning for an order of 1000 cars. After his death in a British Army tank accident in Cyprus, this project came to a sudden halt. Only ten cars were imported into the UK, with the remaining parts languishing in storage in Turin. A few unsold cars were re-exported to Cyprus in 1969 to avoid pending customs bills. The story gets more complex than that. The tiny OTAS company (Officina Trasformazioni Automobili Sportive, or “Sports car conversion shop”) was founded in 1969 and was a collaboration between Francis Lombardi and Franco Giannini – the son of Domenico Giannini of Giannini Automobili – allowing for a more powerful, Giannini-engined Grand Prix model to be marketed abroad. The resulting OTAS Grand Prix has a tuned, 982 cc twin-cam “Tigre” engine. In Italy, this model was sold as the “Giannini 1000 Grand Prix” (beginning in 1969). In a very convoluted operation, Francis Lombardi sold engineless cars to Giannini, while Giannini sold their engines to OTAS for sale outside of Italy. Responding to interest in the important North American market, OTAS also sold the Grand Prix in the United States and in Canada as the “OTAS Grand Prix 820cc”, to give the tiny car its full name. Going on sale in 1970 it was fitted with the same down-sleeved 817 cc version of the inline-four engine as used in federalised Fiat 850s – all to sneak under 50 cubic inches, thereby avoiding the need to carry emissions controls equipment. Sixty-five of these cars were brought to North America, or perhaps as many as a hundred. Fiat 850 chassis numbers were retained for the OTAS 820. Importer John Rich of Glendale, California, also offered tune-up kits directly and Siata International in New Jersey imported nine of the bigger Tigre-engined cars before the strictures of the EPA put a halt to such activities. This was the first car to have US sales curtailed by the EPA. The OTAS was sold until 1971, when the company shut its doors following homologation troubles. The car never sold particularly well, being expensive considering its performance and with a tendency to overheat. Along with other tuners (such as Giannini), Carlo Abarth also had a look at the Grand Prix. Abarth’s version, first seen at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, received a tuned version of the larger 903 cc engine from the recently introduced Fiat 850 Sport Coupé/Sport Spider. The resulting variant has a claimed 52 PS, providing performance more suitable to the sporting bodystyle and name. For better cooling than the original Lombardi and OTAS, Abarth mounted the cooler up front, in the air stream. In 1970 Abarth showed the considerably more powerful “Abarth 1300 Scorpione”, which was to be Abarth’s last independently developed car. Equipped with a version of the Fiat 124s 1.2 litre engine, bored out by 2.5 mm for a total of 1280 cc, this model has 75 PS and only moderately more weight, ranging from 680 to 750 kg (1,500 to 1,650 lb) depending on the source. In a 1970 road test by Auto, Motor und Sport, the Scorpione reached 109.1 mph, close to the claimed 112 mph. There is also mention of a 982 cc Abarth 1000 OT-engined version of the Scorpione. The Scorpione had a special Abarth-made bell housing, to allow matching the 124 engine to the four-speed 850 gearbox. After Abarth was taken over by Fiat in 1971, the Scorpione was quickly cancelled.
This 1962 Fiat 750 Giannini Scioneri was described as unique. I understand the unique feature is the Giannini tuning which was applied to a Scioneri version of a car which started off with the underpinnings of a Fiat 600. It looks very similar to the Vignale 750 which was produced in small quantities in the same era.
This Giannini 500 TV incorporates various performance enhancing products made by Giannini. Founded in 1920 by the Giannini brothers – Attilio and Domenico – the company began tuning the little FIAT 500 Topolino in the 1930’s and secured 12 world speed records with one of its modified cars. In the early 1960s the original company closed, the brothers going their separate ways to found new enterprises. Attilio’s new design company lasted only until 1971 but that founded by Domenico – Giannini Automobili SpA – survives today as part of the FIAT Group. In 1963 Giannini Automobili began modifying cars and selling tuning kits. That same year it introduced its own modified version of the baby FIAT – the 500TV – and throughout the decade and into the 1970’s Giannini-tuned cars battled with those of its rival Abarth on the racetracks of Europe. In more recent years Giannini has specialised in the production of limited-edition versions of FIAT production models.
Very few Japanese cars were sold in Italy in the 1970s, so this Honda Coupe Z would have been a real rarity when new. And it is still a rarity now, as very few have survived. The two-door Honda Z debuted in October 1970 and was marketed until 1973 in most countries. It complied with Japan’s kei car regulations, which are highly governed. The smaller-engined Honda Z360 was available in Japan (and other markets, such as Australia) with a 354 cc twin. In the UK they came only in 600 cc form and were called simply ‘Honda Z’ with no mention of the engine size in the name. The Z360 originally featured an air-cooled, 354 cc, 2-cylinder SOHC engine with a 4- or 5-speed transmission driving the front wheels. Outputs were 31 hp at 8500 rpm for the Act and Pro versions, and 36 hp at an astronomical 9000 rpm for the sportier TS and GS models. The Z600 model’s 598 cc SOHC engine was rated at 36 hp. In December 1971, the Z360 received a facelift and a water-cooled engine, it too producing 36 hp at 9000 rpm. Only a month later, the 31 PS engine used in the lower spec variants (Standard, Deluxe, Automatic, Custom) also became water-cooled. The engine’s technical achievements reflected influence from Honda’s larger 1.3 litre air-cooled four cylinder used in the Honda 1300 coupe and sedan. The Z featured coil sprung and independent front suspension and leaf springs on a beam axle rear suspension. The interior accommodated two adults, with a very small rear seat A rear glass hatch with a black plastic surround opened to a shallow cargo area. Below the cargo area a compartment, accessible via a lid beneath the number plate, held the spare wheel and tools. Later versions, after a November 1972 facelift, deleted the extra lid and also moved the license plate down to the position it vacated. These also received the new EA engine of 356 cc, now only available in a more powerful, 36 hp version. Production ended in 1974, after the new Civic had arrived and the Oil Crisis had diminished the market for “fun” cars. Total production was 40,586 units. In Europe only the Z600 was marketed, as the N360 had been considered underpowered. 918 cars were sold in Europe, most of them in France and Switzerland. A large number of these cars found their way to Germany (where it had not been marketed), where the engines were downsleeved to 242 cc in order to fit a particular “Class IV” category of driver’s licenses which did not require an exam. These models first appeared in 1969 after the last 250 cc car in regular production, the Goggomobil 250, had been discontinued. The engine offered from 12.5 to 14 PS and provided a top speed of 85 km/h (53 mph).
Also here was the latest NS-X, a supercar that you rarely see even though it has been available for a few years.
At the 1960 Turin Auto Show, BMC’s Italian partner Innocenti showed a small Spider built upon Sprite underpinnings. The car was the first design of Tom Tjaarda’s, drawn for Carrozzeria Ghia. Ghia’s partner firm OSI built the bodyshells, when the car entered production in early 1961. The original Innocenti 950 Spider had the Frogeye’s 948 cc engine with 43 hp, 624 of these were built. Later in 1961 an uprated 46.5 hp was installed. In February 1963 the 1098 cc “S” model was introduced, this also had front disc brakes to cope with the extra power. The 1100 has 58 hp and could also be fitted with a removable hardtop. The Spider wasn’t a mere reshelling, as the entire bulkhead was moved forward to provide longer doors and a more modern look. Unlike the spartan Frogeye, the Spider also had wind-up windows and a permanent windscreen. 4,790 of the 950 Spiders were built, and 2,074 of the 1100 cc Spiders. The Innocenti Spider originally sold well in Italy, with production running at 13 cars per day in 1962, but it had a hard time competing against the cheaper Sprite in export markets. As more modern competitors arrived and as the British-built Sprite was modernised, sales dropped precipitously, with only 63 cars built in 1965. Thus, Innocenti presented the reworked Innocenti Coupé in September 1966, still with the same 1100 engine as seen in late Spiders. The badging on the car simply read “Innocenti C”. The Coupé’s all-new bodywork was wider and longer than the Spider’s, and the wheelbase was extended by 150 mm to 2,180 mm (85.8 in). The floorpan was reworked to allow for the seats to be mounted lower than in a Sprite, making the cabin less cramped. It was competitively priced in the Italian market, slotting nicely between the smaller Fiat 850 Coupé and the bigger Fiat 124 Sport Spider. Only 794 were built when production ended in 1968.
Not a car that many would have seen before, and indeed one which few could identify, this is an Intermeccanica Indra, an amalgam of the best of the Italian and American performance sports car genre. In 1958, Frank Reisner and his wife Paula arrived in Europe and were on a hunt for a new future. Frank’s Hungarian background and Canadian schooling gave him an international outlook, so when he and Paula arrived in Europe, they discovered Turin, finding a resourceful workforce and well equipped workshops which led Frank to discover the art of making motor cars; thus began the colourful life of Carrozzeria Intermeccanica Automobili, manufacturers of some of the most beautiful automobiles in the world. Initially making tuning kits, the company soon found itself producing small-engined sports cars, which were styled by the legendary Franco Scalione. In 1971, and in partnership with the German manufacturer Opel, Intermeccanica produced a new car that would be the last designs completed by Scalione and was launched at the Geneva Automobile Show to become arguably Intermeccanica’s most striking product. The engine power on most were either 327, 350 V-8 Chevy engines, or straight 6 Opel engines. Indras have DeDion rear suspension and ZF recirculating ball power steering. They all had four wheel vented disc brakes. Most of the Indras were sold in Germany through the Opel Dealer Network. Only 60 convertibles, 40 notchback coupés and 27 2+2 fastback coupé versions of the Indra were built. In 1973 the Indra was presented at the New York Automobile Show, again with many orders taken and distributorship for the U.S. set up. At this stage, GM changed policy and stopped supplying both the Chevrolet engines and the Opel parts, as well as advising their Opel dealers in Germany that they were no longer to sell the Indras, with disastrous results for Intermeccanica. Distributor Erich Bitter then developed a very similar replacement, the Bitter CD, built by Baur. The company relocated to Santa Ana, California, in 1975 and started to build replica cars, such as the Porsche 356 Speedster in 1976 and Checker Taxi in 1979. It is now known as Intermeccanica International Inc., and has been based in Vancouver since 1982. Intermeccanica today manufactures the Roadster, a replica of the 1959 Porsche 356 convertible, as well as offering a replica of the 1940 World War 2 Volkswagen Kubelwagen “Type 82”. Other products include a 1958 Speedster and “turbo look” versions of both the Roadster and Speedster. This 1973 Indra is the last of the 27 fastback 2+2 coupés built with a Corvette power plant and, apart from a repaint from green to red, remains in an unrestored and original condition. Records show that this Indra was completed on 8th April 1973 and included the 5354cc, eight cylinder Corvette engine mated to a GM three-speed automatic gearbox. Splendid!
Needing no introduction, even now, over 50 years since its Geneva Show premiere in 1961 is the E Type, and this was represented among the Jaguars on display. stunning the world at the 1961 Geneva Show. Considered by many to be Sir William Lyons’ greatest achievement, not only did the car have stop-you-in-your-tracks gorgeous styling, but it had explosive performance (even if the 150 mph that was achieved in The Autocar’s Road Test is now known to have been with a little “help”), but it was the price that amazed people more than anything else. Whilst out of reach for most people, who could barely afford any new car, it was massively cheaper than contemporary Aston Martins and Ferraris, its market rivals. It was not perfect, though, and over the coming years, Jaguar made constant improvements. A 2+2 model joined the initial range of Roadster and Coupe, and more powerful and larger engines came when the 3.8 litre was enlarged to 4.2 litres, before more significant styling changes came with the 1967 Series 2 and the 1971 Series 3, where new front end treatments and lights were a consequence of legislative demands of the E Type’s most important market, America. Many of the cars that were first sold in the US have since been repatriated, so there are plenty of them around now, but even so values continue to rise. Buy while you can still afford one! There were a number of cars here.
One of the most loved Jaguars of all time, both when it was new, and still now, is the Mark 2 saloon. Many will tell you that it is not the 3 Series BMW that “invented” the “compact sports saloon” car class, but this model, which dates back to 1959. A thorough revision of the small Jaguar saloon that had joined the range in 1955, the Mark 2 was notable in that it was the first car to use the Arabic numeral in its name, as opposed to the Roman numerals of the larger Jaguar models. At launch, the earlier model which had hitherto been known by its engine size was christened the Mark 1. Although clearly based on that car, the updated car looked significantly different, with an increase of 18% in cabin glass area greatly improving visibility. The car was re-engineered above the waistline. Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen and the rear window almost wrapped around to the enlarged side windows now with the familiar Jaguar D-shape above the back door and fully chromed frames for all the side windows. The radiator grille was amended and larger side, tail and fog lamps repositioned. Inside a new heating system was fitted and ducted to the rear compartment (although still notoriously ineffective). There was an improved instrument layout that became standard for all Jaguar cars until the XJ Series II of 1973. As well as the familiar 2.4 and 3.4 litre engines, what made this car particularly special was that it was also offered with the potent 220 bhp 3.8 litre unit that was fitted to the XK150 and which would later see service in the E Type. This gave the car a 0 – 60 time of around 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. No wonder that the Mark 2 became popular as a get-away car for the criminal fraternity, and to keep up with and catch them, many police forces bought the car as well. With revised suspension and standard four wheel disc brakes, the car was effective on the track, taking plenty of class wins when new, and it is still popular in historic racing circles today. The quickest and most successful private entries came from John Coombs, a man with significant race experience who operated a large Jaguar dealership in Guildford. Coombs would undertake modifications to meet the demands of his customers, so not all the cars that he worked on are the same. Jaguar replaced the Mark 2 with simplified and slightly more cheaply finished 240 and 340 models, as an interim measure until an all-new model was ready to take over from them. The 3.8 litre disappeared from the range at this time, but in the 7 years it had been in production, it had been the best seller of the range, with around 30,000 cars produced, as compared to 28,666 of the 3.4 litre and 25,741 of the 2.4 litre model.
Successor to the E Type was the XJ-S, launched in September 1975, and to a not universally approving public. This was a very different sort of sporting Jaguar, more boulevard cruiser than sports car, even though the car had plenty of appeal with its smooth V12 engine which gave it genuine 150 mph performance. Press reports were favourable, but a thirsty V12 and a car with inconsistent build quality and styling that not everyone warmed to meant that sales were slow, and they got slower as the decade passed, leading questions to be asked as to whether the car should continue. As well as sorting the saloon models, Jaguar’s Chairman, John Egan, put in place a program to improve the XJ-S as well, which also benefitted from the HE engine in early 1981. A Cabrio model and the option of the new 3.6 litre 6 cylinder engine from 1984 widened the sales appeal, and the volumes of cars being bought started to go up. A fully open Convertible, launched in 1988 was the model many had been waiting for, and by this time, although the design was over 10 years old, it was now brimming with appeal to many. 1991 saw an extensive facelift which changed the styling details as well as incorporating the latest mechanical changes from the Jaguar parts bin, making the XJS (the hyphen had been dropped from the name in 1990) a truly desirable car. Seen here were a number of Coupe and Cabrio models.
Oldest of the many Lancia models here were a number of examples of the Lambda, an innovative car which was first shown in 1922. This particular car, shown on the Christoph Grohe stand, dates from 1923. Built in 9 series over a 10 year period, the Lambda pioneered a number of technologies that soon became commonplace in our cars. For example, it was the first car to feature a load-bearing monocoque-type body, (but without a stressed roof) and it also pioneered the use of an independent suspension (the front sliding pillar with coil springs). Vincenzo Lancia even invented a shock absorber for the car and it had excellent four wheel brakes. The narrow angle V4 engine which powered is not something which was widely copied. Approximately 11,200 Lambdas were produced. Most of them had the open Torpedo style body, but some of the last Series 8 and 9 cars had Weyman saloon bodies.
Next oldest Lancia here was this splendid Augusta, as produced by Lancia between 1933 and 1936. It made its première at the 1932 Paris Motor Show. The car was powered by a 1,196 cc Lancia V4 engine. During the 1920s, Lancia had been known as producers of sports cars and middle sized sedans: the smaller Augusta represented a departure from that tradition, and contributed to a significant growth in Lancia’s unit sales during the 1930s. Nevertheless, in terms of volumes sold, the Augusta was overwhelmed by Fiat’s much more aggressively priced 508 Ballila.
This was labelled as a 1954 Merino Barchetta. Information on the car seems in somewhat short supply.
Looking like a shrunken Aprilia, the Lancia Ardea was a small family car produced between 1939 and 1953. Its unusually short bonnet reportedly contained the smallest V4 engine ever commercialized in a small family car. The Ardea was named either after Ardea town (Lazio), or Via Ardeatina, the Roman road leading from Rome to that town. Nearly 23,000 of the Ardeas produced were standard bodied saloons but between 1940 and 1942 approximately 500 Ardeas were manufactured with lengthened bodies and a squared off rear cabin for use in Rome as taxis. After the war more than 8,500 commercial adaptations of the Ardea known as ‘furgoncini’ (light van versions) and the ‘camioncini’ (car based light trucks) were also produced. Instrumentation included a centrally mounted speedometer, the fuel level and the oil pressure. A third dial directly below the driver’s sight line was a clock, unusually on this size of car. The three floor pedals followed the pattern still ‘conventional’ for a manual transmission car (clutch, brake, gas) but to the left of the clutch pedal was a small foot operated dipper switch for the headlights. Control knobs lined up along the base of the fascia included a hand throttle. Early Italian images of Ardea interiors confirm that Lancias of the period were still right hand drive, even for countries such as its native Italy which drove on the right. Four versions of the Ardea were built: the 1st series, produced between 1939 and 1941, with 2,992 built; the 2nd series, produced between 1941 and 1948, with 4,438 built. on which a 12 Volt electric system was introduced; the 3rd series, produced between 1948 and 1949, with 3,600 built. and this was the first mass-produced car with a 5-speed gearbox; and the 4th series, produced between 1949 and 1953, 11,700 built. This had a new cylinder head, aluminium, higher compression ratio, more power: 30 bhp.
Designed by Vittorio Jano, the Lancia Aurelia was launched in 1950 and production lasted until the summer of 1958. The very first Aurelias were the B10 Berlinas. They used the first production V6 engine, a 60° design developed by Francesco de Virgilio who was, between 1943 and 1948 a Lancia engineer, and who worked under Jano. The first cars had a capacity of 1754 cc, and generated 56 hp. During production, capacity grew from 1.8 litres to 2.5 litres across six distinct Series. Prototype engines used a bore and stroke of 68 mm x 72 mm for 1569 cc; these were tested between 1946 and 1948. It was an all-alloy pushrod design with a single camshaft between the cylinder banks. A hemispherical combustion chamber and in-line valves were used. A single Solex or Weber carburettor completed the engine. Some uprated 1991 cc models were fitted with twin carburettors. At the rear was an innovative combination transaxle with the gearbox, clutch, differential, and inboard-mounted drum brakes. The front suspension was a sliding pillar design, with rear semi-trailing arms replaced by a de Dion tube in the Fourth series. The Aurelia was also first car to be fitted with radial tyres as standard equipment. Aurelia was named after Via Aurelia, a Roman road leading from Rome to France. The B21 version was released in 1951 with a larger 1991 cc 70 hp engine and a 2-door B20 GT coupé appeared that same year. It had a shorter wheelbase and a Ghia-designed, Pininfarina-built body. The same 1991 cc engine produced 75 hp in the B20. In all, 500 first series Aurelias were produced. This is generally believed to the first car to use the name GT, or Gran Turismo. The B20 GT Aurelia had a successful career in motorsport, too. In the 1951 Mille Miglia the 2-litre Aurelia, driven by Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli, finished 2nd beaten only by the Ferrari America. The same year it took first in class and 12th overall at LeMans. Modified Aurelias took the first three places on 1952’s Targa Florio with Felice Bonetto as the winner and another win on Lièges-Rome-Lièges of 1953.
One of the prettiest cars ever built., in my opinion, was the Aurelia B24 Spider. Based on the chassis of the Aurelia B20 GT, and designed by Pininfarina, the B24 Spider was produced only in 1954-1955, just 240 of them were built before a cheaper Aurelia Convertible would replace it. The difference between them is that the Spider has the wrap around panoramic front windscreen, distinctive 2 part chrome bumpers, removable side screens and soft top. 181 of them were LHD cars with B24S (‘sinistra’) designation; and the remaining 59 cars were RHD. All were equipped with 2,451cc engines. A really nice Spider nice now is worth hundreds of thousands of £ and it is not hard to see why. It was the Convertible version to be seen here.
The Appia was a small car that was made between 1953 and 1963, in three distinct Series. First series Appias were only offered in factory body styles, but this changed with the second and third series Appias, which were also built as a platform chassis intended for coachbuilt bodies. Towards the end of 1955 a first batch of 14 chassis based on the brand new second series Appia were built and handed over to some of the most prominent coachbuilders of the time: Allemano, Boano, Ghia Aigle, Motto, Pininfarina, Vignale and Zagato. Initially all fourteen chassis were coded Tipo 812.00, based on standard saloon mechanicals; five of were upgraded to a more powerful 53 PS engine and floor-mounted gearchange, and given the new type designation 812.01. At the April 1956 Turin Motor Show, a month after the successful introduction of the second series Appia in Geneva, five specially bodied Appias were shown: a coupé and a two-door saloon by Vignale, a coupé each from Pininfarina, Boano and Zagato. Between Spring 1956 and Spring 1957 the coachbuilders presented their one-off interpretations of the Appia at various motor shows. Later more 812.01 chassis were built, bringing the total of unique to thirteen. Of the coachbuilders who had worked on the first fourteen chassis, two were selected by Lancia to produce special Appia body styles: Pininfarina for the coupé, and Vignale for the convertible. Their nearly definitive proposals debuted at the March 1957 Geneva Motor Show, and soon went into limited series production. Built by their respective designers on chassis supplied by Lancia, these were included in Lancia’s own catalogue and regularly sold through Lancia dealerships. In the later years other variants were added to the official portfolio: Vignale’s Lusso, Zagato’s GTE and Sport, and Viotti’s Giardinetta. All of these variants were built on the 812.01 type chassis with the more powerful engine and floor change; when the third series saloon debuted its mechanical upgrades were transferred to the chassis, and the engine gained one horsepower 54 PS. In early 1960 a revised, more powerful engine was adopted thanks to a new Weber carburettor and an inlet manifold with a duct per each cylinder. In total 5,161 Appia chassis for coachbuilders were made. Seen here were the Berlina, the pretty Coupe and the Zagato version.
There were a number of examples of the Flaminia here. Although superficially similar to its illustrious Aurelia predecessor and materially “better” in just about every respect, it never managed to capture buyers’ imaginations in the same way when new, and even now, it has to play second fiddle to the older car. The first model in the range was the Berlina, which was launched at the 1957 Geneva Show. It had a Pininfarina styled body which took much inspiration from the Florida concept car that had been shown in the previous year. Much was new under the skin. Its larger 2.5 litre 100 bhp V6 engine was new in detail, and was designed to allow for further increases in capacity, which would come in time. I was smoother than the Aurelia engines and had more torque, and with better cylinder head design and revised cooling, it was more robust, as well. There was synchromesh on all four gears. Lancia’s famous sliding pillar suspension was banished in favour of unequal length wishbones and coil springs which required less maintenance and were more refined. But the car was heavy, and complex, and exceedingly expensive. Lancia thought that their customers would pay a premium for “the best”, but tastes were changing, and the Berlina was never a strong seller, with fewer than 3000 of them being constructed, most of them being the first series cars. Just 549 of the later second series model with 110 bhp and disc brakes were made between 1961 and 1963, hardly surprising when the car cost more than a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, as it did in the UK. The later cars had a 2.8 litre engine and 125 bhp, and just 599 of these were made between 1963 and 1968. There was more success with the coachbuilt two door variants which joined the range. The most successful of these, the Pininfarina Coupe, was the first to appear. This was made between 1959 and 1967, during which time 5284 of these mostly steel-bodied cars were constructed. In many ways they were very like the Berlina, just a bit smaller, though there was a floor mounted gear lever, and the cars had more power. The first 3200 of them had a 119 bhp single carb engine with a sport camshaft. Later 3Bs had a triple choke Solex from 1962 and the power went up to 136 bhp. It was only a year after the Pininfarina car’s debut when Touring of Milan announced their Flaminia models. These aluminium bodied cars were sold in three distinct variants between 1960 and 1965. The single carburettor GT was followed by a Convertible in 1960, both of them uprated to 140 bhp triple Weber 3C spec in 1961. The 2.8 litre 3C took over in 1963 and were supplemented by a new 2+2 version called the GTL, with a taller roofline, front-hinged bonnet, longer doors and more substantial seats. It is the rarest of all Flaminia models, with just 300 made. The styling house to offer a car was Zagato, with their Sports and SuperSports. Only 526 were made and there is a complicated production history which probably shows the sort of chaotic thinking that was going on at Lancia and which would lead to is bankruptcy and take over by Fiat in 1969. The first 99 Sports had faired-in headlights and the 119 bhp engine. From 1960 another 100 cars were built with expose lights until the introduction of the Sport 3C with the 140 bhp triple carb. Zagato made 174 of those in 1962 and 1963, still with the exposed lights. The faired-in lights returned in 1964 on the SuperSport, which also had a Kamm tail, and with DCN Webers this one put out 150 bhp. 150 of these were made between 1964 and 1967. Many of the earlier cars were upgraded early in their life, so if you see one now, you cannot be totally sure of is true origin. Production of the car ceased in 1970, with fewer than 13,000 Flaminia of all types having been built. These days, the cost to restore them properly – and it is a huge job – exceeds the value of most of them, by some margin, as Berlina and Coupe models tend not to sell for more than £30k. The Zagato cars are a different matter, and when they come up for sale, routinely go for over £300k. The Touring cars – considered by most to be the prettiest tend to be around £100k for the GT and another 50 – 80k for a convertible – a long way from the value of an Aston Martin DB4 Volante, which cost roughly the same when new. There was a Berlina, a Touring GT and a Sport Zagato here.
There were several examples of the Flavia here, a model named after the Via Flavia, Roman road leading from Trieste (Tergeste) to Dalmatia. Launched at the 1960 Turin Motor Show, the Flavia was initially available only as a four-door saloon, featuring a 1.5 litre aluminium boxer engine, Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, front-wheel drive and front suspension by unequal-length wishbones. This model was soon joined by a two-door coupé, designed by Pininfarina on a shortened platform. Vignale built 1,601 two-door convertibles, while Zagato designed an outlandish-looking light weight two-door sport version. The sport version has twin carburettors for extra power (just over 100 hp); however, this version of the engine was notoriously difficult to keep in tune. Even the single-carburettor engine suffered from the problem of timing chain stretch. Sprockets with vernier adjusters were fitted to allow for chain wear, and the cam timing was supposed to be checked every 6000 miles. Early cars also suffered from corrosion of the cylinder heads caused by using copper gaskets on aluminium heads; nevertheless, the car was quite lively for its day, considering the cubic capacity. Later development of the engine included an enlargement to 1.8 litres, a mechanical injection version using the Kugelfischer system, and a five-speed manual gearbox. Towards the end of the 1960s, when Fiat took control of the company, the Vignale and Zagato versions were discontinued. The coupé and saloon versions received new bodywork, first presented in March 1969 at the Geneva Motor Show. The engine increased to 2.0 litres, available with carburettor or injection, and four- or five-speed gearbox. The 2.0 litre models were only made with revised Pininfarina Coupe and revised Berlina bodies.
The model was updated further in 1971, an evolution of the Series II Flavia Coupé and a stable mate to the 2000 Berlina model The car’s bodyshell was designed and made by Pininfarina. The interior was also designed by Pininfarina and bears a striking resemblance to that of the Ferrari 330 GT. The cosmetic changes to the 2000 Coupé were largely confined to a new grille (matte black instead of chrome) with headlamps incorporated into the now wider intake, new bumpers (with rubber strips on the HF), and the tail was shorn of its vestigial tailfins, with a raised and squared decklid. The interior did not undergo significant changes, merely refinement of the previous design. The powerplant was adopted from the 2000 sedan and available in two states of tune: carburettors on the 2000 Coupé, Bosch electronic fuel injection and engine management on the 2000 HF which raised its output to 123 bhp, which was the same as contemporary BMW and Alfa Romeo models. This improvement, however, was never publicised by Lancia because the marketing department believed that their targeted customers would less favourably respond to a campaign that emphasised power and performance rather than quality, technical sophistication and riding comfort. The HF was recognizable by the body-side rub-strip, wooden Nardi steering wheel, and magnesium alloy wheels by Cromodora. Both versions had a 5-speed manual transmission with a dog-leg gearbox arrangement. The Lancia 2000 and 2000 HF coupé were technologically advanced for the day with features such as 5 speed transmission, power assisted steering and electronic fuel injection on the 2000 HF. The cars offer sporty but also very refined and comfortable transport and are very capable in modern traffic and motorway cruising. They are very well appointed with polished stainless steel brightwork, as opposed to chromed mild steel. The 2000 and 2000 HF Coupé are considered to be some of the last true Lancia cars, designed before Fiat took control of the company in 1969. The cars do not suffer the corrosion problems associated with later generation Lancias and are generally regarded as being more resistant than contemporary rivals from other manufacturers. The cars were expensive when new and hence only sold in small numbers, and they are particularly rare now, so seeing one of these elegant machines was a real treat.
Lancia replaced the long-running Appia with a new model in 1963, the Fulvia. Like the larger Flavia which had been shown 3 years earlier, it came with front wheel drive, and a host of exquisite engineering which ensure that even though it was expensive, it was actually not profitable for its maker, and was a direct contribution to the marque’s bankruptcy and take over by Fiat in 1969. It was not long before the initial Berlina saloon model was joined by a Coupe. First seen in 1965. the Coupe proved to be the longest lived of all Fulvia variants, surviving until 1976 when it was effectively replaced by the 1300cc version of the Beta Coupe. Before that, it had undergone a steady program of updates, with more powerful engines, including a capacity increase from the initial 1200cc of the narrow angle V4 to 1300 and then later 1600cc, and the car was developed into a successful rally machine for the late 60s. The Sport Zagato version was designed by Ercole Spada at Zagato and was intended to be the more sporting model of the range. It was also considerably more expensive. Early cars had an unusual side hinged bonnet, but this was changed on the Series 2 models which were launched in 1970, and which also switched to all-steel bodies. Seen here were examples of both the Berlina and the very elegant Coupe model.
Representing the Beta family was this HPE. The Beta HPE was a three-door sporting estate or shooting-brake introduced in March 1975. HPE stood for High Performance Estate, and then later High Performance Executive. This model had Berlina’s longer wheelbase floorpan combined with the coupé’s front end and doors. The HPE was also styled in house at Lancia by Castagno’s team, with Castagnero as styling consultant. At launch it came with either 1600 or 1800 twin-cam engines, these being replaced in November of the same year by new 1.6 and 2.0 units. In 1978, like other Beta models automatic transmission became available along with power steering. It was renamed the Lancia HPE (without the Beta) from 1979 and in autumn 1981 gained the option of a fuel injected 2.0 engine. In 1984 a 2.0VX supercharged version became available. Like all other cars in the Beta range the HPE was discontinued in 1984.
After finishing the Beta family, Lancia turned their engine to a new flagship, calling their new model the Gamma, which continued the naming convention of using Greek letters that was started by its smaller stablemate. Launched at the 1976 Geneva Show, there were several surprises about the new car. As with several other cars of the period, the fastback style of the berlina featured a conventional boot at the rear, and was not a hatchback, despite its appearance. At the car’s press launch Pininfarina explained that a hatchback was avoided to save the inconvenience to back seat passengers when luggage is being loaded: “inconvenience” was thought to be a reference to possible draughts.More surprising, perhaps was the mechanical configuration. Lancia developed unique flat-4 engines for the Gamma (an idea initially was to use a Fiat V6). Engine designer De Virgilio also drew up an engine for the Gamma which was a V6 4-cam with either 3- or 4-litre displacement, but this never came to fruition. The Flat four engine finally chosen for the Gamma lacked the cachet afforded to luxury cars in this sector, which generally came with 6 or 8 cylinders. The 4-cylinder engine was unusually large for a modern 4-cylinder petrol engine, though Subaru EJ flat-4 engines matched it in volume and the later Porsche 944 and 968 had 3 litre straight-4 engines. The “4” had certain engineering advantages, but more than anything it allowed Aldo Brovarone (Pininfarina chief stylist) to design a rakish looking coupé with a low bonnet line and a steeply raked windscreen. Pressure cast in alloy with wet cylinder liners, the engine was also extremely light and though it only produced 140 bhp, (120 bhp in 2.0-litre form) in line with traditional Lancia thinking it generated a huge amount of torque, most of which was available at just 2000 rpm. The car was initially available with a displacement of 2.5 litres, as the Gamma 2500, but this was later joined by a 2.0 litre version (Gamma 2000), which resulted from the Italian tax system (cars with engines larger than 2.0 L are subject to heavier tax burden). The displacement was lowered by decreasing the bore rather than the stroke of the engine. Both displacements were using Weber carburettors, though the 2.5 litre later came in a version fitted with fuel injection, the Gamma 2500 I.E. Ironically, it was the engines that caused the Gamma to have a poor name. They overheated far too easily, wore its cams, and leaked oil. The wishbone bushes wore out early, and, because the power steering was driven from the left cam-belt, the car was prone to snapping that belt when steering was on full lock — with disastrous results. By the time the Facelifted car was launched most of these problems had been addressed, but the damage was done, and the car’s poor reputation cemented. Lancia referred to the change merely as a “face-lift”. The main change was that the engines went from carburettors to Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection. At the same time a lot of cosmetic work was done; the cars got a new corporate grille, 15-inch “sunburst” alloy wheels, and a slightly upgraded interior, with new instrumentation and interior lighting, new badging, a new style handbrake and gear lever gaitor. But sales continued to lessen, and the car was deleted in 1984, Lancia having built 15,272 berlinas and 6,790 coupés.
Considered to be part of the Beta family, though there is an awful lot about the car that is very different from the front wheel drive models was the MonteCarlo, one example of which was displayed. First conceived in 1969, with a a final design completed by 1971 by Paolo Martin at Pininfarina, what was initially known as the Fiat X1/8 Project, was originally designed as Pininfarina’s contender to replace Fiat’s 124 Coupe, but it lost out to Bertone’s cheaper design, which became the Fiat X1/9. Rather than scrap the proposal completely, it was developed further, when Fiat commissioned Pininfarina to build a 3.0 litre V6 mid-engined sports car. An X1/8 chassis was used as the start point, and developed for the first time in-house by Pininfarina and not based on any existing production car. Due to the 1973 Oil Crisis, the project was renamed X1/20 and updated to house a 2.0 litre engine. The first car to be made out of the X1/20 Project was the Abarth SE 030 in 1974. The project was passed to Lancia, and the road car was launched at the 1975 Geneva Motor Show as the Lancia Beta MonteCcarlo. It was the first car to be made completely in-house by Pininfarina. Lancia launched the MonteCarlo as a premium alternative to the X1/9, with the 2 litre twin cam engine rather than the X1/9’s single cam 1300. Both used a similar, based on the Fiat 128, MacPherson strut front suspension and disc brakes at both front and rear. Lancia Beta parts were limited to those from the existing Fiat/Lancia standard parts bin, the transverse mount version of the Fiat 124’s twin cam engine and the five speed gearbox and transaxle. MonteCarlos were available as fixed head “Coupés” and also as “Spiders” with solid A and B pillars, but a large flat folding canvas roof between them. Sales were slow to get started, and it soon became apparent that there were a number of problems with a reputation for premature locking of the front brakes causing particular alarm. Lancia suspended production in 1979 whilst seeking a solution, which meant that the car was not produced for nearly two years. The second generation model, known simply as MonteCarlo now, was first seen in late 1980. The braking issue was addressed by removing the servo, as well as few other careful mechanical tweaks. The revised cars also had glass panels in the rear buttresses, improving rear visibility somewhat, and there was a revised grille. In the cabin there was a new three spoke Momo steering wheel in place of the old two spoke one, as well as revamped trim and fabrics. The engine was revised, with a higher compression ratio, Marelli electronic ignition and new carburettors which produced more torque. It was not enough for sales to take off, and the model ceased production in 1982, although it took quite a while after that to shift all the stock. Just under 2000 of the Phase 2 cars were made, with 7798 MonteCarlos made in total. As well as the European spec cars there was a US market car here, which was called the Scorpion and which had single round headlights making it easy to distinguish.
Homologation requirements for the World Rally Championship’s Group B mandated Lancia to produce at minimum 200 verifiable road-going examples in order to compete with the 037. 207 037 Stradale (Italian for “road”) cars are known to have been produced from 1982 through 1984. This road-going 037 variant was equipped with an Abarth-developed DOHC 2.0-litre (1,995 cc) 16-valve Inline-four engine, mated to an Abarth Volumex Roots-type supercharger generating 205 hp at 7,000 rpm. It was capable of pushing the car to over 220 km/h (137 mph) and to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 5.8 seconds.
The Integrale evolved over several years, starting off as the HF Turbo 4WD that was launched in April 1986, to homologate a new rally car for Lancia who needed something to fill the void left by the cancellation of Group B from the end of 1986. The Delta HF 4X4 had a four-wheel drive system with an in-built torque-splitting action. Three differentials were used. Drive to the front wheels was linked through a free-floating differential; drive to the rear wheels was transmitted via a 56/44 front/rear torque-splitting Ferguson viscous-coupling-controlled epicyclic central differential. At the rear wheels was a Torsen (torque sensing) rear differential. It divided the torque between the wheels according to the available grip, with a maximum lockup of 70%. The basic suspension layout of the Delta 4WD remained the same as in the rest of the two-wheel drive Delta range: MacPherson strut–type independent suspension with dual-rate dampers and helicoidal springs, with the struts and springs set slightly off-centre. The suspension mounting provided more isolation by incorporating flexible rubber links. Progressive rebound bumpers were adopted, while the damper rates, front and rear toe-in and the relative angle between springs and dampers were all altered. The steering was power-assisted rack and pinion. The car looked little different from the front wheel drive models. In September 1987, Lancia showed a more sophisticated version of the car, the Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V. This version incorporated some of the features of the Delta HF 4WD into a road car. The engine was an 8-valve 2 litre fuel injected 4-cylinder, with balancing shafts. The HF version featured new valves, valve seats and water pump, larger water and oil radiators, more powerful cooling fan and bigger air cleaner. A larger capacity Garrett T3 turbocharger with improved air flow and bigger inter-cooler, revised settings for the electronic injection/ignition control unit and a knock sensor, boosting power output to 185 bhp at 5300 rpm and maximum torque of 224 lb/ft at 3500 rpm. The HF Integrale had permanent 4-wheel drive, a front transversely mounted engine and five-speed gearbox. An epicyclic centre differential normally split the torque 56 per cent to the front axle, 44 per cent to the rear. A Ferguson viscous coupling balanced the torque split between front and rear axles depending on road conditions and tyre grip. The Torsen rear differential further divided the torque delivered to each rear wheel according to grip available. A shorter final drive ratio (3.111 instead of 2.944 on the HF 4WD) matched the larger 6.5×15 wheels to give 24 mph/1000 rpm in fifth gear. Braking and suspension were uprated to 284 mm ventilated front discs, a larger brake master cylinder and servo, as well as revised front springs, dampers, and front struts. Next update was to change the engine from 8 valves to 16. The 16v Integrale was introduced at the 1989 Geneva Motorshow, and made a winning debut on the 1989 San Remo Rally. It featured a raised centre of the bonnet to accommodate the new 16 valve engine, as well as wider wheels and tyres and new identity badges front and rear. The torque split was changed to 47% front and 53% rear. The turbocharged 2-litre Lancia 16v engine now produced 200 bhp at 5500 rpm, for a maximum speed of 137 mph and 0–100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. Changes included larger injectors, a more responsive Garrett T3 turbocharger, a more efficient intercooler, and the ability to run on unleaded fuel without modification. The first Evoluzione cars were built at the end of 1991 and through 1992. These were to be the final homologation cars for the Lancia Rally Team; the Catalytic Evoluzione II was never rallied by the factory. The Evoluzione I had a wider track front and rear than earlier Deltas. The bodyside arches were extended and became more rounded. The wings were now made in a single pressing. The front strut top mounts were also raised, which necessitated a front strut brace. The new Integrale retained the four wheel drive layout. The engine was modified to produce 210 bhp at 5750 rpm. External changes included: new grilles in the front bumper to improve the air intake for engine compartment cooling; a redesigned bonnet with new lateral air slats to further assist underbonnet ventilation; an adjustable roof spoiler above the tailgate; new five-bolt wheels with the same design of the rally cars; and a new single exhaust pipe. Interior trim was now grey Alcantara on the Recaro seats, as fitted to the earlier 16V cars; leather and air conditioning were offered as options, as well as a leather-covered Momo steering wheel. Presented in June 1993, the second Evolution version of the Delta HF Integrale featured an updated version of the 2-litre 16-valve turbo engine to produce more power, as well as a three-way catalyst and Lambda probe. A Marelli integrated engine control system with an 8 MHz clock frequency which incorporates: timed sequential multipoint injection; self-adapting injection times; automatic idling control; engine protection strategies depending on the temperature of intaken air; Mapped ignition with two double outlet coils; Three-way catalyst and pre-catalyst with lambda probe (oxygen sensor) on the turbine outlet link; anti-evaporation system with air line for canister flushing optimised for the turbo engine; new Garrett turbocharger: water-cooled with boost-drive management i.e. boost controlled by feedback from the central control unit on the basis of revs/throttle angle; Knock control by engine block sensor and new signal handling software for spark park advance, fuel quantity injected, and turbocharging. The engine now developed 215 PS as against 210 PS on the earlier uncatalysed version and marginally more torque. The 1993 Integrale received a cosmetic and functional facelift that included. new 16″ light alloy rims with 205/45 ZR 16 tyres; body colour roof moulding to underline the connection between the roof and the Solar control windows; aluminium fuel cap and air-intake grilles on the front mudguards; red-painted cylinder head; new leather-covered three-spoke MOMO steering wheel; standard Recaro seats upholstered in beige Alcantara with diagonal stitching. In its latter years the Delta HF gave birth to a number of limited and numbered editions, differing mainly in colour, trim and equipment; some were put on general sale, while others were reserved to specific markets, clubs or selected customers.
This Delta HF Integrale Cabrio is a one-off which was built for Gianni Agnelli.
Also here was a Stradale version of the Delta S4. Between October 1985 and 1986 Lancia built 200 examples of a road-going version of the Delta S4, officially named Lancia Delta S4 but widely known as “Stradale”, for the purpose of homologation in Group B. In Italy, the car was priced at about 100 million Lira: five times the price of the most expensive Delta of the time, the HF Turbo. The Stradale’s chassis was a space frame, similar to its rally counter-part, built out of CrMo steel tubes and aluminium alloy for the crash structures; it was covered by epoxy and fibreglass body panels. Like the rally car, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine was longitudinally mid-mounted, equipped with Weber-Marelli IAW integrated electronic ignition and fuel injection, a supercharger, a turbocharger and two intercoolers. In road tune the 1.8 produced 250 PS at 6,750 rpm and 291 N⋅m (215 lb⋅ft) of torque at 4,500 rpm. The “Stradale” kept a three differential four-wheel-drive system from the rally car; the centre differential sent 30% of the engine torque to the front open differential, and 70% to the rear limited slip. Lancia claimed the car could reach a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph) and accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.0 seconds. In contrast to its bare bones racing sister, the S4 Stradale featured an Alcantara-upholstered interior, sound deadening, a suede steering wheel, and was equipped with power steering, trip computer and air conditioning.
The Lancia Dedra, produced from 1989 to 2000 was designed to support, and later to replace, the Prisma and is generally considered to be the saloon version of the second generation Delta, that took a further four years before being released. The Dedra was sold in the UK, and it had a tough job on its hands, as it entered a particularly competitive part of the market, that for medium-sized executive saloons. The design, by Ercole Spada of the I.DE.A Institute, produced an excellent drag coefficient of only 0.29. Lancia positioned the Dedra as offering prestige, exclusivity, personality and comfort, achieved through a high level of equipment and use of materials (e.g. Alcantara) as well as details such as special paints, alloy wheels and an attention to soundproofing, ventilation and other issues. Inside the ability to obtain the perfect driving position was helped by the adjustable seats, steering wheel and electrically adjustable mirrors. Safety, both passive with a structure designed to minimise injury in an accident, and active, such as ABS and airbag, was also near the top of the Dedra’s agenda. It was based on the Fiat Tipo-floorpan, because the idea of Fiat Group at the end of the 80s was to achieve, from a single floorpan (for reasons of economies of scale), four different cars from the same base: good value for money for the Fiat Tipo (1988), elegance for Lancia Dedra 1989, convenience at a competitive price for the Fiat Tempra (1990) (with its large boot) and sportsmanship for the Alfa Romeo 155 (1992). Also were designed on the same floorpan the Lancia Delta and the Fiat Coupe. When the Dedra was launched, it was a good time for Lancia: The Thema had been facelifted a year earlier, and despite being on the market for five years was selling well, the Delta (1979), thanks its continued success in competition was living a second youth, and the Y10 had a slight restyling and good sales. However, the Dedra was not a strong success outside Italy. A major facelift in 1993 did little to boost the car’s sales success and the whole Lancia range including the Dedra was withdrawn from RHD markets a year later. The car, after 1993 also sold as a station wagon, remained popular on the Italian market until it was replaced by the all-new Lybra at the end of the 90s. In 1991 the Dedra Integrale had been added to the range. It used the same engine and transmission as the Delta Integrale 8v, a 2-litre 4-cylinder fuel injected twin cam engine, fitted with contra-rotating balancing shafts, and a Garrett T3 turbocharger and associated inter-cooler to aid volumetric efficiency that boosted power output to 171 PS. The Dedra Integrale also used the same permanent 4-wheel drive of the Delta Integrale, and included a new Visco Drive 2000 traction control system and it also included the electronically controlled suspension available as option in the 2.0 and upper versions. A total of 418,084 Dedras were manufactured. There are only a handful in the UK.
This is a Thema, Lancia’s luxury car based on the Tipo Quattro platform, one of four cars to do, the others being the Alfa Romeo 164, Fiat Croma and Saab 9000. The Thema re-established Lancia as a high-quality luxury manufacturer with a galvanised steel chassis and rust protection that equalled or bettered that of its competitors. Build quality was higher than the Fiat Croma’s and on par with the Saab 9000, with which it shared a great deal of body engineering, including its doors. Lancia’s sales organisation, however, was poor in many markets and secondhand values for the car suffered. The first series was built between 1984 and 1988, and was available with 1995 cc 8 valve, twin-cam fuel injected or turbocharged engines or a 2849 cc V6. For most European markets a 2445 cc four-cylinder turbodiesel was also available, though this was not offered to UK buyers. One of these cars, in 2 litre Turbo ie spec, which was the most popular among UK buyers, was on show here. For a while, the Thema changed little, but in 1986, a station wagon designed by Pininfarina was added to the range, though this was also never sold in the UK. 21,074 Thema station wagons were built. The second series Thema, also seen here, and also with a 2 litre Turbo engine, was presented in the Paris Motor Show in September 1988 with 16v 2.0 litre engines replacing the 2.0 litre 8v units increasing the power output of the injection version to 146 PS and the turbo to 205 PS. The diesel engine size increased marginally, to 2499 cc. The series two was then replaced by the facelifted third and last series, introduced at the Paris Motor Show in September 1992 and produced from 1992-1994. Production of the Thema ceased in 1994 when Lancia presented a replacement. the Kappa, a car that would not be sold in the UK.
Most recent Lancia was one of the rebadged Chryslers which cause something of an outcry when the plan was initially announced. This Flavia Cabrio is essentially a Chrysler 200 Convertible, doyen of the US rental fleets. It was sold, only in left hand drive markets, from 2012 to 2014.
Land Rover and Range Rover models are surprisingly popular in a country where the tax regime punishes everything with large engines. Sole example of the marque that I came across was this Discovery 2 in Camel Trophy guise.
Known internally as Tipo AM109, the Mistral was a 2-seat gran turismo produced between 1963 and 1970, as a successor to the 3500 GT. It was styled by Frua and bodied by Maggiora of Turin. Named after a cold northerly wind of southern France, it was the first in a series of classic Maseratis to be given the name of a wind. The Mistral was the last model from the Casa del Tridente (“House of the Trident”) to have the company’s renowned twin-spark, double overhead cam straight six engine. Fitted to the Maserati 250F Grand Prix cars, it won 8 Grand Prix between 1954 and 1960 and one F1 World Championship in 1957 driven by Juan Manuel Fangio. The engine featured hemispherical combustion chambers fed by a Lucas indirect fuel injection system, a new development for Italian car manufacturers. Maserati subsequently moved on to V8 engines for their later production cars to keep up with the demand for ever more powerful machines. Three engine were fitted to the Mistral, displacing 3500, 3700 and 4000 cc and developing 235 bhp at 5500 rpm, 245 bhp at 5500 rpm and 255 bhp at 5200 rpm, respectively. Only the earliest of the Mistrals were equipped with the 3500 cc, the most sought after derivative is the 4000 cc model. Unusually, the body was offered in both aluminium and, from 1967, in steel, but no one is quite sure how many of each were built. The car came as standard with a five speed ZF transmission and four wheel solid disc brakes. Per Maserati practice, the front suspension was independent and the rear solid axle. Acceleration 0-60 for both the 3.7 litre and 4.0 litre engines was around or just under 7 seconds, and top speed approximately 140 mph (225 km/h) to 145 mph (233 km/h). The body was designed by Pietro Frua and first shown in a preview at the Salone Internazionale dell’Automobile di Torino in November 1963. It is generally considered one of the most beautiful Maseratis of all time. It is also often confused with the very similar looking but larger and more powerful Frua designed AC 428. A total of 828 coupés and 125 Spyders were built. Only the Spyder received the 3500 engine; just 12 were made, along with 76 3.7 litre and 37 4.0 litre versions. Twenty Spyders were right hand drive. The Mistral was succeeded by the Ghibli, which overlapped production from 1967 on.
The original Biturbo, first seen in 1981, was a two-door, four-seater notchback coupé, slightly smaller than the BMW 3 Series of the time) featuring, as the name implies, a two-litre V6 engine with two turbochargers (the first car ever to do so) and a luxurious interior. The car was designed by Pierangelo Andreani, Chief of Centro Stile Maserati up to 1981, somewhat influenced by the design of the recent Quattroporte III. The BiTurbo marked quite a change of direction for the Modense firm, a consequence of its acquisition by Alejandro de Tomaso in 1976. de Tomaso’s ambitious plans for the marque were to combine the prestige of the Maserati brand with a sports car that would be more affordable than the earlier high-priced models that had traditionally made up the Maserati range. The Biturbo was initially a strong seller and brought Italian prestige to a wide audience, with sales of about 40,000 units, but it quickly became apparent that the quality of the car was way off what the market expected, and the car is not regarded as one of the marque’s better models. Indeed, the Biturbo is number 28 in the BBC book of “Crap Cars” and in 2007 was selected as Time Magazine’s worst car of 1984, although they ranked the Chrysler TC by Maserati as a “greater ignominy”. Between 1987–89 a facelift was phased in, which helped to soften the sharp bodylines. The redesign included a taller and more rounded grille with mesh grille and bonnet, aerodynamic wing mirrors and 15″ disc-shaped alloy wheels, now mounted on 5-lug hubs. Some models received the wraparound bumpers with integral foglights and the deep sills introduced with the 2.24v. In 1991 the entire lineup was restyled for a second time, again by the hand of Marcello Gandini; the design features introduced with the Shamal were spread to the other models. Gandini, the Shamal’s designer, developed an aerodynamic kit that included a unique spoiler at the base of the windscreen hiding the windshield wipers, a rear spoiler, and side skirts. The new two-element headlights used poli-ellypsoidal projectors developed by Magneti-Marelli. Inset in body-colour housings, they flanked a redesigned grille, slimmer and integrated in the bonnet; the 1988 bumpers were adopted by all models. The 15″ disc-shaped alloys were replaced by new 16″ seven-spoke wheels, with a hubcap designed to look like a centerlock nut. The second facelift was referred to as “nuovolook”. The engines underwent change, too. As well as being the first ever production car with a twin-turbocharged engine, it was also the first production car engine with three valves per cylinder. The aluminium 90-degree SOHC V6 engine was roughly based on the 2.0 litre Merak engine, itself based on earlier V8 Formula One Maserati engines, designed by Giulio Alfieri. Because in Italy new cars with engine displacement over 2000 cc were subjected to a 38% value added tax, against 19% on smaller displacement cars, throughout the Biturbo’s production life there were both two-litre models aimed mainly at the domestic market and “export” versions, initially with a 2.5 litre V6. The carburettor 2.5 unit produced 185 hp and 208 lb·ft of torque in North American spec and slightly more elsewhere. Fuel injection was fitted in 1987 raising power to 187 hp. In 1989 the enlarged 2.8 litre engine bumped power to 225 hp and 246 lb·ft of torque for North America and 250 PS for Europe. In 1988, with the coupés being restyled, the Biturbo name was dropped in favour of 222—meaning 2-door, 2-litre engine and 2nd generation. The car carried all the visual clues of Gandini’s first facelift, with a more rounded grille and bonnet, different wing mirrors and rear spoiler. The engine size of the 222 E export model grew from the Biturbo’s 2.5- to 2.8-litres. A mixed velour-leather interior was standard on the domestic models, while export markets got leather upholstery as standard. 1990 saw the arrival of the 2.8 litre 222 SE, heir to the Biturbo ES. It inherited the latter’s limited paint finish availability (red, silver or black) and the dark trim and grille, while modern aprons and side skirts (blacked out as well) came from the 2.24v. After just a year the 222 SE was replaced by the 1991-restyled 222 SR; the SR offered adaptive suspension as an option. Simultaneously the very similar 222 4v. joined the lineup; it was a 222 SR with a 2.8 litre four-valve engine, the first DOHC car in the direct Biturbo E lineage. It used wider, 16″ 7-spoke wheels.
Called the Sporting 4×4, what we would now call an SUV was built between 1978 and 1980. It was based on the Fiat Campagnola and was powered by a 2 litre petrol engine.
This elegant coupe model was based on the Fiat 124, and it shared the same mechanicals as the saloon on which it was based. A small number of these cars were constructed between 1968 and 1970.
Automotive Design and Development Ltd (ADD) was an English company responsible for the creation of the futuristic-looking Nova kit car. It was based in Southampton from 1971 to 1973 after which it moved to Accrington, Lancashire until 1975. ADD failed and the rights to the Nova were bought by Nova Cars in Mirfield, West Yorkshire in 1978, which continued until 1990. A low volume production run was made by Nova Developments in Cornwall in the 1990s and the company was sold to India-based Aerotec Nova around 1996. The car was styled by Richard Oakes with engineering by Phil Sayers, combining a fibreglass shell on a VW Beetle chassis and mechanicals. A two-seater, it was highlighted by a dramatically opening canopy that combined roof and doors into one. Licensed versions of the Nova have been built in Austria as the Ledl, in Australia as the Purvis Eureka, in France as the Défi, in Italy as the Totem and Puma, in New Zealand as the Scorpion, in South Africa as the Eagle, in Switzerland as the Gryff, in the United States as the Sterling and Sovran and in Zimbabwe as the Tarantula. There have also been numerous unlicensed copies. Some versions featured pop-up head lamps and gull-wing doors, but the basic silhouette remained the same.
One of the revelations of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1961, the Prinz 4 replaced the original Prinz. Its new body closely resembled the then fashionable Chevrolet Corvair, but was of course much smaller. Like the original Prinz, it was powered by a two-cylinder air-cooled engine in the rear. The Prinz 4 was much improved and continued to be a well-engineered car, like its predecessors. The engine carried on the tradition of eccentric rod driven camshaft inherited from NSU motorcycle engines and interestingly had a dynastart (combined starter/generator) built into the crankcase. Later four-cylinder engines adopted the more conventional (pre-engaged) separate starter motor and alternator. In 1968, Britain’s Autocar road tested a Super Prinz. They had tested a Prinz 4 in 1962, and in commenting on how little the car had changed in the intervening six years quipped some of their road testers appeared to have gained more weight than the commendably light-weight Prinz in that period. The test car achieved a top speed of 113 km/h (70 mph) and accelerated to 60 mph in 35.7 seconds. The home grown Mini 850 reached 97 km/h (60 mph) in 29.5 seconds in an equivalent recent test and also managed to beat the NSU’s top speed, albeit only by about 3%. At this time, the UK car market was heavily protected by tariffs, and the Prinz’s UK manufacturer’s recommended retail price was £597, which was more than the £561 asked for the 850 cc Mini, but certainly not completely out of touch with it. The testers concluded their report that the car was competitively priced in its class and performed adequately. They opined, cautiously, it offered ‘no more than the rest’ but neither did it ‘lack anything important’.
Oldest Peugeot here was this 1934 401. A mid-size model, it was introduced at the 1934 Paris Motor Show and was again on display at the 29th Paris Show in October 1935. It featured in a full page newspaper advertisement placed by Peugeot in “L’Argus” on 10 October 1935, and disappeared from the manufacturer’s price list only three months later, at the start of 1936, reflecting the need to dispose of an inventory backlog. Production of the 401 had already come to an end in August 1935, less than a year after the model’s introduction. The 401 was powered by an enlarged version of the engine from the smaller Peugeot 301 and slotted between that model and the range-topping 601. The 401’s four cylinder side-valve engine displaced 1,720 cc and produced 44 bhp at 3,500 rpm. Models of the 401 include the 401 D, 401 DL, and 401 DLT. Though the majority were made as sedans, the 401 was offered with no fewer than eleven different body styles. It had a short production life before being replaced by the 402 model in late 1935.
The 504 celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and there were a number of special displays of the car during the year. Seen here was simply one of the very elegant Coupe models. The 504 was noted for its robust body structure, long suspension travel, and torque tube drive shaft – enclosed in a rigid tube attached at each end to the gearbox housing and differential casing, relieving drive train torque reactions. The 504 ultimately achieved widespread popularity in far-flung rough-terrain countries – including Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, Kenya and Nigeria. More than three million 504s were manufactured in its European production, with production continuing globally under various licensing arrangements – including 27,000 assembled in Kenya and 425,000 assembled in Nigeria, using knock-down kits – with production extending into 2006. Marketed as Peugeot’s flagship saloon car, the 504 made its public debut on 12 September 1968 at the Paris Salon. The press launch which had been scheduled for June 1968 was at the last minute deferred by three months, and production got off to a similarly delayed start because of the political and industrial disruption which exploded across France in May 1968. The 504 was a sunroof-equipped four-door saloon, introduced with a carbureted 1,796 cc four-cylinder petrol engine 79 bhp with optional fuel injection. A column-mounted four-speed manual transmission was standard; a three-speed ZF 3HP12 automatic available as an upgrade. The 504 was European Car of the Year in 1969, praised for its styling, quality, chassis, ride, visibility, strong engine and refinement. 1969 was also when the 504 reached the Australian market. The 504 Injection two-door coupé and two-door cabriolet were introduced at the Salon de Geneva in March 1969. The engine produced the same 79 bhp as in the fuel-injected saloon, but the final drive ratio was slightly revised to give a slightly higher road speed of 20.6 mph (33.2 km/h) at 1,000 rpm. The 504 received a new four-cylinder 1971 cc engine, rated at 96 bhp (carburated) and 104 bhp (fuel-injected), and a four-cylinder 2112 cc diesel engine rated at 65 bhp. The 1796 cc engine remained available. In September 1970 an estate (“Break”) was added, featuring a higher rear roof, lengthened wheel base, and solid rear axle with four coil springs. It was joined by the 7-seat “Familiale”, which had all its occupants facing forward in three rows of seats. In April 1973, because of the oil crisis Peugeot presented the 504 L. It featured a coil sprung live rear axle and a smaller 1796 cc engine rated at 79 bhp (81 bhp for Automatic). The different rear axle required somewhat more space; this required some alterations to the floor pan which meant marginally less boot space and rear headroom. At the 1974 October Motor Show Peugeot presented a more powerful engine for the 504 coupé and cabriolet, now fitted with a 2664 cc V6 unit developed in collaboration with Volvo and Renault. This was the same engine that would be used for the 604 berline, to be introduced at Geneva five months later, in March 1975. The engine incorporated various innovative features such as an aluminium cylinder block, and a fuel-feed system that employed carburettors of differing type, one (type 34 TBIA) featuring a single chamber controlled directly according to the movement of the accelerator pedal, and the second being a twin chamber carburetor (type 35 CEEI) designed to operate simultaneously with the first, using a pneumatic linkage. Maximum output for the 504 coupé and cabriolet fitted with this new V6 engine was given as 136 bhp, supporting a top speed of 186 km/h (116 mph). During 1975, the first full year of production, 2643 of these six-cylinder 504 coupés and cabriolet were produced, which was considered a respectable number, although dwarfed by the 236,733 four-cylinder 504 “berlines” (saloons/sedans) and “breaks” (estates/station wagons) produced by Peugeot in France in the same year. Following the launch of the six-cylinder cars, the four-cylinder versions of the coupé and cabriolet 504s were delisted: they returned to the showrooms in 1978 in response, it was reported, to customer demand. At the Paris Motor Show of October 1976 the option of an enlarged diesel engine was introduced. The stroke of 83 mm remained the same as that of the existing 2112 cc diesel motor, but for the larger engine the bore was increased to 94 mm, giving an overall 2304 cc along with an increase in claimed power output from 65 to 70 bhp. The 2112 cc diesel engine would also find its way into the Ford Granada since Ford did not at the time produce a sufficient volume of diesel sedans in this class to justify the development of their own diesel engine. Peugeot 504 production in Europe was pruned back in 1979 with the launch of the Peugeot 505, although the 504 Pickup was introduced as a replacement for the 404 Pickup for the 1980 model year. The last European-made example rolled off the production line in 1983, although the pick up version continued in production, and was available in Europe until 1993. More than three million 504 passenger cars were produced in Europe. The 505 shared most of the Peugeot 504 mechanical parts, similarly to the Peugeot 604 and Talbot Tagora. As of December 2015, 197 examples of the Peugeot 504 are still in use in Britain.
The Peugeot 204, a small family car, was produced between 1965 and 1976. It was launched in Paris on 23 April 1965 and was Peugeot’s first venture into the world of front wheel drive. The car came with a single overhead cam aluminium alloy transversely-mounted 1130 cc petrol engine (the maximum allowed for the 6CV ‘car tax’ class in France at the time), a format which would become the sine qua non of small cars over the next few years, but which was relatively unusual in the mid 60s. The gearbox and differential were located directly below the engine block, and the 204 was also the first Peugeot to be equipped with disc brakes, albeit only on the front wheels. It was praised for its excellent handling, decent performance and good fuel economy. The compact engine and the transverse engine combined with a body wider than the class average to provide a level of interior space comparable to larger cars such as Peugeot’s own 404: both cars were Pininfarina designs. The 204 featured neither the fins of the 404 nor the sharp corners characteristic of the other major French launch of 1965. The resulting less aggressive look has been seen as a ‘more European’ moving away from a tendency to follow US styling trends that had been apparent in new car launches during the preceding two decades. The Peugeot 204’s frontal styling owed much to the 1961 Cadillac Jacqueline by Pininfarina, whilst its rear and that of the prototype Pininfarina styled Mini-based MG ADO 34 of 1964 are strikingly similar. The rear end of the 1970 Lancia Flavia Pininfarina Coupe of 1969–74 also displays the same influence. The options list was not extensive but, as with the larger Peugeot sedans, it was possible to specify a sliding steel panel sunroof. At launch only the four-door saloon version was offered, but the five-door ‘break’ estate came along less than six months later in the Autumn of 1965. 1966 saw the arrival of a two-door cabriolet and a three-door hatchback, marketed as a coupé. Both employed a shortened chassis and were priced only 20% above the level of the (admittedly not particularly aggressively priced) saloon. The range was completed in 1966 with the arrival of the ‘fourgonette’ van version which in most respects followed the design of the estate, but with only one door on each side and a steel panel in place of the side windows behind the B pillar. Towards the end of 1968, a 1255 cc diesel engine option became available for the 204 Estate and Fourgonette (van) versions. At the time, this is thought to have been the smallest diesel engine fitted in a commercially available car anywhere in the world. In April 1973 the diesel unit was increased in size to 1357 cc, and in September 1975 this diesel unit finally became an option on the 204 saloon. Fuel economy on the 204 Diesel was startlingly good, with overall fuel consumption at 5.7 litres per 100 km, but performance was correspondingly underwhelming with a claimed top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph). Out of the approximately 150,000 diesel 204s produced, fewer than 30,000 were saloons. When the Peugeot 204 was launched in 1965, obvious domestic market competitors were the Renault 10 and the Simca 1300. Both were rear-wheel-drive, and the Renault was rear-engined. Of the traditionally more avant garde competitors, Citroën produced, till 1970, only cars that were substantially smaller or substantially larger while Panhard, starved of product investment, had retreated into a low volume niche, offering a model which would soon be withdrawn in order to free up production capacity for small Citroën vans. For Peugeot, a traditional manufacturer of conventional bourgeois sedans, to launch a transverse-engined front-wheel-drive saloon, was startling: no secret was made of the extent to which the 204 had been inspired by British developments from BMC. The Peugeot was the same length as the Renault 10 and over 20 cm shorter than the Simca 1300, but its configuration conferred a clear space advantage, as subsequent model introductions from Simca in 1967 and Renault in 1970 appeared to acknowledge. Sales of the 204 got off to a cautious start, with no need to compete solely on price: the car was heavily trailed by press leaks so that by the time of its formal announcement over 5,000 had already been ordered unseen. By 1969 the 204 had nonetheless climbed to the top of the French sales charts and, together with the newly introduced 204 based 304, redefined the domestic market for small sedans in the process. The sales success of the 204 also moved Peugeot from fourth to second place in the French sales charts, overtaking Simca and Citroen in the process. In this case market share seems to have been increased without excessively compromising corporate profitability: the commercial rivals would each suffer a financial collapse, the businesses both coming under the control of Peugeot, within the next ten years. In the 1960s Europe was still for most purposes divided into national markets and 72% of the 204s produced were sold in France. Principal export markets within Europe were West Germany and Benelux. However, most western European markets took some 204s. In Africa the 204 never achieved the popularity of its larger siblings. Nevertheless, the 204 was not entirely unknown outside Europe. In the UK, the car was expensive. Launch cars listed at £903 when you could buy a much more plush Triumph 1300 for £835, so whilst the car was praised by the press for its dynamic attributes, its meagre levels of equipment were also an impediment to sales. 1969 had seen the launch of the Peugeot 304 which was essentially a 204 with a slightly larger engine, a restyled front end and, in the case of the saloon version, a substantially increased rear overhang giving rise to more luggage space. The 204 range was correspondingly pruned: the 204 coupé and cabriolet received the dashboard of the new 304 in 1969 only to be withdrawn in 1970, replaced by similarly bodied 304 equivalents. The estate and fourgonette continued to be offered, along with the saloon, until the 204 range was withdrawn in 1976. Although the model run lasted more than a decade, the Peugeot 204 changed very little during that time: very early saloons/berlines had a split rear bumper with numberplate set between the two halves, a flat rear panel and small oval tail lights. For 1975, the stainless steel front grill was replaced by a black plastic grill of the same overall shape. The gearshift for RHD UK cars was moved from the steering column to the floor and then in September 1975, less than a year before production ceased, it received a more modern petrol engine, now of 1127 cc. Claimed maximum output, which at launch had been 53 bhp, increased to 59 bhp, though there was a marginal reduction in maximum torque. Following the demise of the 204 the new 1127 cc engine found its way into a version of the Peugeot 304 estate: the smaller engine enjoyed in France tax benefits when compared to the 1290 cc engines fitted to most 304s. In 1976, when the 204 was withdrawn, it had been joined in the Peugeot range by the ‘supermini’ class Peugeot 104. Like the 203 before it, the 204 had no immediate replacement. Ultimately the hatchback Peugeot 205 introduced late in 1982 occupied a market position comparable to that occupied till 1976 by the 204. In the meantime the Peugeot 304 soldiered on until 1980, complemented since late 1977 by its 305 replacement. Once the 304 was being produced in tandem with its successor it could be priced more aggressively, so that customers who till 1976 would have chosen a 204 were able to afford what was virtually the same car with a larger engine and a larger boot.
On its launch in 1972, the Peugeot 104 was offered as a compact four-door saloon. Although it had a short, sloping rear end that suggested a hatchback, there was originally a separate boot/trunk, as on a conventional saloon. Power was provided from a 954 cc Douvrin engine called the PSA X engine, an all-aluminium alloy, chain driven overhead cam, with gearbox in the sump, sharing engine oil, which was jointly developed with Renault. This transmission-in-sump arrangement was similar to that pioneered by the Mini. It gave good levels of economy and refinement as well as having an impressive chassis which made ride and handling excellent. The engine was mounted leaning backwards, at a 72 degree angle. A three-door coupé was launched on a shortened chassis, with the same 954 cc engine as the saloon. Headlights were larger and rectangular in shape, rather than square. Originally sold as the “104 Coupé”, shorter wheelbase models later received names beginning with a “Z” (e.g. ZL, ZA, ZS2). Equipment levels which begin with a “G” or an “S” were used for the longer four/five-door variants. A facelift in July 1976 saw the four-door saloon replaced with a five-door hatchback. Peugeot had been afraid that a five-door 104 would steal sales from the old-fashioned 204 Break, but with production of the 204 coming to an end in July 1976 this was no longer a concern. Rear light clusters were modified slightly with indicators that wrapped around to the sides of the car, and a 1.1-litre engine was also made available. The coupé was made available in two versions, the ZL and also the more powerful ZS with 66 PS. A modified camshaft on the 954 cc engines also retarded the valve timing in order to favour fuel economy at the price of a slight power reduction. The revised models only appeared in right-hand drive form at the end of the year. 1977 proved to be the most successful year for the 104, with 190,000 being built. For the 1978 facelift, the coupé gained a third (cheaper) commercial variant with only two seats, the ZA, and all coupé variants were given larger rear light clusters with integral reversing lights. Higher specification five-door models gained the larger headlights and grille introduced for the coupé. The more powerful engine from the ZS was briefly available in the five-door hatchback “Sundgau” special edition, of which 1,200 examples were built in March and April 1978. For 1979 the ZL Coupé was upgraded to a 57 PS version of the 1,124 cc engine. The 1980 facelift was minor, with model designations changing in line with other vehicles in the Peugeot line-up. However, a 1.2-litre engine was now also offered (in the SR), with the same power as the lesser 1.1 The 1982 facelift incorporated smaller headlights, a new grille and rear light clusters that included reversing lights. The amount of chrome trim was reduced and generally replaced by black plastic. At the end of summer, the ZS coupé variant was given an 80 PS (79 hp) 1,360 cc engine to improve its performance. The existing 72 PS version remained on sale at a lower price until the 1984 model year was introduced. The power gain was achieved by using two carburettors rather than one double-barrel unit. In 1983, the number of models offered was reduced to make way for the new 205 and exports to most foreign markets gradually came to an end. It remained on sale in France until the end of production in 1988. The sporting ZS remained on sale until late 1985; for the 1986 model year only the 50 PS 1,124 cc engine remained. There was a minor facelift in 1987, introducing a new grille with three body-coloured horizontal bars and anthracite bumpers – now without a chrome band. The Z, Style Z, and five-door GLS continued to be available with this engine in the home market until 1988.
Peugeot launched their new “supermini”, the 205 in January 1983, just one day after Fiat had presented the Uno, one of the car’s principal rivals. It was an immediate hit, with smart styling and a range of engines which combined with sharp handling made it good to drive. Mindful of the success of the Golf GTi, in the class above, and how a small car with good handling could take more power, as the Mini Cooper had proved, Peugeot came up with the GTi in early 1984. The first models had a 1.6 litre XU5J engine, producing 105 PS, which was uprated in 1987 with a cylinder head with larger valves thus becoming XU5JA, which took the power output up to 115 bhp. Visually the car retained the good looks of the 3 door version of the regular models, but it featured plastic wheel arch extensions and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances and judicious use of red badging and trim. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels , and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked anti-roll bar. Red was a dominant colour inside. The car was an instant hit. At the end of 1986, Peugeot followed up with a more potent model, the 1.9 GTi, whose XU9JA engine produced 128 PS. Internally the engine of this car and the 1.6 model are very similar, the main differences on 1.9 litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6 litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9 litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTi and the 1.9 GTi are half-leather seats on the 1.9 GTi vs. cloth seats and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTi) vs. discs at the front and drum brakes at the back; as well as the 14-inch Speedline SL201 wheels on the 1.6 GTi vs. 15 inch Speedline SL299 alloys on the 1.9 GTi. The 205 is still often treated as a benchmark in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although they came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306. A cabriolet version of the 205, known as the CJ (or CT in France), was designed and partially assembled by Pininfarina of Italy. A CTi version, with the same plastic arches and wheels as the 1.6 GTI was also available. Only minor changes were made to the car in the next few years, with the most obvious visual change being the switch to grey bumpers and trim from black ones in 1990, along with revised lights. A new dashboard had been incorporated across the entire 205 range a couple of years before this. Sales of the GTI in the UK in the early 1990s were badly hit by soaring insurance premiums, brought about by high theft and ‘joyriding’ of cars of this sort. Increasingly stringent emissions regulations meant the 1.6 GTi went out of production in 1992, while the 1.9 litre was sold for a couple more years thanks to re-engineering of the engine to enable it to work properly with a catalytic converter, which dropped power to 122 bhp. Many of them had a hard life, but there are some nice original cars out there and people are starting to spend serious money in restoring them. It is the GTi models you see most often, but seen here a couple of Cabrio cars, a 205 CJ and a CTi.
POLIZIA, CARABINIERI and GUARDIA da FINANZA
A feature at the event, just as you get at the Padova Show is a display of historic cars and other exhibits associated with various of the Italian law enforcement agencies, the Polizia, Carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza, with the cars sourced from the “Museo delle Auto della Polizia di Stato” in Rome. To be seen here were Carabinieri examples of the Fiat Campagnola and the current Jeep Cherokee, and Polizia versions of the Alfa Giulia Berlina, a Moto Guzzi bike plus another Fiat Campagnola as well as the latest BMW 3 Series Touring which you will see out on the roads in 2019.
Oldest of the Porsche models to be seen were both Coupe and Cabrio versions of the 356, the model created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche (son of Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company), who founded the Austrian company with his sister, Louise. Like its cousin, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche Senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilising unitised pan and body construction. The chassis was a completely new design as was the 356’s body which was designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, while certain mechanical components including the engine case and some suspension components were based on and initially sourced from Volkswagen. Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with the editor of Panorama, the PCA magazine, in September 1972. “….I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. ….By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia (Gmünd)”. The first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948, and was entered in a race in Innsbruck where it won its class. Porsche re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. Fewer and fewer parts were shared between Volkswagen and Porsche as the ’50’s progressed. The early 356 automobile bodies produced at Gmünd were handcrafted in aluminium, but when production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950, models produced there were steel-bodied. Looking back, the aluminium bodied cars from that very small company are what we now would refer to as prototypes. Porsche contracted with Reutter to build the steel bodies and eventually bought the Reutter company in 1963. The Reutter company retained the seat manufacturing part of the business and changed its name to Recaro. Little noticed at its inception, mostly by a small number of auto racing enthusiasts, the first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles. By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. The class win at Le Mans in 1951 was clearly a factor. It was always common for owners to race the car as well as drive them on the streets. They introduced the four-cam racing “Carrera” engine, a totally new design and unique to Porsche sports cars, in late 1954. Increasing success with its racing and road cars brought Porsche orders for over 10,000 units in 1964, and by the time 356 production ended in 1965 approximately 76,000 had been produced. The 356 was built in four distinct series, the original (“pre-A”), followed by the 356 A, 356 B, and then finally the 356 C. To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupés and “cabriolets” (soft-top) built through 1955 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (centre-creased, 1953 to 1955) windscreens. In late 1955 the 356 A appeared, with a curved windshield. The A was the first road going Porsche to offer the Carrera 4 cam engine as an option. In late 1959 the T5 356 B appeared; followed by the redesigned T6 series 356 B in 1962. The final version was the 356 C, little changed from the late T6 B cars but with disc brakes to replace the drums.
There were far fewer 911 models here than you get at Padova, but the model was not completely unrepresented, with an early car as well as the 911 Speedster of the mid 80s both to be seen here.
Completing the Porsche family of cars was this Tractor
Renault made over 8 million R4 models between 1961 and the end of production in 1992, and the car was very popular not just in its native France, but throughout Europe throughout the 70s, but when did you last see one? There are some left, but not many, as rust has claimed almost all those 8 million, even in its native France. There was one here, a late model car which had the 1108cc engine was standard, and the handbrake had been moved to the floor, though it still had the toffee apple on a stick style gear lever sprouting from the middle of the dash.
It was nice to see a R12 Estate here. This 2.5 million unit selling car was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1969. Work had begun on it was early as January 1964, when the Styling Centre began to design a model intended to bridge the gap between the Renault 8 and the Renault 16. At the time of its launch, the R12 was only available as a 4-door saloon, in L and TL specifications. The more expensive TL featured two separate reclining front seats instead of one front bench seat, armrests on the doors, lights in the boot and glovebox, a heated rear window, and extra warning lights. It would have been a simple matter to install the light weight engine from the Renault 16 in the Renault 12, and this was later done for some high-end versions. However Renault had successfully built market share since 1945 by competing aggressively on price. In the closely contested 1300cc category it was left to the new Peugeot 304 to attract customers willing to pay a premium price, while for the Renault 12, at launch, the aluminium block of the Renault 16 was rejected on cost grounds. Instead, Renault specified an enlarged version of the iron Cléon unit, used since 1962 in the Renault 8/10. The engine’s size was increased to 1289 cc for use in the 12. Listed power output was 60 hp which provided for a respectable top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph). The new version of the five-bearing engine initially fitted on the Renault 12 retained the removable cylinder liners that Renault had long favoured. The longitudinal placement of the engine, most of its mass positioned ahead of the front wheels, allowed the R12 to have a very simple design of the gear-selector that was placed on the floor of the car, and not on the dashboard as with the R4 or on the steering column as with the R16. On the early cars the handle to operate the handbrake was placed under the dashboard. The handbrake was later relocated to a position between the two front seats. The R12’s suspension also differed from that of the R4 and R16, using a rigid (but light) rear axle as opposed to four-wheel independent suspension. The use of a rigid rear axle from a manufacturer that had championed all-round independent suspension for twenty-five years was seen by many commentators as a retrograde step. In 1970, two new variants were introduced. The estate was launched with the same trim levels and engines as in the saloon and a high performance Renault 12 Gordini model was introduced equipped with the all-aluminium 1565 cc block from the R16 TS fitted with two double-barrel Weber carburettors producing 125 PS (123 hp), a reinforced crankshaft, a five speed gearbox, ventilated disc brakes on the front wheels and normal disc brakes on the rear wheels, as well as a tuned suspension. The Gordini was able to reach 185 km/h (115 mph) and was sold with paint schemes comprising a solid pastel colour (there were several to choose from) with double white stripes added on, the most famous combination being French Blue with stripes. 2225 Renault 12 Gordinis were sold in 1971 but after that sales began a free fall. Renault stopped production of the Gordini in 1974 after 5188 had been sold (compared to 11,607 Renault 8 Gordinis). In October 1972, the more upmarket R12 TS was introduced. It used the same 1289 cc engine as in other R12s, but was equipped with a single, double barrel Weber carburettor, which increased power to 64 PS ( 63 hp) and raised the top speed to 150 km/h (93 mph). Aesthetically, the car was distinguishable from other R12s by its special Gordini-style wheels, a chrome strip along the side of the car, and in some countries, two extra headlights. The TS also featured integrated headrests, a tachometer and a cooling-fluid temperature gauge. October 1972 was also when the hand brake lever was relocated from a position ahead of the driver to a floor-mounted location between the front seats. This became possible because now, even on the base “L” version of the car, the front bench seat was replaced by two individual seats. In October 1973, the R12 TR appeared. This model slotted between the TL and TS, and had automatic transmission as standard. The whole range was facelifted in 1975 with a simplified grille, new rear lamps and dashboard. The Renault 12’s successor, the Renault 18, was launched in 1978, but French production of the Renault 12 continued for two more years in spite of its successor’s instant popularity.
The Renault R5 was styled by Michel Boué, who designed the car in his spare time, outside of his normal duties. When Renault executives learned of Boué’s work, they were so impressed by his concept they immediately authorized a formal development programme. The R5 was launched in January 1972, going on sale in Europe that year, but not reaching the UK until 1973. It was well received and narrowly missed out on the 1973 European Car of the Year award, which was instead given to the Audi 80. The R5 borrowed mechanicals from the similarly popular Renault 4, using a longitudinally-mounted engine driving the front wheels with torsion bar suspension. OHV engines were borrowed from the Renault 4 and larger Renault 8: there was a choice, at launch, between 782 cc and 956 cc according to price level. A “5TS/5LS” with the 1,289 cc engine from the Renault 12 was added from April 1974. As on the Renault 4, entry level Renault 5s had their engine sizes increased to 845 cc in 1976 and at the top of the range later models had the engine sizes expanded to 1,397 cc. It was one of the first modern superminis, which capitalised on the new hatchback design, developed by Renault in the mid 1960s on its larger R16. It was launched a year after the booted version of the Fiat 127, and during the same year that the 127 became available with a hatchback. Within five years, a number of rival manufacturers – namely Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen – had launched a similar car. The Renault 5 was targeted at cost conscious customers, and the entry level “L” version came with the same 782 cc power plant as the cheaper Renault 4 and drum brakes on all four wheels. In 1972 it was priced in France at below 10,000 francs. However, for many export markets the entry level version was excluded from the range and front wheel disc brakes were offered on the more powerful 956 cc “Renault 5TL” along with such attractions under the bonnet and an alternator, and in the cabin reclining back rests for the front seats. From outside the “TL” was differentiated from the “L” by a thin chrome strip below the doors. The early production R5 used a dashboard-mounted gearshift, linked by a rod which ran over the top of the engine to a single bend where the rod turned downwards and linked into the gearbox, which was positioned directly in front of the engine. A floor-mounted lever employing a cable linkage replaced this arrangement in 1973. An automatic version, with the larger 1,289 cc engine, was added in early 1978. At the time, the automatic usually represented just under five percent of overall Renault 5 production. Door handles were formed by a cut-out in the door panel and B-pillar. The R5 was one of the first cars produced with plastic (polyester and glass fibre) bumpers, which came from a specialist Renault factory at Dreux. These covered a larger area of potential contact than conventional car bumpers of the time and survived low speed parking shunts without permanently distorting. This helped the car gain a reputation as an “outstanding city car”, and bumpers of this type subsequently became an industry standard. The R5’s engine was set well back in the engine bay, behind the gearbox, allowing the stowage of the spare wheel under the bonnet/hood, an arrangement that freed more space for passengers and luggage within the cabin. The GTL version, added in 1976, featured a 1,289cc engine tuned for economy rather than performance and was distinguished from earlier versions by thick polyester protection panels along the sides. A five-door R5 was added to the range in 1979, making it one of the first cars of its size to feature four passenger doors. The three-speed Automatic, which received equipment similar to the R5 GTL but with a 1,289 cc 55 bhp engine, a vinyl roof, and the TS’ front seats, also became available with five-door bodywork. In March 1981 the automatic received a somewhat more powerful 1.4 litre engine, which paradoxically increased both performance and fuel economy at all speeds.
The Renault 5 Alpine was one of the first hot-hatches, launched in 1976 – going on sale around the same time as the original Volkswagen Golf GTI. In the UK, the car was sold as the Renault 5 Gordini because Chrysler Europe already had the rights to the name “Alpine” in the UK and it had just been introduced on the Chrysler Alpine at the time. Use of the name Gordini was from Amédée Gordini, who was a French tuner with strong links with Renault and previous sporting models such as the Renault 8. This (and the later Alpine Turbo models) were assembled at Alpine’s Dieppe plant, beginning in 1975. The 1397 cc engine, mated to a five-speed gearbox, was based on the Renault “Sierra” pushrod engine, but having a crossflow cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers and developed 93 PS, twice as much as a standard 1.1 litre Renault R5. The larger engine and its various performance parts meant that the spare tyre could no longer fit there and was relocated to the boot. The Alpine could be identified by special alloy wheels and front fog lights and was equipped with stiffened suspension, but still retaining the torsion bar all round. The car was upgraded in 1982 when a Turbo version was introduced. It was replaced by the Supercinq model in 1985.
The Renault 18 was intended as a replacement for the Renault 12, which, having been in production since 1969, was beginning to show its age by the late 1970s, though the 12 was kept in production alongside the 18 until 1980. Unlike the earlier car, the 18 was designed quickly; the time between its initial conception and its actual launch date was only eighteen months, primarily due to the fact that the 18 was based upon the 12’s underpinnings. Production peaked early: 1979 was the R18’s biggest year, after which sales began a gradual decline. Originally, the 1.4 was the most popular model, but this soon changed to the 1.6. By 1986 the largest, 2-litre engine represented the biggest portion of production. Although Renault made numerous forays into international markets in countries such as Argentina with the 12, their first true “world car” was their 18, hence the slogan Meeting International Requirements, which (as well as in France) would later be produced in ten other countries and four continents around the world. In 1981, the Renault 18 was selected by India’s massive public sector car manufacturing project Maruti Udyog to be built there at a rate of 100,000 cars per year – including a pickup truck version meant to compete with small Japanese trucks. However, after closer review and at the direction of Rajiv Gandhi (who had always wanted to build a small people’s car) it was determined that the economics did not make sense and that a smaller, cheaper car would be the better option. Maruti instead linked up with Japanese Suzuki to build the subcompact Alto under license. The Renault 18 also formed the basis for the “Renault Eve” research car. This experimental fuel efficient concept car, powered by a 1.1 L engine from the R5, featured then state-of-the-art microcomputer microprocessor, an array of specialized sensors, an electronically controlled carburettor, continuously variable automatic transmission, as well as aerodynamics and use of lightweight materials. The project was sponsored by the French government. The Renault 18 went into production at Renault’s Flins factory in France in December 1977. It was presented at the Geneva Salon in March 1978, with marketing and sales starting the following month. Initially, the R18 was only available as a four-door saloon, in TL, GTL, TS and GTS trim variations. The TL and GTL were powered by the 1397 cc Renault Cléon petrol engine (which was developed from the 1289 cc engine from the Renault 12), which produced 64 PS. Both models had a four-speed gearbox. The TS and GTS were powered by the 1647 cc A-Type engine (which was the same as used in the Renault 17 TS) but without the fuel injection, which lowered the output to 79 PS. The TS had a four-speed manual gearbox, while the GTS had a 5-speed manual gearbox, with optional 3-speed electronic automatic transmission available for both models. The automatic versions of the TS and GTS models were called the TS Automatic and GTS Automatic to distinguish them from their manual transmission counterparts. Assembly of the Dacia 18 began in Romania in 1978, but in a very small number (less than 100 ), mainly for the state. It was intended as a replacement for DACIA 1300, a model derived and based on Renault 12, but the licence and production between Dacia and Renault ended in 1979, so it was dropped. It was also presented at TIB’78, TIB meaning “Târgul Internațional București” (International Bucharest Fair). The 18 was Renault’s first car to use the 1.4 L Cléon engine in the medium-size car sector. The Renault 18 also used three-stud wheels (similar to those of the Citroën 2CV), rather than the four- or five-stud wheels common on most of its contemporaries. In 1980 Turbo and Diesel R18 models came fitted with four-stud wheels (necessitated by using suspension parts and wheels from the larger R20 and Fuego), with all versions using four-stud wheels from the 1983 facelift onwards. Deliveries began early in April 1978 and sales in the United Kingdom began just before Christmas. On the British market, it was designed to compete with the market leading Ford Cortina, Morris Marina, Vauxhall Cavalier and Chrysler Alpine – with all of these cars except the Alpine featuring rear-wheel drive. It was initially hugely successful on the UK market, peaking in 1980 as the tenth best selling car there with over 30,000 sales, but sales declined over the next few years in the face of new British-built competitors in the shape of the Ford Sierra, Vauxhall Cavalier, and Austin Montego. The first changes were announced for 1979 at the Paris Motor Show in October 1978. Rear-seat belts were now fitted as standard, and a manual choke replaced the automatic one with which the car had been launched. The station wagon as well as a new basic model, called simply the “Renault 18”, were introduced. Also new for 1979, the 18 Automatic became a separate model (with GTL trim) rather than simply a transmission option. A year later, all production models were outfitted with a new alternator that included a built-in electronic regulator. In July 1980, the 18 Diesel model was added. This model was mechanically similar to the Renault 20 Diesel, and was equipped with a 2068 cc engine (rated at 66 PS), negative offset front suspension, and larger four-stud wheels. The diesel-engined 18s came in two trim levels: TD and GTD. The basic TD (which was available as both a saloon and estate) had a four-speed gearbox and the equipment level of the TS, while the GTD (which was exclusively available as a saloon) had a five-speed gearbox and an equivalent equipment level as the GTS. Power-assisted steering was optional on the GTD, while a five-speed gearbox was optional on the TD. Diesel model sales never reached thirty percent of the overall annual production. The 18 Turbo model was introduced in September 1980, borrowing from other Renault models. The 18 Turbo featured a 1565 cc engine rated at 110 PS, five-speed gearbox, negative offset front suspension, four-stud alloy wheels, rear spoiler, dashboard and interior fittings from the Renault Fuego. A little later yet, a Turbodiesel version arrived; it had an 88 PS version of the 2.1-litre inline-four fitted to the TD/GTD and at the time it was the fastest car in its class. However, it soon had to compete with newer and quicker performance versions of the Vauxhall Cavalier (Opel Ascona) and Ford Sierra. Model year 1982 saw the introduction of several changes to the entire lineup of 18 models, shown in late 1981: the negative offset front suspension, previously available only on the Turbo and Diesel models, was made standard. The front indicator lenses were changed from orange to clear, bumpers and door handles were switched from chrome to black polyester, and the seats were restyled to provide more space in the rear seats. Model-specific changes included the available option of a five-speed gearbox on the TL; the GTL received an “economy-tune” 73 PS version of the 1647 cc engine, as well as a five-speed gearbox, higher final drive ratio, electronic ignition and an “economizer” gauge. The TS and GTS version were discontinued. A two-litre model entered production, for export only until late 1983. A special edition, the R18 “American” arrived in 1983. Limited to 5200 examples (1500 in the UK), it had a special black over silver two-tone paintjob and lots of “American-style” luxury equipment such as alloys and a plusher interior. It received the lower powered 1.6-litre engine and sold well enough that an “American 2” appeared in 1984. This version also featured central locks, a radio, and a choice of four colour schemes, and was built in 14,000 units (8000 for France and 6000 for the rest of Europe). The “Type 2” was introduced in April 1984. The grille was changed and all models gained a front air dam, while the saloons also received a standard rear spoiler. The three-stud wheel rims were replaced with the larger four-stud wheel rims (with the Base, TL and TD just having centre caps, and the GTL, Automatic, GTS and GTD all having full wheel trims). The biggest difference, however, was that the dashboard was replaced by that of the Fuego. The 2-litre GTX model was introduced in France in the fall of 1983. Subsequent years saw fewer changes to the 18 line, in preparation for the launch of the Renault 21 early in 1986. For 1986, a limited range was sold as the “18 Gala” in France, with the Turbo model discontinued during 1985 (only about 650 Turbos were built that year). By the late 1970s, European production of the Renault 12 was being gradually wound down, followed by the arrival of the estate versions of the Renault 18 on 1 March 1979. The R18 Estate (“Break” in French-speaking countries, Argentina, and some other markets) was only available in TL, LS and TS model variations, except in Australia where all Australian-assembled Renault 18s, sedans and station wagons, were GTS. 18i The station wagons provided comfortable seating for five, as well as featuring a folding rear bench seat that offered up to 65.5 cubic feet (1.85 m3) of cargo area with a 5.5-foot-long (1.68 m) flat floor and this carrying capacity was assisted by variable rate rear coil springs with long travel shock absorbers. They were otherwise mechanically identical to their saloon counterparts. The estates were identical to the saloons in equipment, except that the TS estate additionally featured shock-absorbent bumpers, door mouldings, and front seat head restraints from the 18 GTL saloon. The estate proved almost as popular as the saloon. In Germany the Break was originally marketed as the “Variable”, after the Type 2 facelift it became the “Combi”. In the Netherlands, it was called the “Stationcar”, while it was sold as the “Familiar” in Spain. In the United States, it was marketed as the “Wagon”, more commonly “Sportwagon”. July 1986 marked the end for the R18 in France. Production continued in Latin America until 1994, however, and the R18 also continued to be manufactured in France with the 2-litre petrol engine until 1989 for export only.
This R5 “Supercinq” is a special one off produced in 1985 by Ettorre Sottsaro.
Sole Alpine model here was one of the new and highly rated A110 sports cars.
This 1971 1501 Break was used as a Tour de France support car
Sole Talbot here was an example of the last new model to emerge to bear the marque’s branding, a Samba Rallye. Desperately needing a small car in the range, this hastily produced model was an adaptation of the far from new Peugeot 104Z, but enough was done to make it look different that it found some buyers, and the decision to add a Pininfarina styled Cabrio model to the range was certainly a good way of adding some interest to the range. The car was launched in 1981 and produced until 1986.
This striking machine is the Tecno Montecarlo race car “Nanni Galli”, featuring a V8 Alfa Romeo engine and a mono-fuel LPG system. It was presented by Fulvio Maria Ballabio, an Italian race car driver who founded the Monte Carlo Automobile car manufacturer. The environmentally-friendly supercar is the result of the investment of Monaco Montecarlo Engineering, which controls, which took over the Bologna-based Tecno brand still led by the founder Gianfranco Pederzani. The vehicle, made of carbon fibre, features a 4.7-litre Alfa Romeo V8 engine with 503 HP, and is powered exclusively by Autogas. According to Ballabio, this is the fastest car powered by this green fuel. During Turin show, Ballabio announced that the Tecno/Alfa Romeo LPG car will race in the GT Series Endurance Cup, in Monza or Mugello. A further driver is expected, who will be joined by the car builders Ballabio and Oscar Commi, and four times winner of the Endurance World Cup of Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Arturo Merzario. Ballabio also announced the possibility of a record attempt with an Autogas race car on the Nürburgring GT circuit in June with the driver Fabio Francia.
Another surprise sighting was this Crown 2600. Launched in February 1971, the 4M 2600 engine was introduced with this fourth generation model to bear the Crown name, as was the luxurious Super Saloon trim level, followed by the Super Deluxe and Deluxe. The top of the line Royal Saloon was first introduced in the face-lifted Crown from 1973, adding luxury features from the Century limousine. As was common at the time, there were far more variants available on the domestic market than we ever saw in Europe. We did, however, get all three bodystyles, a saloon, practical estate and pillarless coupe. European spec cars came with the 2600cc engine and were very well equipped especially compared to market rivals. The cars were reliable, but not seen as that good to drive, so found only limited success against such cars as the Ford Granada and Volvo 140 and 240 series. A fifth generation model arrived in 1975.
The Fiat 124 Vignale Coupé Eveline is a limited edition car produced by Vignale from 1967 to 1969 based on the Fiat 124 chassis. Vignale’s goal was to build a sporty looking car, but with four comfortable seats and a midrange engine and performance, anticipating the Ford Capri and Opel Manta models of the next few years. Alfredo Vignale, used the Fiat 124 sedan chassis for the “Eveline” maintaining the floor and the mechanics in addition to the front of the interior, with regard to the dashboard and instrumentation. Particular care was taken to create a sense of comfort in the car that was equipped with four separate armrests with central armrests and central ashtrays, front electric windows, compass windows, rear-view mirror with dimmable position, three courtesy lights, reverse light and double headlights. The list of modifications was completed by the two-spoke wood drivetrain and a wide choice of sixteen colour trims for the bodywork and five for the interior. The performance of the “Eveline” is similar to those of the sedan model from which it comes and, moreover, the 1,197cc engine with 60bhp was no slouch for the era. In 1969, the “Special Export” version was joined to the “Eveline” base, which mounted the “124 Special” engine of 1,438cc with 75bhp. Presented at the Turin car salon in 1967, around 200 were made.
Probably one of the more familiar products from this specialist maker was this 500 Gamine, sometimes known as the “noddy car”. Produced from 1967 to 1971, the Gamine was based on the Fiat 500, but unlike that car, however, the Gamine had an open-top Roadster structure and only two seats. Styling was by Alfredo Vignale. The Gamine is sometimes related in design to the Fiat 508 Balila. A hard-top was offered at an extra cost, and is considered these days to be quite rare. It was powered by a 2-cylinder, air-cooled engine of 499.5 cc from the Fiat 500 sport, the sporty version of the 500, and an engine later to be offered on the 500F, producing 21.2 bhp, which was enough to get the car to 60 mph, just. The Gamine was Alfredo Vignale’s baby project, but while the design was fairly cute, the performance was lacklustre even for the times. A high price, mediocre handling and versatility, meant that the Gamine never sold very well. In fact, the slow sales drove Carrozzeria Vignale out of business, forcing Alfredo Vignale to sell his production line to De Tomaso.
Known as the “Maggiolino” in Italy, the classic “Beetle” was a popular import, even in an era when the market largely bought the domestic product, so it was no surprise to find examples of this enduring classic here, with a late model car joined by one with a distinctive if slightly odd restyling at front and back.
Usually when you come across a Mark 1 Golf, it is a GTi version, so it was nice to see this regular model here. VW had started at looking at producing a replacement for the Beetle as early as 1953 and many one-off prototypes were produced but each venture led nowhere. By the late 60s, though it was clear that a replacement was urgently needed. In 1969 Lotz and Italian Volkswagen importer Gerhard R. Gumpert visited the Turin Auto Show. After selecting their six favourite cars of the show, they discovered that four of the six were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his Italdesign studio. Giugiaro was invited to Wolfsburg in January 1970 to work on development project EA337. The design brief provided by Volkswagen specified a C-segment car with a two-box body in three- and five-door versions. The client also provided Giugiaro with the basic dimensions and the power-train options. Giugiaro produced a design that reflected his signature “origami” or “folded-paper” style, emphasizing sharp corners and flat planes. Giugiaro would come to consider the Mk1 Golf the most important design of his career. Early prototypes included rectangular headlamps and wide tail-lamp assemblies. At least one pre-production car was modified with a sliding side door. During development, candidates for the name of the new car included “Blizzard” and “Caribe”, but these lost out to the final choice of “Golf”. The origin of the name is variously attributed to the game of golf, the Gulf Stream current (German “Golfstrom”) or the name of a horse.The Golf Mk1 received VW model designation Type 17. Production started in March 1974, and sales officially began in May 1974. By this time Giugiaro’s rectangular headlamps and wide tail-lamps had given way to round headlamps and much narrower rear lamps. On these earliest cars the lower horizontal bodyline running under the tail-lamps on the rear hatch dropped down in the location of the rear license plate. This feature has been dubbed “Swallowtail” by some Golf enthusiasts. The surface between the raised sides on the bonnet on early cars also blended smoothly into the leading edge. The Golf was not the first example of Giugiaro’s work for Volkswagen to reach production. His design for the first generation Passat was released in 1973, and the first generation Scirocco, a Giugiaro design prepared concurrently with the Golf, was released months ahead of the Golf. The right-hand drive Golf went on sale in Britain in October 1974. The first cars, with either a three or five door body had the choice of a 1.1 or 1.5 litre engine and a standard four speed gearbox. They were well received, but they were seen as expensive compared to domestic rivals. Even so, for the 1975 sales year it was the 14th best selling car in Britain with more than 19,000 units sold. The 1500cc engine was enlarged to 1600cc in 1976 and equipment levels gradually improved. A five speed gearbox was made available in 1979 and a 1300cc engine joined the range. A minor exterior revision in December 1978 replaced the narrow front and rear bumpers with moulded units that wrapped around the sides of the car. Another minor facelift in 1980 saw the adoption of wider rear lamp clusters and a new dashboard with a more modern-looking instrument display featuring LED warning lights. US versions also received rectangular headlights. This was the last major update before the MK1 was replaced by the MK2 Golf in most markets in September 1983 and in the British market in March 1984. In 1981 the facelifted Golf GTI was voted Car of the Year by What Car? magazine, ahead of all-new models like the Austin Metro and MK3 Ford Escort. In its final sales year of 1983 it sold more than 25,000 units and was Britain’s 14th best selling car despite being almost 10 years oldThe Golf was West Germany’s best selling new car for much of its production life, and was among the most successful cars in the whole of Europe during its nine-year production run.
I did enjoy this event, and indeed the whole weekend in Turin. There was plenty to see which kept me entertained for the whole day, with around 3000 cars on show, and the fact that the high end dealers that you find at other events were largely absent here was not a limitation in any way and nor was the fact that the outdoor cars did start to disappear under the snow that fell during the early afternoon. By the time I came to leave, the snow had stopped and there was more of a slushy mess to deal with as I walked back to my car, parked only a couple of hundred metres away in a car park which cost pleasingly little for a whole day’s stay. The Lingotto site is readily accessible by car or metro and there are hotels nearby, one of which provided my accommodation for the weekend. This is definitely an event I will look to sample again.