The Auto e Moto d’Epoca is the biggest classic car event in Italy, and by any standards it is vast. Held at the Fiera in the suburbs of this attractive town, 2022 marked the 39 running of the event, and for years now, it has been at absolute capacity. Cars are spread between 11 large halls on site, with a whole load more of them parked up outside – something you can do in Italy in late October, with fewer concerns about weather than we would have in the UK – amounting to a display of around 5000 cars, from the humblest starter classic to treasures worth into the millions. This is also an event where the obscurati appear like you won’t see anywhere else. Thes vary from very clear restoration projects to cars that have either already been saved or always cared for. And if you do need parts. Well one of those halls is given over to a massive autojumble, supplemented by yet more stalls outside. Aside from the Club and manufacturer displays most of the cars on show are for sale. Tempting though any of them are, there are few bargains, as sellers have got wise to the value of what they are offering. Car Clubs from all over Italy make up the displays in a number of the halls and manufacturers either come themselves (FCA Heritage had a large stand, as you might expect) or make cars available (Ferrari were not here, but some cars from their collection were), and there is always a special display in one of the halls, this year a focus on the Golden Age of Rallying. If you do not pause too much during the day, you can just about get around it all in one day, which is what I do and this time, I decided to try the Friday, the first of three full public days. It got busy as the morning wore on, but did empty out from mid afternoon, though plenty stayed right up until closing time, as I did, by which time it is dark. Presented here are the approx. 1300 photos I took. Enjoy!
IN THE CAR PARK
Even before getting into the main event there were some classic Opels that are rare and worthy of several photos, in one corner of the car park near where I left my rental machine. They were still there when I came out of the event many hours later, so I guess were perhaps there for the whole weekend.
The Opel Rekord D series is an executive car that replaced the Rekord C on Opel’s Rüsselsheim production lines during the closing weeks of 1971 and launched on the West German market at the start of 1972. It shared its wheelbase and inherited most of its engines from its predecessor, but the bodies were completely new. Although the Rekord D followed the Rekord C, early advertising called it, less logically, the Opel Rekord II. There was concern that incorporating the letter “D” might confuse customers in a country where “D” at the end of the name of a “Mercedes-Benz” denoted a diesel engine. At launch the Rekord D, like all previous Rekords, came only with a range of petrol engines but announced in September 1972, was the option of a diesel powered Opel Rekord. Early advertising and press material called the new car the “Opel Rekord II” but in due course, the “Rekord II” appellation was quietly dropped and the Rekord D was replaced at the end of the 1977 summer holiday shut down by the Opel Rekord E. The Rekord D’s 5½ year production run was longer than that of any previous generation of Opel Rekord: during that period 1,128,196 were produced. It was the second Opel Rekord to exceed the million mark, although its final year saw a marked decrease in demand, as the car was challenged from below after 1975 by the second generation Opel Ascona. By now the increases in fuel prices were encouraging middle market customers to downsize, at a time when the Opel Rekord had, over the years, grown to occupy a market slot at the top end of the “medium-sized” category in northern Europe, being already seen as a “large” family car in Italy and France. Various cars based on the Rekord D were also built at General Motors plants outside West Germany, both within and beyond Europe. The car that appeared at the end of December 1971 featured an all-new body styled by Chuck Jordan. The Rekord C’s “coke-bottle” style was not repeated, but the new car, with its larger glass area, did introduce a discrete tribute to the Hofmeister kink, a styling cue which had identified BMW cars for ten years. The Rekord D was close in form to the Vauxhall Victor “Transcontinental” launched three months later by Opel’s sister company in England. In fact none of the exterior body panels were the same, but the two cars shared their principal floor panel pressings and a number of other components in places where customers would not notice them. Evidently there were close contacts between the teams at Vauxhall and Opel during the development phase. The shared design philosophy and aspirations of the European General Motors cousins are hard to gainsay, however, when the cars are viewed together.
The second generation Opel Ascona B was presented in August 1975 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was available as a two or four-door saloon. There were related two and three-door coupé models in the Opel Manta range. There was no estate body available. The Ascona B retained the same engine range as its predecessor, versions with higher compression ratio and needing 98 octane petrol, dubbed S, were available alongside the 90 octane models. The first change took place in January 1976, when laminated window glass became available as a no-cost option. The 1.9 L “S” cam-in-head engine was replaced by the modernised 2.0 L (20S) in September 1977. The 20N became available in January 1978, and all models now also received electric windscreen washers. A 2.0 L diesel motor was added to the Ascona B range in 1978, mostly targeted at the BeNeLux countries and Italy, where local tax structures provided an incentive for diesel-powered automobiles – in 1979, 97% of diesels were exported, while 59% of petrol powered cars went in the export. By the end of 1978 the 1.6 S engine was discontinued in Germany (where it was replaced by the 19N, with the same power but lower fuel consumption), but continued to be available in some markets in a somewhat down-tuned version with 70 PS. In January 1979 the street legal version of the Ascona 400 with 2.4-litre engine (16 valves, 144 PS) appeared, followed a month later by the more prosaic 1.3 liter OHC engine. This largely replaced the old 1.2 litre pushrod unit which dated back to 1962, but production continued in dwindling numbers into 1980 for some export markets. In September 1979 the Ascona received a minor facelift, including plastic bumpers and a grey front grille with a larger mesh. The 2.0 E model with a Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection arrived in January 1980, after having been first installed in the Manta and Rekord models. In addition to a front spoiler, the 2.0 E equipped Ascona also received an upgraded clutch and transmission, differential, radiator, and other parts shared with the sporting Manta GT/E. In January 1981 the Ascona underwent its last changes, when adjustments made to the 16N and 20N engines. The 1.9 N and 2.0 N engines were discontinued in the German market, while the 1.6 N engine was now only available coupled with an automatic transmission. Over 1.2 million Ascona B units were produced worldwide until August 1981. The two millionth Ascona was an Ascona B, built in April 1980, and the one millionth Ascona sold in Germany was registered in July of that same year.
The Rekord E model can be subdivided into Rekord E1 (1977–82) and Rekord E2 (1982–86). Over 1.4 million units were made. Despite sharing its wheelbase and, at least initially, its engine range with the car it replaced, the Opel Rekord E as launched at the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show was slightly wider, longer, higher and, with larger windows, significantly heavier than the Opel Rekord D. Inside it was noticeably more spacious. In some markets where the tax structure was suitable, a three-door van version was also available. A version of the Rekord E was sold by Vauxhall in the United Kingdom from 1978 as the Carlton, with a droop snoot. Prior to the introduction of the facelift E2 in 1982, the Opel and Vauxhall versions were sold in competition with each other in the UK market. The Rekord and Carlton’s differences in appearance vanished following the 1982 facelift, when most of the Opel range was withdrawn from sale in the UK. The E1 model was also sold in South Africa, initially as the Chevrolet Rekord, before being rebranded as an Opel in 1982, remaining in production until 1984. The E2 model remained in production in South Africa until the early 1990s, and was also available with a V6 engine. The Opel Rekord finished production in the autumn of 1986 when it was replaced by the Opel Omega, with the Vauxhall equivalent retaining the Carlton nameplate.
The Ascona C was launched in August 1981 as part of General Motors’ J-car project. This was Opel’s second front-wheel drive car since the introduction of the Kadett D in 1979. This car was manufactured in Rüsselsheim, Germany, Antwerp, Belgium, São Caetano do Sul, Brazil and Luton, England, and was sold in the UK under the name Vauxhall Cavalier and as the Chevrolet Monza in Latin America. The Cavalier Coupé was phased out, but the Opel Manta was retained in the UK (the last car to be badged as an Opel in the UK before the brand was phased out there in 1988). There were no longer sheet metal differences between Opel and Vauxhall models after 1982. The Ascona C won the “Goldenes Lenkrad” (Golden Steering Wheel) award at the end of 1981 and was West Germany’s biggest selling car. The new Ascona no longer had the sporty character of its predecessors, being a more unadulterated family car which was considerably more space-efficient than earlier models. It was narrowly beaten to the European Car of the Year award by the Renault 9 in 1982. It took another 27 years before its successor model, the Opel Insignia, won the 2009 European Car of the Year award by only 1 point, from the Second placed Ford Fiesta. The Ascona C underwent two notable facelifts during its term of production. The range added an option of a five-door fastback/hatchback Bodystyle, named CC in a few markets – short for “Combi Coupé.” The hatchback model was shorter than the saloons, with a marginally smaller luggage compartment and 5 cm (2.0 in) less headspace in the backseat. All engines were now SOHC crossflow designs with a breakerless ignition system and hydraulic tappets. The base model was the 1.3 L introduced in 1978 in the Ascona B, with 60 PS, followed by a 1.6 L with 75 PS. “S” versions with higher compression ratio had power increased by as much as twenty per cent. The top of the line was the sporty GTE model, with electronic fuel injection, pushing power to 130 PS in the last two model years. Diesel power came from an 1.6SH derived block, with 1.6 litres. Catalytic converters were optional in the larger petrol units starting from 1986. The Ascona C was also assembled in South Africa, where it was sold by GM South Africa, replacing the Chevrolet Ascona which was based on the Ascona B. It was dropped in 1986 and replaced by a sedan version of the Kadett E called the Opel Monza. As before, there was no estate car version of the Ascona, although Vauxhall in the UK brought in the rear ends of the Holden Camira wagon (estate car) and adapted them to the Cavalier beginning with the 1984 model year. Opel continued to use the Ascona nameplate until the Vectra was launched in 1988, while the Cavalier name was retained by Vauxhall until 1995.
Star Abarth on the extensive FCA Heritage stand was this amazing 1956 750 Record. In 1956 Karl Abarth took the plunge and decided to focus on the challenge that was to be central to his worldwide fame: breaking international speed and endurance records. The record-breaking Fiat Abarth 750 was first seen at the Turin Motor Show in April 1956. The aerodynamic design was the work of Franco Scaglione for Bertone. The single-seater was created to stun visitors to the event and above all to set new world speed and endurance records in the H class, open to cars with displacement from 500 to 750 cc. The car was fitted with the Fiat 600 engine “derived from the Abarth 750”, and many of its components, including the steering and suspensions, were taken from the Fiat 600, although the main aim was to achieve the lightest possible weight. It tipped the scales at just 385 kg. It only had brakes on the front axle and the gearbox had three speeds with a particularly high axle ratio, ideal for holding a constant top speed, at over 190 km/h. As well as the mechanics and drivers, Karl Abarth and Nuccio Bertone were also present at the record-breaking attempt at the Monza circuit on 17 June 1956.
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. The 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.
The first Fiat 600-based Abarth to be fitted with the larger 982 cc development of the 600 engine was the Zagato-bodied Berlinetta, similar in appearance to the 750 and 850 Monza models. It was first shown at the October 1960 Paris Motor Show and produces 90 bhp at 7,100 rpm. Twin Weber carburetors and a 9.3 to 1 compression ratio help reach this considerable output for a one-litre engine. Claimed top speed is 205 km/h (127 mph). A bewildering variety of slightly different bodystyle elements appeared over the years, with covered and uncovered headlights, different engine lids, taillights, and window arrangements, as well as a later long-tailed design which also received a longer nosecone. Since these cars were largely handbuilt and often to order, it is hard to say what is original and what may have been modified after many years of competition.
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 theirs 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.
In mid 2021 Abarth surprised everyone by showing this homage to the 1000SP and the car was making another public appearance here. The project actually dates back to 2009 when Abarth was ear-marked to launch a new sports car to join the Punto and 500 in the reborn marques range. FCA decided to repurpose the design and it evolved into the Alfa 4C. A reproduction of the never before seen 2009 prototype is what was on show here and the company collected expressions of interest which have led to a decision to go ahead and build a limited number of cars, probably five. The car pays homage to the original 1966 Abarth 1000 Sport Prototipo (known as the 1000 SP or the SE04), and there was an example of that here, too. Like the original, the new car uses a mid-mounted engine and has open barchetta bodywork but it is physically much larger than the 1966 car. There are many tributes to Mario Colucci’s original design, including cockpit glass with a very stepped shape and an exposed rollover bar with central supports behind the seats. The rear end reflects the original car with its distinctive air vents, central exhaust and sinuous lines. The lights also recall the earlier car with very small headlights and Alfa MiTo circular taillights. The whole rear body opens, clasp style, just like the 1966 car. The interior is essentially shared with the Alfa 4C, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel to aid entry and exit and there is lots of exposed carbon. AS the car is based on the 4C, it has the same carbon fibre tub, aluminium subframes and the familiar 1.75 litre turbocharged four cylinder engine. The bodywork is entirely made from carbon fibre. Couple that wit hthe lack of a roof and the car is notably lighter than the Alfa. The five “production” cars will be made in 2022 and 2023. There won’t be much change from €200,000.
Although his competition cars had been immensely successful, what Carlo Abarth lacked was a practical road-going GT car suitable for daily use. The model that filled this gap in the range was the Monomille (single cam, 1,000cc), introduced in 1961. This new pocket-sized Gran Turismo would be offered in two versions: the Monomille Scorpione (1961-1962) bodied by Beccaris, and the ‘duck tail’ Monomille GT (1963-1965) with bodies by Sibona & Basano. Based on the FIAT 600D platform and featured hand-made aluminium coachwork, these eye-catching little coupés were capable of a top speed of 170-180km/h (105-112mph) depending on gearing, despite having only 60bhp on tap. Three types of Monomille GT were offered: two street versions with bumpers – one with exposed headlights, the other with headlights under Plexiglas cowls; and a lightened competition version with cowled headlights and no bumpers. Hand built and necessarily expensive, the Monomille cost some 30% more than the contemporary Porsche 356 and sold in limited numbers. Expert opinion differs with regard to the number produced, some sources stating that as many as 100 were made, others as few as 25. Whatever the case, only four street Monomille GTs with bumpers and exposed headlights are known to survive: ‘110-0386’ and ‘110-0390’ in the USA; ‘110-0380’ in Japan; and ‘110-0381’ (the car offered here) in Austria. Today these exclusive and exquisite little sports cars are highly sought after by Abarth collectors.
There is a complex history to the rest of the 600-based Abarths, starting with the 850TC, which actually predates the better known 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.
Abarth produced several tuned versions of the Fiat 850 Berlina, Coupé, and Spider, with ever-increasing displacements. These belonged to the OT series of Abarth cars—standing for Omologata Turismo or “touring homologated”, which also included two-seater sports racing cars. The Fiat-Abarth OT 850, as seen here, was Abarth’s first 850 derivative, introduced in July 1964. Its Tipo 201 engine was the regular saloon’s 847 cc inline-four brought from 34 bhp to 44 bhp. The top speed went up accordingly from 75 mph (120 kn/h) to 81 mph (130 km/h). The OT 850 could be distinguished from the standard Fiat model by its Abarth badging, an asymmetric front ornament with the Abarth shield on the right hand side and the “Fiat Abarth” script on a red field on the left, and wheels with cooling slots. From October of the same year it became available in two guises: OT 850 Oltre 130 (“Over 130”), almost unchanged from the initial model, and OT 850 Oltre 150, with a 52 bhp engine, front disc brakes and a 150 km/h (93 mph) top speed. In October 1964, Abarth added the Fiat-Abarth OT 1000. With engine displacement increased to 982 cc, it produced 60 bhp and 58 lb·ft of torque. The front brakes were changed to discs. Coupe and Spider models would follow from 1965, initially with the same 982cc engine, but it was not long before 1300, 1600 and then 2 litre engines were inserted in the car. There are not many of these in any body style in the UK, but of those that you do see, the Coupe would seem to be the most numerous
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 A number of recreations have been built, which is what some of these cars are, but there were genuine original cars here, too.
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.
Although Abarth is best-known for its predominantly small-capacity Gran Turismo and sports-racing cars, and high-performance variations upon the Fiat production touring car theme, no representative Abarth collection could possibly be complete without an example of one of their rare single-seater racing cars. This 1973 model Formula Italia car could certainly fill that particular bill most admirably. It was in 1970-71 that the Commissione Sportiva Automobilistica Italiana (the CSAI) first proposed to the mighty Fiat Group that they should support the design, construction and racing of a new-class of single-seaters, to train and to encourage aspiring young Italian racing drivers. Fiat’s board concurred, and entrusted what became this ‘Formula Italia’ programme to the competition experts at Abarth. The cars emerged as neat single-seaters with rear-mounted Fiat-Abarth 4-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft engines having a bore and stroke of 80mm x 80mm to displace 1608cc. On a 9.8:1 compression ratio they developed a declared 110-120bhp at 6,700rpm, breathing through twin Weber twin-choke carburettors. Transmission was via a 5-speed transaxle to the rear wheels, and these little cars were produced in considerable numbers and provided some extremely hard-fought and competitive racing around the Italian circuits such as Monza, Imola and Vallelunga. Italian racing drivers who learned their early skills behind the wheel of Formula Italia cars include the late, much-lamented Ferrari works team driver Michele Alboreto, Bruno Giacomelli and Piercarlo Ghinzani, while Riccardo Patrese was also involved in Formula Italia and provided a car in which his friend Siegfried Stohr learned the racing ropes, becoming another Italia driver to graduate eventually to Formula 1.
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 Abarth 131 Rally were built for homologation purposes. These cars were built in a co-operation 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 independent rear suspension. The cars were fully painted an 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 16-valve DOHC derivative of the standard DOHC engine, which equipped with a double Weber downdraught carburettor produced 140 PS. 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. Original Rally cars are rare these days, and most of the ones you see are, like this one, in fact a recreation. A very nice recreation, I have to say.
During the 80s and 90s, Abarth was simply used as the branding for performance accessories for various fiat models, and this second generation Punto is a good example of what could be produced.
There were a number of modern Abarths here, most of them from the 500 range, which has been on sale now since the end of 2008, following a launch at the Paris Show that year. Since that time there have been a number of detailed changes to the standard cars and a lot of limited editions. Those who really know the marque can spot most of them, but some are so subtle that unless there is a badge you can see, you will not be quite sure which version you are looking at. It used to be relatively easy, when the model was first launched, as there was only one version as shipped ex works called the 500. It had a 135 bhp 1.4 litre turbo-charged engine coupled to a five speed manual gearbox, with 16″ alloys as standard, and the option of 17″ wheels, and a colour palette comprising of two whites (BossaNova White, the standard colour, or the pearlescent Funk White), Red (Pasadoble), Pale Grey (Campovolo) or Black. If you wanted more power – 160 bhp – then you could order an Esseesse kit, which came in a large wooden crate, containing new wheels, springs, an ECU upgrade, the Monza exhaust system and badging. It was dealer fitted and could be applied at any time within the first 12 months or 10,000 miles from registration. Needless to say, it proved popular. As were many of the optional extras, with stickers for the sides, a large scorpion for the bonnet and even a chequered pattern for the roof among the personalisation options offered
To promote the 500 Abarth, Fiat launched a trophy on the Italian circuit in 2009. 49 cars were produced, called 500 Assetto Corse. Under the bonnet, the 1.4 T-jet increased to 190 bhp and 300 Nm of torque, thanks to a turbo and an intercooler from the Alfa Romeo Mito. It’s meant to be affordable, both in terms of wallet and driving. Make no mistake, the 500 Assetto Corse is still a genuine racing car. The weight is only 930 kilos, 180 kg less than the road version. The transmission is a 6-speed manual gearbox to preserve the best racing feelings. A mechanical self-locking differential has been added to guarantee traction and delay understeer. As for braking, although the ABS has been removed and the front / rear split has been made adjustable thanks to the addition of a pressure limiter, assistance has been retained. Riveted to the road on 17-inch OZ Racing Made in Italy wheels (205/50 ZR 17 tyres), we note the presence of large Brembo discs with 4-piston callipers and ventilated perforated discs measuring 305 x 28 mm at the front (264 x 11 mm at the rear). The Abarth set-up is in full racing style: wider track, lowered set-up and numbering on the sides. At the front we find wide bumper with an aerodynamic spoiler, woven grilles, hood pins and two carbon air intakes that bear the “Scorpione” logo, giving the whole front an aggressive look. At the rear, the large spoiler prevails together with the Abarth badge and double exhaust. The colour of this #25 of 49 is “grigio campovolo”, a pastel grey with red Abarth side stripes, which recalls the Abarth 850 TC of the 1960s. Delivered assembled, the Assetto Corse offers a body reinforced by a welded multipoint roll cage. A real tubular chassis that you have to step over to get into the bucket seat and the Sabelt harnesses. We also appreciate the all-carbon door panels and the Alcantara sports steering wheel. Getting to grips with the Assetto Corse is easy and rewarding. When driving, the turbo noise is omnipresent. The suspension of the Assetto Corse consists of MacPherson struts at the front with height-adjustable sports shock absorbers. At the rear we find an interconnected arms system, with the same ring nut for adjusting height, and sports absorbers.
The first of the special production models was actually the 695 Tributo Ferrari and there was one example of the model at the event. Most of these cars are tucked away in collections, never being used, so it was good to see this one. You got more power than was available in the standard cars at the time, with the engine uprated to 180 bhp, thanks to a different Garrett turbocharger. The spec included a MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) electromechanical transmission with paddle shifter, unique to this version 17 inch alloy wheels with performance tyres, Brembo multi-section discs with fixed 4-piston calipers, “Record Monza” variable back-pressure “dual mode” exhaust, Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting xenon headlights, “Abarth Corsa by Sabelt” seats in black leather upholstery with carbon fibre shell and seat base, black leather steering wheel with red leather inserts and a tricolour hub, Jaeger instrument panel, non-slip aluminium foot wells, Scorpion racing pedals, special kick plates and a plate bearing the vehicle series number. The Tributo Ferrari was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, with deliveries starting in 2010. Four colours were offered: grey, Abu Dhabi Blue, Scuderia Red and finally Yellow like Bailey’s car. Of these the red and yellow cars were more numerous, but the car remained rare as it was fearsomely expensive. Just how expensive depended on the dealer, as in a move that only the Italians could make, they were all first registered in Italy and so technically were used cars by the time these right hand drive machines arrived on UK soil, which mean that the dealers could charge what they wanted. Most aimed somewhere between £32 and £36,000, a lot for a car of this size. Nevertheless, they all sold, though many ended up on another boat, off to right hand drive Asian markets, which is why they are a rare sight these days. One of these is a genuine car and the other a recreation.
Seen by most as the ultimate model, there was the 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 being a car that is only see occasionally and the Record Edition being the version that was here. There were just 133 of these made, all painted in Modena Yellow, at the time an exclusive Biposto colour.
The Abarth 124 Spider was developed in parallel with the Fiat model. It does cost a lot more, and there are those who think you don’t get enough extra for your money, but those who have driven it will tell you otherwise. You certainly get more power. The 1.4 MultiAir turbo unit jumps up from 138bhp to 168bhp, while torque also increases by a modest 10Nm to 250Nm, which gives it a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, which is half a second quicker than the 2.0-litre Mazda MX-5. The top speed is 143mph. It weighs just 1060kg meaning a power-to-weight ratio of 158bhp-per-tonne, and with the new Record Monza exhaust system it sounds great even at idle. The Abarth version gets a stiffer suspension setup than the regular Fiat 124 Spider, with Bilstein dampers and beefed-up anti-roll bars. Bigger Brembo brakes also feature, with aluminium calipers. It can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddles, and the latter gets a Sport mode for quicker shifts. Many of the UK cars sport the ‘Heritage Look’ pack, which is a no-cost option. It brings a matt black bonnet and bootlid, plus red exterior trim detailing and has proved popular. The £29,565 starting price gets you standard equipment such as cruise control, climate control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and satnav, plus Alcantara black and red (or pure black) seat trim. The automatic gearbox is a £2,035 extra, while an optional visibility pack brings LED DRLs, auto lights and wipers and rear parking sensors. Sales ceased during 2019, with around 1800 cars having been brought into the UK, so this is always going to be a rare car, and values are already increasing at a rate reflecting its desirability and the difficulty in finding one.
As you might expect from an event in Italy, there were literally dozens of Alfa models here, scattered among all the halls and parked up outside. Some were on Club stands, and the rest were singletons. Collating them all for this report is a pretty good history lesson in the marque with lots of lovely models to delight the enthusiast.
Oldest car here was a rather fabulous 6C 1750. In the mid-1920s, Alfa’s RL was considered too large and heavy, so a new development began. The 2-litre formula that had led to Alfa Romeo winning the Automobile World Championship in 1925, changed to 1.5-litre for the 1926 season. The 6C 1500 was introduced in 1925 at the Milan Motor Show and production started in 1927, with the P2 Grand Prix car as starting point. Engine capacity was now 1487 cc, against the P2’s 1987 cc, while supercharging was dropped. The first versions were bodied by James Young and Touring. In 1928, a 6C Sport was released, with a dual overhead camshafts engine. Its sport version won many races, including the 1928 Mille Miglia. Total production was 3000 (200 with DOHC engine). Ten copies of a supercharged (compressore) Super Sport variant were also made. The more powerful 6C 1750 was introduced in 1929 in Rome. The car had a top speed of 95 mph, a chassis designed to flex and undulate over wavy surfaces, as well as sensitive geared-up steering. It was produced in six series between 1929 and 1933. The base model had a single overhead cam; Super Sport and Gran Sport versions had double overhead cam engines. Again, a supercharger was available. Most of the cars were sold as rolling chassis and bodied by coachbuilders such as Zagato, and Touring. Additionally, there were 3 examples built with James Young bodywork. In 1929, the 6C 1750 won every major racing event it was entered, including the Grands Prix of Belgium, Spain, Tunis and Monza, as well as the Mille Miglia was won with Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi, the Brooklands Double Twelve and the Ulster TT was won also, in 1930 it won again the Mille Miglia and Spa 24 Hours. Total production was 2635.
This Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 was born in 1931 with a Torpedo body and was sold new to Milan to Mr Besnati Aldo on 06/03/1935 who kept the car to Mr Rotondi of Milan who was probably a dealer. On 30/03/1935 the car is sold again to Mr Guarnaschelli Luigi of Piacenza and the car changes registration plate to 5042-PC (the one that still retains to this day). After the war and actually in 1949 the car changed body, the new one was made by Carrozzeria Ferranti of Rome and is the one that the car retains to this day.
This stunning car, the 1934 6C 1750 Aprile now belongs to renowned collector Corrado Lopresto and I have been lucky enough to see a couple of times before. Born with a Zagato spider body, this car is a 6C 1750 Gran Sport with compressor, the sportiest version of the Milanese six-cylinder and was sold new in Genoa in 1931. In the 1930s the car was used in some races passing out of hand several times. In 1938 this Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS was bought by Giuseppe Aprile, a coachbuilder from Savona, who a few months later sold it to Brunello Feltri with an entirely new body, designed by the most famous designer of those times: Mario Revelli di Beaumont. Always remained in Liguria, the car survives to this day, albeit with some modifications and is brought back to its original splendour with a very careful restoration by Lopresto.
The 6C 2300 (2,309 cc) was designed by Vittorio Jano as a lower-cost alternative to the 8C. In 1934 Alfa Romeo had become a state-owned enterprise. That year, a new 6C model with a newly designed and larger engine was presented. Chassis technology, however, had been taken from the predecessor. One year later a revised model, the 6C 2300 B, was presented. In this version the engine was placed in a completely redesigned chassis, with independent front suspension and rear swing axle, as well as hydraulic brakes. 760 examples of the rigid-axle 6C 2300 were produced and 870 examples of the B-model. Bodies were built by a wide variety of coachbuilders.
Final evolution of the Alfa Romeo 6C was the 2500 which was announced in 1938. The 2500 had an enlarged engine compared to the predecessor models, with this Vittorio Jano designed double overhead cam engine available with either one or three Weber carburettors. The triple carburettor version was used in the top of line SS (Super Sport) version. The 2443 cc engine was mounted in a steel ladder frame chassis, which was offered with three wheelbase lengths: 3,250 mm (128.0 in) on the Turismo, 3,000 mm (118.1 in) on the Sport and 2,700 mm (106.3 in) on the Super Sport. Although it was clear that World War II was coming and car development would be stopped, Alfa did continue to produce a few hundred 6C 2500s were built from 1940 to 1945 before resuming production, Postwar. The first new Alfa in his period was the 1946 6C 2500 Freccia d’Oro (Golden Arrow), of which 680 were built through 1951, with bodies by Alfa. Various coachbuilders made their own versions of the 2500, with most of the bodies made by Touring of Milan, though this one has a Rigoli Robini Cabriolet style which is rather attractive. The car was sold to wealthy customers like King Farouk, Alì Khan, Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, and Prince Rainier. One was also featured in The Godfather in 1972. The 6C 2500 was one of the most expensive cars available at the time. The last 6C was produced in 1952, when it was replaced by the 1900.
The Alfa Romeo 1900 M (better known by its nickname Alfa Romeo Matta, meaning “mad”) is a four-wheel drive utility vehicle produced by Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1951 to 1954. Developed on request of the Italian Ministry of Defence, it was made in both military (AR 51) and civilian (AR 52) versions. The AR 51 (Autovettura da Ricognizione, “Reconnaissance Car”) was the result of the request of a light reconnaissance vehicle for use on paved, unpaved and mountain roads. A civilian version, the AR 52, was later developed from the military AR 51; several variants were made, adapted for use in agriculture, fire-fighting, and road maintenance. The Matta was built from 1952 to 1954, with 2,007 military AR 51s for the Italian Army and 154 civilian AR 52 units produced. In 1954, the Italian army abandoned the AR 51 and switched to the Fiat Campagnola, which was mechanically simpler. The Matta was powered by a 1884 cc twin cam, 8-valve inline-four engine with dry sump lubrication. The cylinder head was aluminium and featured hemispherical combustion chambers, while the engine block was cast iron. Output was 65 PS at 4,400 rpm.
Designed by Orazio Satta, the 1900 was Alfa Romeo’s first car built entirely on a production line. It was also Alfa’s first production car without a separate chassis and the first Alfa offered with left-hand drive. Launched at the 1950 Paris Motor Show, the 1900 was offered in two-door or four-door models, with a new 1,884 cc 90 bhp 4-cylinder twin cam engine. It was spacious and simple, yet quick and sporty. The slogan Alfa used when selling it was “The family car that wins races”, not-so-subtly alluding to the marque’s success in the Targa Florio, Stella Alpina, and other competitions. In 1951 the short wheelbase 1900C (C for Corto, the Italian for short) version was introduced. It had a wheelbase of 2,500 mm In the same year the 1900TI with a more powerful 100 bhp engine was introduced, it had bigger valves, a higher compression ratio and it was equipped with a double carburetor. Two years later the 1900 Super and 1900 TI Super (also 1900 Super Sprint) with 1975 cc engine were introduced. The TI Super had two double carburettors and 115 bhp. The transmission was a 4-speed manual on basic versions and 5-speed manual in Super Sprint version, the brakes were drums. The 1900 had independent front suspension (double wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers) and live rear axle. Production at the company’s Milan plant continued until 1959: a total of 21,304 were built, including 17,390 of the saloons.
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
There were also examples of some of the rarer Giulietta models here. This was the Giulietta Sprint Speciale, the earlier version of a car which was produced between 1957 and 1965, latterly with Giulia badging. Just 1,366 examples were made. The first cars were fitted with the 1,290cc Giulietta engine and then in 1963 this was replaced by the more powerful 1,570cc Giulia unit. The SS, or Sprint Speciale series was never intended to be a volume car and it was considerably more expensive than the other models in the Giulietta and Giulia ranges. It certainly looked special, with streamlined bodywork which bore a marked resemblance to some of the marque’s earlier competition designs, particularly the famous Disco Volante sports-racer, not to mention the BAT 9 show car. With an all-up weight of under 950kgs, a five-speed gearbox and an output of 112bhp (in Giulia form) these were excellent road cars and were equally used in competition. They don’t come up for sale very often, and needless to say, the price tag is not small when they do.
There were also examples 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 original TZ, currently sometimes referenced as TZ1 to differ from later TZ2 was presented at the 1962 Turin Auto Show as a replacement for the SZ It featured a 1,570 cc twin cam engine and other mechanical components shared with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and carried a 105 series chassis number, but was a purpose built sports racing car, with a tubular spaceframe chassis built in the province of Perugia by SAI Ambrosini and the light all-aluminium bodywork was made by Zagato, final assembly was made Delta of Udine, with Carlo Chiti initially on board as a consultant before becoming the project leader. The firm soon changed its name to Auto-Delta and relocated to its current site in Settimo Milanese, on the outskirts of Milan, not far from the Alfa Romeo Portello Plant. It has disc brakes and independent suspension. The result was a lightweight coupé of only 650 kilograms (1,430 lb) and top speed of 134 mph (216 km/h). The TZ was built both for street and racing trim, with the latest racing versions producing up to 160 bhp. Alfa’s twin-spark cylinder head, as also used in their GTA, contributed to the speed of the TZ; the standard Giulia alloy block with wet steel liners was installed at an angle under the hood of the TZ to improve airflow. Aiding the TZ in its quest for performance was the treatment of the rear bodywork. Incorporating the research of Dr. Wunibald Kamm, the TZ used a style called coda tronca in Italian, meaning “short tail.”, otherwise known as the Kamm tail. The principle is that unless an aircraft-like extended tail is incorporated, which is not practical for an automobile, there is little, if any, increase in drag and a marked decrease in lift or even some downforce by simply chopping off a portion of the tail. Zagato had previously proved the success of this tail treatment in their coda tronca Sprint Zagato sports-racing cars, and it was a natural evolution to adapt this to the Giulia TZ. The car debuted at the 1963 FISA Monza Cup, where TZs took the first four places in the prototype category. At the beginning of 1964 the TZ was homologated (100 units were needed for homologation) to the Gran Turismo category. After homologation it started to take more class wins in Europe and North-America. Of the first TZ, 112 units were built between 1963 and 1965. Only built as limited amount these TZ models are quite collectibles nowadays, listed price around 150,000-200,000 US dollars. A new version of TZ was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1964 in the Zagato stand
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 were the regular Coupe, the Spider and the 2600 Zagato.
Looking for a smaller and cheaper car to add to the range, Alfa Romeo entered into a deal with Renault to build the Dauphine under licence in Italy, which they did between 1959 and 1964 in Portello, Milan. Differences with the French model are: a 12 Volt battery, special lights, and the logo “Dauphine Alfa Romeo” or “Ondine Alfa Romeo”. They are very rare now.
Along with the equally pretty Coupe model, this started out as part of the Giulietta range, but in later life adopted Giulia badging. This the more commonly seen of the pair, the lovely Giulia Spider 1600. Alfa had followed up the 1950 launch of the 1900 Berlina with a smaller model, the Giulietta. Known as the Type 750 and later 101 Series, the Giulietta evolved into a family of models. The first to be introduced was the Giulietta Sprint 2+2 coupé 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, and it was one of these achingly pretty cars 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.
First of the all-new Giulia models to appear was the Berlina, launched in 1962. 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, 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 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 used 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 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, was 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. There are relatively few of these cars in the UK, and many of these are left hand drive models which have been re-imported relatively recently, or have been converted for historic racing, so it was good to see a nice road-going model here.
There’s a complex history to this much-loved classic. 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 superceded 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 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. 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 Sprint GTC went into production. The company went out of business shortly after production of this model ended.
Alfa replaced the Giulia-based Spider model with an all-new design which finally made its debut in 1966 together with the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce at an event organised in Gardone Riviera. With its boat tailed styling, it quickly found favour, even before taking a starring role in the film “The Graduate”. The original 1600cc engine was replaced by a more powerful 1750cc unit at the same time as the change was made to the rest of the range, and the car continued like this until 1970, when the first significant change to the exterior styling was introduced on the 1750 Spider Veloce, with the original’s distinctive elongated round tail changed to a more conventional cut-off tail, called the “Kamm tail”, as well as improving the luggage space. Numerous other small changes took place both inside and out, such as a slightly different grille, new doorhandles, a more raked windscreen, top-hinged pedals and improved interior trim. 1971 saw the Spider Veloce get a new, larger powerplant—a 1962 cc, 132 hp unit—and consequently the name was changed from 1750 Spider Veloce to 2000 Spider Veloce. The 1600 Spider restarted production a year later as the Spider 1600 Junior, and was visually identical to the 1300. 1974 saw the introduction of the rare, factory request, Spider-Targa. Based upon the Spider, it featured a Porsche style solid rear window and lift out roof panels, all made out of black GRP type material. Less than 2,000 models of such type were ever made and was the only part solid roof Spider until the introduction of the factory crafted hard top. The 1300 and 2000 cars were modified in 1974 and 1975 respectively to include two small seats behind the front seats, becoming a “two plus two” four seater. The 1300 model was discontinued in 1977. Also, between 1974 and 1976, the early-style stainless-steel bumpers were discontinued and replaced with black, rubber-clad units to meet increasingly stringent North American crash requirements. 4,557 examples of the 1300 Junior were made and 4,848 of the 1600 Junior as well as 16,320 2000 Spider Veloces and 22,059 of 2000 Spider Veloce US version. There were also 4,027 1750 Spider Veloces produced.
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 very different from the rest of the Giulia range was a rather special Coupe, designed by Zagato. First seen in public at the Turin Motor Show of 1969, the GT 1300 Junior Zagato was a limited production two seater coupe with aerodynamic bodywork penned by Ercole Spada while he was at renowned Milanese styling house Zagato Based on the floorpan, driveline and suspension of the 1300 Spider, the Junior Zagato had a floorpan shortened behind the rear wheels to fit the bodyshell. the model evoked the earlier, race-oriented Giulietta Sprint Zagatos which featured aluminium bodywork and had a very active competition history. However, the Junior Zagato featured a steel bodyshell with an aluminium bonnet and, on early cars, aluminium doorskins. The Junior Zagato was not specifically intended for racing and did not see much use in competition. In total 1,108 units were constructed, with the last being built in 1972 although the records suggest that a further 2 cars were built in 1974. In 1972 the 1600 Zagato came out of which 402 units were produced. In this case the floorpan was unaltered from the 1600 Spider, so that the normal fueltank could be left in place. As a consequence, the 1600 Zagato is approximately 100 mm (3.9 in) longer than the 1300 model. This can be seen at the back were the sloping roofline runs further back and the backpanel is different and lower. The lower part of the rear bumper features a bulge to make room for the spare wheel. The 1600 Zagato has numerous other differences when compared to the 1300 Junior Zagato.so if you ever see two side by side, and were a real expert, you could probably tell them apart easily. The last 1600 Zagato was produced in 1973 and the cars were sold until 1975. This is definitely a “marmite” car, with some people loving the rather bold styling and others finding to just odd for their tastes. I am in the former category.
Seeking a model to compete against the Ford Corsair, BMW 2000 and Lancia Flavia, Alfa presented a new larger and more upmarket saloon car in January 1968. The result, the 1.8-litre engined 1750 Berlina was introduced in Italy along with the 1750 GT Veloce Coupé and Spider Veloce. Some days later it was displayed at the Brussels Motor Show. The 1750 Berlina was based on the existing Giulia saloon, which continued in production. The 1750 bodyshell had a longer wheelbase than the Giulia, and revised external panels, but it shared many of the same internal panels. The windscreen was also the same. 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 car had a 1,779 cc twin-carb engine which produced 116 hp with the help of twin carburettors. For the US market the 1750 was equipped with SPICA fuel injection. 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. According to official Alfa Romeo archives, 252 units were produced with very few surviving to this day. Some 1750A Berlina didn’t have the model plate with production date embossed. 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. 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 a 3-speed automatic was also offered. A different grille distinguishes the 2000 from 1750, and the external lights were also different between the models. The 1750 had 7 inch diameter outboard headlights, whereas the 2000 had 5 3/4 inch diameter in all four positions. 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 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. In 1977 the Alfetta 2000, a two-litre upmarket Alfetta 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 fitted with the automatic gearbox. You don’t see these cars that often.
Many people will be unaware that Alfa Romeo have produced Vans in their past. The first the Autotutto was launched back in 1954, and it was updated three times in the following 11 years before being replaced with by the Giulia engined Alfa Romeo F12 and A12 vans in 1967. The front of the vehicle was updated with wider chrome and mesh grille, and the 1,290 cc Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine was updated now having 52 hp. The front-engined van had four-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive. In 1973 an inline-four 1,760 cc Perkins diesel was also offered, with 50 hp. This same engine was also available in the Giulia Berlina from 1976. The van had top speed of around 115 km/h (71 mph). The front brakes were discs and rear ones drums. Abandoning the use of a model name, “F” denoted a furgone, or van, “A” depicted an autocarro or light truck, while “12” indicated the carrying capacity of 12 quintali (1 quintale = 100 kg (220 lb)). Motor Ibérica took over of FADISA in 1967, this company made Ebro trucks and these FADISA trucks were merged to this same division. As a result, the Alfa Romeo F12 was named as Ebro F-100 in Spain and after the facelift it was sold as the F-108. In 1987 Nissan Motors took control of Motor Ibérica and Ebro trucks were renamed “Nissan Trade”. They continued to be made until the beginning of the 2000s at the Ávila plant in Spain. Between 1967 and 1971 a “light” A11 or F11 version was also available. This has a lighter payload and a lower horsepower rating. All Alfa Romeo vans were facelifted in 1977 with a new black plastic radiator grille, and chrome badging was replaced with black adhesive stickers. Production stopped in 1983. The total production of all A11, A12, F11, and F12 was around 17,300 units.
During the 1950s, Alfa underwent a fairly fundamental transformation from producing cars designed for racing or very high-end sports touring road machines, in small quantities, to being a manufacturer of more affordable cars, albeit with a sporting bias to their dynamics. But the desire to produce something exclusive and expensive was not completely lost, and indeed it was re-manifest in the next Alfa to be seen here, the very lovely Montreal. First seen as a concept car in 1967 at Expo 67, as depicted above in this report, 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.
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 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. A rare SE model from this period was part of the display, complete with period vinyl roof (look closely), and although the pain does appear a bit like a lot of older Alfa reds, having gone rather pink, this was the actual shade when the car was new. 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. There was a good mix of the earlier chrome bumpered and later plastic bumpered models, the last with 2.0 and 2.5 GTV6 versions both represented. There was also a car sporting 3.0 badging and right hand drive. This is a South African car. 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.
It was nice to see a number of examples of the AlfaSud here. These characterful small cars evoke a very positive reaction, with many people wistfully recollecting one that they, or their parents, owned back in the 1970s, but observing that the car, whilst divine to drive, simply rusted away almost before your very eyes. There are a lot more of these cars left in the UK than you might imagine, but most of them are on SORN, needing massive restorations that may or may not ever happen. That should not detract from the splendour of the models on show at this event. Alfa Romeo had explored building a smaller front wheel drive car in the 1950s but it was not until 1967 that firm plans were laid down for an all-new model to fit in below the existing Alfa Romeo range. It was developed by Austrian Rudolf Hruska, who created a unique engineering package, clothed in a body styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign. The car was built at a new factory at Pomigliano d’Arco in southern Italy, hence the car’s name, Alfa Sud (Alfa South). January 18, 1968, saw the registration at Naples of a new company named “Industria Napoletana Costruzioni Autoveicoli Alfa Romeo-Alfasud S.p.A.”. 90% of the share capital was subscribed by Alfa Romeo and 10% by Finmeccanica, at that time the financial arm of the government controlled IRI. Construction work on the company’s new state sponsored plant at nearby Pomigliano d’Arco began in April 1968, on the site of an aircraft engine factory used by Alfa Romeo during the war. The Alfasud was shown at the Turin Motor Show three years later in 1971 and was immediately praised by journalists for its styling. The four-door saloon featured an 1,186 cc Boxer water-cooled engine with a belt-driven overhead camshaft on each cylinder head. It also featured an elaborate suspension setup for a car in its class (MacPherson struts at the front and a beam axle with Watt’s linkage at the rear). Other unusual features for this size of car were four-wheel disc brakes (with the front ones being inboard) and rack and pinion steering. The engine design allowed the Alfasud a low bonnet line, making it very aerodynamic (for its day), and in addition gave it a low centre of gravity. As a result of these design features, the car had excellent performance for its engine size, and levels of roadholding and handling that would not be equaled in its class for another ten years. Despite its two-box shape, the Alfasud did not initially have a hatchback. Some of the controls were unorthodox, the lights, turn indicators, horn, wipers and heater fan all being operated by pulling, turning or pushing the two column stalks. In November 1973 the first sport model joined the range, the two-door Alfasud ti—(Turismo Internazionale, or Touring International).Along with a 5-speed gearbox, it featured a more powerful version of the 1.2 engine, brought to 67 hp by adopting a Weber twin-choke carburettor; the small saloon could reach 160 km/h. Quad round halogen headlamps, special wheels, a front body-colour spoiler beneath the bumper and rear black one around the tail distinguished the “ti”, while inside there were a three-spoke steering wheel, auxiliary gauges, leatherette/cloth seats, and carpets in place of rubber mats. In 1974, Alfa Romeo launched a more upscale model, the Alfasud SE. The SE was replaced by the Alfasud L (Lusso) model introduced at the Bruxelles Motor Show in January 1975. Recognisable by its bumper overriders and chrome strips on the door sills and on the tail, the Lusso was better appointed than the standard Alfasud (now known as “normale”), with such features as cloth upholstery, headrests, padded dashboard with glove compartment and optional tachometer. A three-door estate model called the Alfasud Giardinetta was introduced in May 1975. It had the same equipment of the Alfasud “L”. It was never sold in the UK and these models are particularly rare now. The Lusso model was produced until 1976, by then it was replaced with the new Alfasud 5m (5 marce, five speed) model, the first four-door Alfasud with a five-speed gearbox. Presented at the March 1976 Geneva Motor Show, it was equipped like the Lusso it replaced. In late 1977 the Alfasud Super replaced the range topping four-door “5m”; it was available with both the 1.2- and 1.3-litre engines from the “ti”, though both equipped with a single-choke carburettor.The Super introduced improvements both outside, with new bumpers including large plastic strips, and inside, with a revised dashboard, new door cards and two-tone cloth seats. Similar upgrades were applied to the Giardinetta. In May 1978 the Sprint and “ti” got new engines, a 78 hp 1.3 (1,350 cc) and a 84 hp 1.5 (1,490 cc), both with a twin-choke carburettor. At the same time the Alfasud ti received cosmetic updates (bumpers from the Super, new rear spoiler on the boot lid, black wheel arch extensions and black front spoiler) and was upgraded to the revised interior of the Super. The 1.3 and 1.5 engines were soon made available alongside the 1.2 on the Giardinetta and Super, with a slightly lower output compared to the sport models due to a single-choke carburettor. All Alfasuds were upgraded in 1980 with plastic bumpers, new instrument panel, headlamps and rear lights as well as other revisions. The Ti version was now fitted with a twin-carburettor version of the 1490 cc engine that had been fitted to the Sprint the previous year, developing 95 bhp A three-door hatchback was added to the range in 1981 in either SC or Ti trim and the two-door Ti and Giardinetta were deleted from most markets around this time. Belatedly in 1982 the four-door cars were replaced by five-door versions as by now, most of its competitors were producing a hatchback of this size, although some also produced a saloon alternative. The range was topped by the five-door Gold Cloverleaf, featuring the 94 hp engine from the Ti and enhanced interior trim. In 1983 an attempt to keep pace with the hot hatchback market, the final version of the Alfasud Ti received a tuned 1490 cc engine developing 105 PS Now named Quadrifoglio Verde (Green Cloverleaf) this model was also fitted with Michelin low profile TRX tyres on metric rims as well as an enhanced level of equipment. The five-door Alfasud saloons were replaced by the 33 models in 1983. The 33 was an evolution of the AlfaSud’s floorpan and running gear, including minor suspension changes and a change from four-wheel disc brakes to front disc and rear drum brakes to reduce costs. The three-door versions continued for a further year before being replaced by the unsuccessful Alfa Romeo Arna a joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Nissan.
There had been a much longer wait for a Coupe version of the AlfaSud than there had been for the larger Alfetta, with 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 1,350 cc and a 84 hp 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.
The Alfa 75 was 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 optimise 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 litre 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.
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.
I was delighted to see that the larger 164 was also represented here, with a Super model, 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 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. The Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI was a FIA Class 1 touring car that Alfa Corse raced from 1993 to 1996 in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft and the subsequent International Touring Car Championship. A naturally-aspirated high-revving 2.5 L 60° V6 engine was coupled to a four wheel drive system, rated at 426 PS at 11,500 rpm. Alfa Corse entered two 155 V6 TIs for works drivers Alessandro Nannini and Nicola Larini; the 1993 season was dominated by Larini winning 11 of 22 races. In 1994, the rivals from Mercedes seemed to have the advantage, but Alfa did manage to win a further eleven races. A more consistent performance from the Germans gave them the title. Since the 1995 season, the team got new sponsorship livery from Martini Racing. The 1996 version had a 2.5 L naturally-aspirated 90° V6 engine based on the PRV engine rated at 490 PS at 11,900 rpm. The car has a top speed of around 300 km/h (190 mph) and weighed 1,060 kilograms (2,340 lb). The Alfa 155 V6 TI has a record of 38 wins (plus 3 other non championship races). The victories were obtained by seven different drivers: 17 (+1) Nicola Larini, 13 (+1) Alessandro Nannini, 2 Stefano Modena, 2 (+1) Christian Danner, 2 Michael Bartels, 1 Kris Nissen and 1 Gabriele Tarquini.
The 916 Series cars were conceived to replace two very different models in the Alfa range. First of these was the open topped 105 Series Spider which had been in production since 1966 and by the 1990s was long overdue a replacement. Alfa decided to combine a follow on to the Alfetta GTV, long out of production, with a new Spider model, and first work started in the late 1980s. The task was handed to Pininfarina, and Enrico Fumia’s initial renderings were produced in September 1987, with the first clay models to complete 1:1 scale model made in July 1988. Fumia produced something rather special. Clearly an Italian design, with the Alfa Romeo grille with dual round headlights, recalling the Audi-based Pininfarina Quartz, another design produced by Enrico Fumia back in 1981, the proposal was for a car that was low-slung, wedge-shaped with a low nose and high kicked up tail. The back of the car is “cut-off” with a “Kamm tail” giving improved aerodynamics. The Spider would share these traits with the GTV except that the rear is rounded, and would feature a folding soft-top with five hoop frame, which would completely disappear from sight under a flush fitting cover. An electric folding mechanism would be fitted as an option. Details included a one-piece rear lamp/foglamp/indicator strip across the rear of the body, the minor instruments in the centre console angled towards the driver. The exterior design was finished in July 1988. After Vittorio Ghidella, Fiat’s CEO, accepted the design, Alfa Romeo Centro Stile under Walter de Silva was made responsible for the completion of the detail work and also for the design of the interiors, as Pininfarina’s proposal was not accepted. The Spider and GTV were to be based on the then-current Fiat Group platform, called Tipo Due, in this case a heavily modified version with an all new multilink rear suspension. The front suspension and drivetrain was based on the 1992 Alfa Romeo 155 saloon. Chief engineer at that time was Bruno Cena. Drag coefficient was 0.33 for the GTV and 0.38 for the Spider. Production began in late 1993 with four cars, all 3.0 V6 Spiders, assembled at the Alfa Romeo Arese Plant in Milan. In early 1994 the first GTV was produced, with 2.0 Twin Spark engine. The first premiere was then held at the Paris Motor Show in 1994. The GTV and Spider were officially launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1995 and sales began the same year. The cars were well received. At launch, many journalists commented that Alfa had improved overall build quality considerably and that it came very close to equalling its German rivals. I can vouch for that, as I owned an early GTV for eighteen months, and it was a well built and reliable car. In 1997 a new engine, a 24-valve 3.0 litre V6, was available for the GTV along with bigger, 12.0 inch brakes and red four-pot calipers from Brembo. The console knobs were changed from round central to rectangle ones and to a three-spoke steering wheel. Some versions were upgraded with different front bumper mesh to bring the wind noise down to 74 dBA. In May 1998 the cars were revamped for the first time, creating the Phase 2 models. Most of the alterations were inside. The interior was changed with new centre console, painted letters on skirt seals, changed controls and switches arrangement and different instrument cluster. Outside, the main changes included chrome frame around the grille and colour-coded side skirts and bumpers. A new engine was introduced, the 142 hp 1.8 Twin Spark, and others were changed: the 2.0 Twin Spark was updated with a modular intake manifold with different length intakes and a different plastic cover. Power output of the 2.0 TS was raised to 153 hp. Engines changed engine management units and have a nomenclature of CF2. The dashboard was available in two new colours in addition to the standard black: Red Style and Blue Style, and with it new colour-coded upholstery and carpets. The 3.0 24V got a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and the 2.0 V6 TB engine was now also available for the Spider. August 2000 saw the revamp of engines to comply with new emission regulations, Euro3. The new engines were slightly detuned, and have a new identification code: CF3. 3.0 V6 12V was discontinued for the Spider and replaced with 24V Euro3 version from the GTV. 2.0 V6 Turbo and 1.8 T.Spark were discontinued as they did not comply with Euro3 emissions. By the 2001-2002 model year, only 2 engines were left, the 2.0 Twin.Spark and 3.0 V6 24V, until the Phase 3 engine range arrived. The Arese plant, where the cars had been built, was closing and, in October 2000, the production of GTV/Spider was transferred to Pininfarina Plant in San Giorgio Canavese in Turin. In 2003 there was another and final revamp, creating the Phase 3, also designed in Pininfarina but not by Enrico Fumia. The main changes were focused on the front with new 147-style grille and different front bumpers with offset numberplate holder. Change to the interior was minimal with different centre console and upholstery pattern and colours available. Instrument illumination colour was changed from green to red. Main specification change is an ASR traction control, not available for 2.0 TS Base model. New engines were introduced: 163 hp 2.0 JTS with direct petrol injection and 237 hp 3.2 V6 24V allowing a 158 mph top speed. Production ceased in late 2004, though some cars were still available for purchase till 2006. A total of 80,747 cars were made, and sales of the GTV and Spider were roughly equal. More V6 engined GTVs than Spiders were made, but in 2.0 guise, it was the other way round with the open model proving marginally more popular.
When the 156 was launched in 1997, things looked very bright for Alfa. Striking good looks were matched by a driving experience that the press reckoned was better than any of its rivals. The car picked up the Car of the Year award at the end of the year. and when it went on sale in the UK in early 1998, waiting lists soon stretched out more than 12 months. Reflecting the way the market was going, Alfa put a diesel engine under the bonnet, launched a (not very good, it has to be admitted) automated transmission with the SeleSpeed, added a very pretty if not that commodious an estate model they called Sport Wagon and then added a top spec 3.2 litre GTA with its 250 bhp engine giving it a performance to outrun all its rivals. And yet, it did not take long before the press turned on the car, seduced by the latest 3 Series once more, citing build quality issues which were in fact far from universal. The 156 received a very minor facelift in 2002 and a more significant one in late 2003 with a new front end that was a clue to what would come with the car’s successor. Production ceased in 2005. These cars are getting quite rare at events now.
Having a rather short production life was the GTA version of the 147. Launched in 2002. this car was intended to compete with the most sporting Golf and Focus models of the day. as well as injecting more potency into a range which always seemed like it needed more power. Fitted with a 3.2 V6 engine which produced 247 bhp, the 147GTA was the most powerful hot hatch available at the time, and the modifications to the body, including lower sills and wider wheel arches, if anything, made it look even better rather than endowing it with the sort of “after market look” that can afflict some high end performance versions of regular family cars. Performance figures were impressive, with the car able to achieve a top speed of 153 mph. It had a widened body by 15 mm at each side to accommodate the 225/45R17 tyres. Most models had a 6-speed manual transmissions; whilst a smaller number of other models used the semi automatic Selespeed system. Production ran through to 2004 and in total 5,029 147 GTAs were built, 1004 of which were Selespeeds. Only around 300 came to the UK, so this was never a common sighting on British roads.
Alfa followed the 156 a couple of years later, in late 1998, with a larger saloon, the 166, hoping to receive the same sort of acclaim with this executive car which was a direct replacement for the 164. It was not forthcoming. For a start, the styling with its drooping and very small headlamps and pointed nose was quite unlike anything else on the market at the time. Part of the difficulty came from the fat that the car had been designed some years before its launch and then put on the back burner as the 156 was given priority. The 166 was initially available with a 155 PS 2.0-litre Twin Spark, a 190 PS 2.5 V6, a 220 PS 3.0 V6 and in some markets a 205 PS V6 2.0 Turbo petrol engine along with a diesel powered L5 2.4 10v common rail turbodiesel version with 136 PS, 140 PS and 150 PS (148 hp) output. The 2.0 TS model used a 5-speed manual gearbox, whilst the 2.5 and 3.0 had the option of a Sportronic automatic gearbox. The 3.0 V6, L5 2.4 and V6 Turbo were otherwise supplied with a six-speed manual gearbox. The top models were named “Super”, and included MOMO leather interior, 17″ alloy wheels, rain sensitive wipers, cruise control, climate control and ICS (Integrated Control System) with colour screen. Options included xenon headlamps, GSM connectivity and satellite navigation. Suspension systems comprised double wishbones at the front and a multi-link setup for the rear. Though the car’s handling characteristics, engine range and elegant exterior design received praise from many, including Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, it did not become a strong seller to rival the dominant German brands, in the European executive car sector. In September 2003, the 166 underwent a substantial revamp, with the début at the Frankfurt Motor Show. As well as upgrades to the chassis, interior, and the engine range, the styling was substantially altered. The new front end resembled the also recently revamped 156, and lost its famous drooping headlights. The 2.0 V6 Turbo model was dropped because of marketing problems, the V6 2.5 was re-rated at 188 PS and a 3.2 litre V6 with 240 PS was introduced. Both the 3.2 litre and the 2.0 Twin Spark models now featured the six-speed manual gearbox, whilst the 3.0 model was retained, but made available only in Sportronic form. In the diesel sector, the L5 2.4 was re-engineered with Multi-Jet technology which allows up to 5 injections per cycle, second stage common rail, with maximum injection pressure of 1400 bar and 4 valves per cylinder, to output a class leading 175 PS, but these changes made little impact on sales volumes. In October 2005, the Alfa Romeo 166 was officially withdrawn from sale in markets for RHD. Sales of the 166 never grew as Alfa had hoped, following the facelift in September 2003, and the additional lack of a diesel engine in the United Kingdom, Australian, and Irish markets limited its reach into company car sectors. In June 2007, production of the 166 effectively ended, with no direct successor. In September 2008, the platform was sold to the Chinese state run manufacturer GAC Group. In total, less than 100,000 units were made.
Although I am sure there are those who would beg to differ, my contention is that car styling in the twentyfirst century has gone through a period which will not be viewed particularly positively in years to come, with a myriad of forgettable designs and more recently plenty which in trying to be distinctive are just downright ugly. There have been a few high points, though, and top of that list for me must be the Alfa 8C Competizione, a lone example of which was to be seen here. As well as the looks, this car also has noise on its side, with a sound track which must rate as one of the best of recent times. So that is two boxes ticket for me. The press saw it rather differently, and were rather critical of the car when it was new, but for me, finding plenty to fault with the way the car drove. First seen as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003, the concept was conceived as a reminder for people who were perhaps slightly disillusioned with contemporary Alfa products that the company could still style something as striking in the 21st century as it had been able to do in the 1950s and 1960s. Public reaction was very positive, but Fiat Group Execs were very focused on Ferrari and Maserati and they were not entirely convinced that a car like this was appropriate as it could encroach on those brands’ territory. It was only in 2006, with new management in place that it is decided that a limited production run of just 500 cars would give the once proud marque something of a boost. Announcement of the production version, visually little different from the 2003 concept car was made at the 2006 Paris Show, and it was soon evident that Alfa could have sold far more than 500 cars To turn the concept into reality, Alfa used a shortened Maserati Quattroporte platform with a central steel section, subframes front and rear and main outer panels that were all made from carbon fibre, with the result that the complete car weighed 300 kg less than the GranTurismo. Final assembly was carried out by Maserati, with the cars being built between 2007 and 2010. Competiziones (Coupes) first, and then 500 Spiders. Just 40 of the Competizione models came to the UK. Most of them were sent to the US, so this car is exceptionally rare and is much sought after by collectors. They were fearsomely expensive when new, listing for around £150,000, but prices have never dipped far below this, so anyone who bought one, should they ever feel the need to sell it, is not going to lose money on the car.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is a two-seater, rear-wheel drive coupé with technology and materials derived from the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, with a 1750 cc turbo petrol engine with direct injection, the “Alfa TCT” twin dry clutch transmission, and the Alfa DNA dynamic control selector. The 4C concept version was unveiled in the 81st Geneva Motor Show in March 2011, followed by the Mille Miglia 2011 parade, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011,2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was displayed for the first time outside in Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2012. Compared to the production version, it is very similar, with the biggest differences being front lights, side vents and mirrors. The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept was voted the ‘Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year’ award by the readers of German magazine Auto Bild, and won the Auto Bild Design Award 2011. It was awarded the “Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes” by referendum of the public in Villa d’Este. The production car was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, followed by 2013 Essen ‘Techno Classica’, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013, Moscow Raceway, 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The bare ‘4C000’ chassis was also shown at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Ordering of European models began in October 2013 at Alfa Romeo dealerships in Europe. As part of the Alfa Romeo 4C launch, Alfa Romeo Style Centre and Compagnia Ducale designed a 4C IFD (Innovative Frame Design) Bicycle, inspired by the Alfa Romeo 4C coupé. The vehicle went on sale in December 2013 and marketed in Europe, Asia and America. Production of the 4C began May 2013 at Maserati’s plant in Modena, with an expected production of up to 2500 units per year. It was the first mass-produced Alfa Romeo model to be sold in the US market since 1995 when the 164 sedan stopped being sold in the US. Production of the Alfa Romeo 4C was originally estimated to be over 1000 units per year, with an upper limit of 3500 units per year, depending on the quantity of carbon fibre chassis that can be built by the supplier Adler Plastic.Within the 3,500-unit quota, 1,000 units are earmarked for Europe. Delivery of the European Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition took place at Balocco (Vercelli, Italy) Test Centre. In 2018, the 4C coupe was discontinued for the North American market. The 4C Spider, however continued to be sold there for model year 2019 and model year 2020. In other markets, such as Australia and Japan, both the coupe and Spider continued. In late 2020, a new tribute-edition named the 4C Spider 33 Stradale Tributo was announced. The car was designed by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo (Style Centre) and developed by Alfa Romeo. The chassis is composed of a central carbon fibre tub, with aluminium subframes front and rear. The carbon fibre tub is produced by TTA (Tecno Tessile Adler) in Airola, as a joint venture between Adler Plastic and Lavorazione Materiali Compositi. The carbon fibre components that make up the chassis are cut using CNC technology. The entire carbon-fiber monocoque chassis (“tub”) of the car weighs 143 pounds (65 kg). Front and rear aluminium subframes combine with the tub, roof reinforcements and engine mounting to comprise the 4C chassis giving the vehicle a total chassis weight of 236 lb (107 kg) and a total vehicle curb weight of just 2,465 lb (1,118 kg). The 4C has a single carbon fibre body, similar to the body of many supercars. The outer body is made of a composite material (SMC for Sheet Moulding Compound) which is 20% lighter than steel. The stability is comparable to steel and better than aluminium. The 4C employs double wishbone suspensions at the front and MacPherson struts at the rear. The resultant weight distribution is 38% on the front and 62% on the rear axle. Wheels and tyres have different diameters and widths front and rear: 205/45 R17 front and 235/40 R18 back as standard, with optional 205/40 R18 and 235/35 R19. Both wheel options come equipped with Pirelli P Zero tyres. The 4C uses vented disc brakes on all wheels; Brembo 305 millimetres (12.0 in) on the front and 292 millimetres (11.5 in) on the rear. The car can stop from 100 km/h (62 mph) in 36 metres. To save weight and increase steering feel, the 4C has no power steering. Its center of gravity height, at 40 centimetres (16 in) off the ground, is 7 centimetres (2.8 in) lower than that of the Lotus Elise. The 4C uses a new all-aluminium 1,742 cc inline 4 cylinder turbocharged engine producing 240 PS at 6000 rpm. The engine has been designed for minimum weight. The engine’s combined fuel consumption 6.8 l/100 km (42 mpg imp; 35 mpg US). 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) acceleration is achieved in 4.5 seconds and the top speed is 258 km/h (160 mph), the power-to-weight-ratio being just 0.267 hp/kg (8.22 lb/hp) A journalist from Quattroruote car magazine demonstrated how the 4C accelerates from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) faster than 4.5 seconds. In race mode, with left foot on the brake pedal, if you pull the right shift paddle the engine will rev to 3500 rpm, but if you also pull the left paddle the engine will rev to 6000 rpm and 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) time will go down to 4.2 seconds. Italian car magazine Quattroruote published the lap time of 4C around Nürburgring. It lapped the ring in 8:04. The 4C is equipped with a six speed Alfa TCT Dual Dry Clutch Transmission, and can be operated via gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. It also has an Alfa ‘DNA’ dynamic control selector which controls the behavior of engine, brakes, throttle response, suspension and gearbox. In addition to the modes already seen in Giulietta, the 4C has a new “Race” mode. The U.S. version of the 4C was introduced in the 2014 New York International Auto Show with the first 100 4C’s being shipped to the U.S. early July, with a total of 850 being shipped by the end of 2014. The U.S. model includes extra bracing and strengthening required to meet U.S. crash regulations (including aluminium inserts in the carbon fiber chassis), resulting in 100 kg (220 lb) of weight increase. This version also has new headlamps similar to those seen before in the 4C Spider version. In 2018, the 4C coupe was discontinued for the North American market due to US DOT NHTSA FMVSS 226 Ejection Mitigation. The regulation called for a progressive compliance date based on volume and, due to low volume, the 4C was allowed to continue until the last compliance date of 9/1/2017, thus all 2018 4C coupes in North America have build dates of 8/2017 or earlier. The 4C Spider, however continued to be sold in North America for model year 2019 and model year 2020. The Spider version of the 4C was previewed showing a pre-production prototype at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Sharing its engine with the Coupé version, the 4C Spider has different external parts such as the headlights, exhaust and engine hood, as well as a different roof section that features a removable roof panel. The North American spec 4C reflects a weight difference of only 22 lb (10 kg) (2,465 lbs vs. 2,487 lbs) for the Spider variant. Top speed is quoted at 257 km/h (160 mph) and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) at 4.5 seconds. The 4C Launch Edition was a limited and numbered edition, unveiled at the vehicle’s launch at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The vehicle came in a choice of four paint colours (Rosso Alfa, Rosso Competizione tri-coat, Madreperla White tri-coat or Carrara White matte). 500 examples were reserved for Europe/ROW, 500 for North America, 88 for Australia (Rosso Alfa and Madreperla White only), 200 to Japan and 100 for the Middle East. Note that the original press release cited 500 for North America, 400 Europe, and 100 ROW; however, the plaques on actual cars suggest that more were built and are the numbers referenced above. Distinguishing features of the Launch Edition were carbon fibre trim (including headlight housings, spoiler and door mirror caps), rear aluminium extractor with dark finishing, Bi-LED headlights, dark painted 18-inch front and 19-inch rear alloy wheels, additional air intakes on the front fascia, red brake calipers, racing exhaust system, BMC air cleaner, specific calibration for shock absorbers and rear anti-roll bar, leather/fabric sports seats with parts in Alcantara and a numbered plaque. Alfa Red coloured cars got matching red stitching on the steering wheel, handbrake, mats, handles and sports seats. In Europe the vehicle went on sale for 60,000 euros including VAT. The 4C Competizione is a limited edition version of the 4C introduced in the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, finished in matte Vesuvio Grey, with carbon details on the roof, rear spoiler, mirror caps, side air vents and headlight moulding. The run reportedly consisted of 108 units. The Japanese market received 25 units, and 10 units were assigned to Australia. The US-market received no Competizione editions. The car had a very mixed reaction. The UK press hated it at launch, but owners generally disagreed and loved it. A total of 9117 were built before production ceased in 2020.
And finally, there were a couple of examples of the current Giulia.
The DB2/4 was the first new post-war Aston, and the first car to adopt the now legendary DB naming convention, reflecting the fact that in 1947 David Brown had bought the Aston Martin and Lagonda companies and incorporated them as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. Lagonda’s 2.6 litre dual overhead cam, straight-six engine, more powerful than the pushrod 1.9 litre unit in the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, was the main objective in Brown’s acquisition of the company. W. O. Bentley had supervised the engine’s design, which was largely by William (Willie) Watson, an engineer with the pre-war Invicta company who had collaborated on Lagonda’s pre-war V12 and also designed the short-lived post-war version. Work then started on producing a new car, which was called the DB2. This new model would utilise a version of the Lagonda engine in a shortened version of the tube-frame chassis designed by Claude Hill for the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, with a fastback coupé body designed by Frank Feeley. Three pre-production cars were entered for the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. One, which would become the development car for the production DB2, had the Lagonda straight-6, while the four-cylinder Aston Martin 2-litre unit powered the other two. After six laps the Lagonda-powered car, driven by Leslie Johnson, retired with overheating caused by failure of the water pump. One of the 2-litre cars was in 4th place and running without brakes when it crashed two hours short of the finish, fatally injuring driver Pierre Maréchal. The other finished 7th, crewed by Arthur Jones and Nick Haines. A month later, the larger-engined car, driven by Leslie Johnson and Charles Brackenbury, finished 3rd in the Spa 24-hour race, where one of the 2-litre cars was driven to 5th by Nick Haines and Lance Macklin. For 1950 all three factory team cars were equipped with the Lagonda engine. At the 1950 Le Mans race the one driven by George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished 5th, with Brackenbury and Reg Parnell bringing another home 6th, which won Aston Martin 1st and 2nd in the 3-litre class. Across the Atlantic, Briggs Cunningham drove his DB2 to 2nd in its class at the inaugural Sebring race meeting in December 1950. The factory team cars continued racing in Europe throughout 1951, including at Le Mans, where Macklin and Eric Thompson took 3rd overall, with Abecassis and Brian Shawe-Taylor 5th. David Brown soon embarked on a series of Aston Martins designed specifically for competition use, starting with the DB3. Meanwhile, the production DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950 and continued in production until April 1953, by which time 411 had been made. The first 49 had a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts, and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings. Subsequent cars had a one-piece grille with horizontal chrome slats, and no side vents. The single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front. At the rear of the fixed-head coupé (FHC) a small top-hinged lid gave access to the spare wheel, and luggage space was behind the front seats, accessible only from inside the car. Later in 1950, a Drophead Coupé (DHC) variant was introduced. At least 102 were built. In April 1950, an engine with larger carburettors, inlet camshaft the same as the exhaust (for increased duration), and higher compression ratio pistons (8.16:1) was made available. Aston Martin’s first Vantage upgrade option offered 125 hp. Initially the higher compression ratio made the engine unsuitable for the British market, as the postwar austerity measures of the early 1950s restricted UK vehicles to 72 octane “Pool petrol”. The first DB2 Vantage, LML 50/21, was delivered to, and raced by, Briggs Cunningham in the United States. A revised version of the DB2 was launched in 1953, called the DB2/4. It was available as a 2+2 hatchback, marketed as a Saloon, as a Drophead Coupé (DHC) and as a 2-seat Fixed Head Coupe. A small number of Bertone bodied spiders were commissioned by private buyers. A further update in 1957 created the Mark III, and this was produced until the launch of the DB4 in 1958.
Also here was the latest example of the Vantage from the current range.
Still well-regarded over 40 years since its launch is the Quattro, a legend which transformed rallying and brought the idea of four wheel drive as a performance benefit to the market. The idea for a high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed by Audi’s chassis engineer, Jörg Bensinger, in 1977, when he found that the Volkswagen Iltis could outperform any other vehicle in snow, no matter how powerful. Bensinger’s idea was to start developing an Audi 80 variant in co-operation with Walter Treser, Director of Pre-Development.. Following an unveiling on 1st March 1980, Audi released the original Quattro to European customers in late 1980, with the car featuring Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system (hence its name), and the first to mate four-wheel drive with a turbocharged engine. The original engine was the 2,144 cc in-line-5-cylinder 10 valve SOHC, with a turbocharger and intercooler. It produced 197 bhp propelling the Quattro from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds, and reaching a top speed of over 220 km/h (137 mph). The engine was eventually modified to a 2,226 cc inline-5 10 valve, still producing 197 bhp, but with peak torque lower in the rev-range. In 1989, it was then changed to a 2,226 cc inline-5 20v DOHC setup producing 217 bhp, now with a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) Audi Quattros are referred to among owners and enthusiasts by their engine codes, to differentiate between the earlier and later versions: the earliest 2144 cc 10v being the “WR” engine, the 2226 cc 10v being the “MB” engine, and the later 20v being the “RR” engine. Hence, Quattro models may be referred to as either the WR Quattro, MB Quattro, and RR or “20v” Quattro, respectively. Quattro car production was 11,452 vehicles over the period 1980–1991, and through this 11 year production span, despite some touch-ups, there were no major changes in the visual design of the vehicle. For the 1983 model year, the dash was switched from an analogue instrument cluster, to a green digital LCD electronic instrument cluster. This was later changed in 1988 to an orange LCD electronic instrument cluster. The interior was redesigned in 1984, and featured a whole new dash layout, new steering wheel design, and new centre console design, the switches around the instrument panel were also redesigned at this time. In 1985 the dash changed slightly with harder foam and lost a diagonal stripe, the dash switches were varied slightly and the diff lock pull knob gave way to a two-position turning knob with volt and oil temp digital readouts. External styling received very little modification during its production run. Originally, the car had a flat fronted grille featuring four separate headlamp lenses, one for each of the low and high beam units. This was altered for the 1983 model year, and replaced with combined units featuring a single lens, but housing twin reflectors. This was changed again, for the 1985 model year, in what has become known as the ‘facelift model’ and included such alterations as a new sloping front grille, headlights, and trim and badging changes. Max speed was 124 mph. The RR 20v Quattro also featured a new three spoke steering wheel design, leather covering for door arm rests, gloveboxes, centre console and door pockets. There was also a full length leather-wrapped centre console running all the way to the rear seats. The 20v was also the first Ur-Q to have “quattro” script interior with partial leather seats. The floor on the driver’s side had a bulge due to dual catalytic exhaust setup. The different models may be distinguished by the emblems on their boot lids: the WR had a vinyl ‘quattro’ decal or a brushed aluminium effect plastic emblem, the MB had chrome plated ‘audi’, ‘audi rings’ and ‘quattro’ emblems, whilst the RR had only chrome plated ‘audi rings’. The rear suspension was altered early on with geometry changes and removal of the rear anti-roll bar to reduce a tendency for lift-off oversteer. For the 1984 facelift, the wheel size went from 6×15-inch with 205/60-15 tyres to 8×15-inch wheels with 215/50-15 tyres. At the same time the suspension was lowered 20 mm with slightly stiffer springs for improved handling. For 1987, the Torsen centre differential was used for the first time, replacing the manual centre differential lock. The last original Audi Quattro was produced on 17 May 1991, more than two years after the first models of the new Audi Coupe range (based on the 1986 Audi 80) had been produced.
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 Autobianchi A112 was a supermini, developed using a shrunken version of the contemporary Fiat 128’s platform and whose mechanicals 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.
Bandini Automobili was an Italian automobile manufacturer operating between 1946 and 1992. It was named after its founder Ilario Bandini founded in 1946 in Bandini’s hometown Forlì, the first Bandini used a modified Fiat 1100 engine, the body was made from hand hammered aluminum and the chassis from aviation-grade tubular steel. Many other post-war Italian sports car companies followed a similar design. But Bandini’s sharp mind, racing knowledge and his eye for detail ensured that Bandini cars were a force to be reckoned with in Europe and the US. Interest in America surged when Bandini Siluros, with their screaming 750-cc engines and wildly flared front fenders, won SCCA class championships in 1955 and 1957. His slightly modified Crosley engines became famous thanks their DOHC Bandini heads. Bandini himself continued to race in Italy, including the Mille Miglia, while newer models were being built and developed at the factory. One of these included the new 1957 Sport International “Saponetta”. Ilario divided his time between design and manufacturing of the cars, and as a race driver. He entered and drove his cars in more than 60 races, both hillclimb events and track racing, including the Mille Miglia from 1947 until 1965, achieving 19 first-place finishes and 18 podiums in the 750cc and 1000cc classes. In the United States, Bandini cars won the SCCA HM class championship in 1955 thanks to driver Dolph Vilardi. In 1957 Melvin Sachs won the HM class, one of five Bandini’s in the first ten positions. The successes resulted in Ilario being presented with the Gold Key of Daytona and later in 1981 the Laurea H.C. award in mechanical engineering from PRODEO university of New York. In 1959 he produced one of the most successful Formula Juniors. Bandinis won SCCA Class HMod races well into the mid-1960s. A Bandini Siluro won the SCCA Southwest Regional Championship from 1961–1963 and the Saponetta took 3rd place in the National Hmod class in 1961. Bandini continued to make one-off cars well into the 1980s. Ilario, sometimes known as the “Great Drake of Forli” died in 1992. Seen here is the 750 Sport Saponetta. It features a hand hammered aluminium body and the car emerged in 1957. ‘Saponetta’ meaning little soap bar for being small and slippery. The engine consisted of a heavily modified Crosley block with an aluminium twin cam cylinder head designed by Ilario Bandini. Using twin Weber 32DCOA3 carburettors, the 747cc engine produced 68 H.P with a maximum rpm of 8,500. This car first raced in the Mille Miglia 1957 edition and up to 1962, it would race in many other races on circuits like Monza and Vallelunga, but also competed in many hillclimbs. In total 9 Saponettas were to be exported to the USA, the first of which arrived in 1959. The cars were raced extensively and very successfully in the SCCA championship at locations such as Watkins Glen during the 60’s. The unique patented oval tubing, lightweight engine, and aluminum body formed one of the lightest race cars built in its day.
Oldest of the Bentley models here was the Mark VI. Announced in May 1946, and produced from 1946 to 1952 it was also both the first car from Rolls-Royce with all-steel coachwork and the first complete car assembled and finished at their factory. These very expensive cars were a genuine success, long-term their weakness lay in the inferior steels forced on them by government’s post-war controls. The chassis continued to be supplied to independent coachbuilders. Four-door Saloon, two-door saloon and drophead coupe models with bodies by external companies were listed by Bentley along with the Bentley-bodied saloon. This shorter wheelbase chassis and engine was a variant of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith of 1946 and, with the same standard steel body and a larger boot became the cautiously introduced Silver Dawn of 1949. The same extended-boot modification was made to the Mark VI body in 1952 and the result became known as the R type Bentley.
A close relative of the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, the S Type was first revealed in April 1955. It represented a complete redesign of the standard production car, the R Type. It was a more generously sized five- or six-seater saloon with the body manufactured in pressed steel with stressed skin construction, with the doors, bonnet and boot lid made of aluminium. The external appearance was very different, although the car still had the traditional radiator grille. Compared to the outgoing R Type, the new model had a three inch longer wheelbase, was lower of build without reducing headroom and with an enlarged luggage boot, softer suspension with electrically operated control of rear dampers, lighter steering and improved braking. The engine, still a clear descendant of the one originally used in the Rolls-Royce Twenty from 1922 to 1929, had its capacity increased to 4887cc, and a four-speed automatic gearbox was standard, with the ability to select individual ratios if desired, which was enough to give the Bentley a top speed of just over 100 mph and 0 – 60 acceleration times of around 13 seconds. Standard and from 1957, long wheelbase saloons were offered and some were sent to the coachbuilders for alternative bodies to be fitted. An upgrade in 1959, creating the S2, saw the installation of a new V8 engine, and in 1962, the S3 cars gained four round headlights. 3072 S Types were made, 145 of them with coachbuilt bodies as well as 35 of the long wheelbase cars, before the model was replaced by the new T Type in 1965.
This is a late model Continental, a car which when launched was known as the Bentley Corniche. The Corniche was a development of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, with the two door variants of that model marketed as the “Silver Shadow Mulliner Park Ward two door fixed head coupé & drop head coupé” until March 1971 when the Corniche name was applied. The exterior design was by John Polwhele Blatchley. The model was assembled and finished in London at Mulliner Park Ward as continuation of the 1965 Silver Shadow coupe and 1966 drophead. A Bentley version was also sold, becoming known as the Continental in 1984. The Corniche, available as coupé or convertible, used the standard Rolls-Royce 6750 cc V8 engine with an aluminium-silicon alloy block and aluminium cylinder heads with cast iron wet cylinder liners. Twin SU carburettors were initially fitted, but were replaced with a single Solex 4A1 four-barrel carburettor introduced in 1977. A three-speed automatic transmission (a Turbo Hydramatic 350 sourced from General Motors) was standard. A four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs was augmented with a hydraulic self-levelling system (using the same system as did Citroën, but without pneumatic springs, and with the hydraulic components built under licence by Rolls-Royce), at first on all four, but later on the rear wheels only. Four wheel disc brakes were specified, with ventilated discs added for 1972. The car originally used a 119.75 in (3,042 mm) wheelbase. This was extended to 120 in (3,048 mm) in 1974 and 120.5 in (3,061 mm) in 1979. The Corniche received a mild restyling in the spring of 1977. Difference included rack-and-pinion steering, alloy and rubber bumpers, aluminium radiator, oil cooler and a bi-level air conditioning system was added. Later changes included a modified rear independent suspension in March 1979. In March 1981, after the Silver Spirit had gone on sale, the Coupé version of the Corniche and its Bentley sister were discontinued. For 1985 there were also cosmetic and interior changes. Corniche models received Bosch KE/K-Jetronic fuel injection in 1977. This engine, called the L410I, produced approximately 240 PS at just above 4,000 rpm for a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph). The Bentley version was updated in July 1984 with a new name, the Continental, revised and colour-coded bumpers, rear view mirrors, a new dash and improvements to the seats. Production totalled 1090 Rolls-Royce Corniche Saloons, 3239 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertibles, 69 Bentley Corniche Saloons and 77 Bentley Corniche Convertibles.
The Bentley Azure is a four-seater convertible grand tourer produced by British automobile manufacturer Bentley Motors. The first version debuted in 1995 on the Bentley Continental R platform and was made until 2003. After a three-year break, a completely new version debuted in 2006 and was produced until 2009. It was powered by a significantly updated engine and based on the newer Arnage platform. The name was taken from earlier Robert Jankel sportier 2-door conversions that evolved into the Continental R. The Azure debuted in March 1995 at the Geneva Motor Show on the platform of the Continental R model, which had been originally launched in 1991. Production only crept to a start, with a mere nine examples finished in the first year – in 1996, after full production had started, no less than 251 cars were finished. Pininfarina assisted in the two-year process of turning the Continental R into a full four-seater convertible, and also built the shell and soft-top at their factory in Italy, largely from parts sourced in the UK. Final assembly was then carried out at Crewe. A roll-bar was never considered, which necessitated extensive reinforcing of the chassis. At 210 in (5,340 mm) in length and 2,608 kg (5,750 lb) in weight, the Azure often surprised onlookers with its size and bulk, intended to both convey a sense of “presence” and allow for comfortable seating of four adult passengers. Power came from the company’s stalwart 6.75-litre V8, featuring a single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger and rated in the region of 365 PS – Rolls-Royce and Bentley did not yet give official power numbers at the time of the Azure’s introduction. By the time production began in earnest, a new engine management system from Zytek meant a slight power increase to 390 PS at 4,000 rpm and 750 N⋅m (553 lb/ft) of torque at 2,000 rpm; power was routed to the rear wheels via a modified, General Motors sourced, four-speed 4L80-E automatic transmission. With a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 241 km/h (150 mph), the Azure was very fast for a car of its size, weight and poor aerodynamic profile. Owing to the limited space and workforce at Bentley’s Crewe factory, the Azure’s electrically powered convertible top made from thick fabric was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina, which significantly added to the vehicle’s cost. New in 1995, the Azure was priced at £215,167 – £22,590 more than the Continental R on which it was based. From 1999 until the end of production, the Azure was also available in “Mulliner” trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customisation during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests. Just like its Rolls-Royce counterpart, towards the end of its production, it also had a final edition, called “Final series performance”, created from 2002 to 2003, only 62 were made. The Last RHD sold being Chassis no. CH01228 while the very last Azure was retained at the Crewe plant.
Rather more recent was this Continental GTC Supersports.
The Bizzarrini Europa was a small grand tourer produced by Bizzarrini between 1966 and 1969. The Europa was intended to be a smaller, lower cost alternative to the more expensive Strada model that would take Bizzarrini into volume production and compete with sports cars from Alfa Romeo and Lancia. However, due to the bankruptcy of Bizzarrini in 1969, production of the Europa ended after only a handful of cars were built. Originally powered by a 1,481 cc Fiat inline-four engine, the car officially became the Europa with the introduction of an 1,897 cc Opel engine. The 1.9L engine was mounted behind the front axle, like in the Strada, produced around 110 hp and allowed the Europa to reach a claimed top speed of 128 mph (206 km/h). The Europa also featured a fiberglass body, penned by Bizzarrini designer Pietro Vanni, independent front and rear suspension, a limited slip differential and four wheel disc brakes. Between 12 and 17 examples were said to have been built by Bizzarrini; the definitive number is unknown, as the factory did not keep records. However, some cars, sources say around 20, were assembled in the late 1960s and early 1970s using Europa parts and unused chassis from the Bizzarrini factory after they went bankrupt. However, these cars were not assembled by Bizzarrini themselves.
The BMW 501 was a luxury car manufactured from 1952 to 1958. Introduced at the first Frankfurt Motor Show in 1951, the 501 was the first BMW model to be manufactured and sold after the Second World War, and as the first BMW car built in Bavaria. The 501 and its derivatives, including the V8 powered BMW 502, were nicknamed “Baroque Angels” by the German public. The BMW 502 was the first postwar German car to be manufactured with a V8 engine. The 501 made an impression on the public with its solid engineering and its extravagance. Its list price of more than fifteen thousand Deutsche Mark was about four times the average yearly salary in Germany at the time. Development issues delayed the start of production until late 1952, and even then BMW still did not have equipment for pressing body panels in operation. The first 2,045 four-door saloon bodies were built by Karosserie Baur and were shipped from Baur in Stuttgart to BMW’s factory in Munich for assembly. The thousandth 501 was completed on 1 September 1953. Coupe and convertible versions were available as custom orders from Baur or Autenrieth. While the 501 and 502 model numbers were discontinued in 1958, variations of the model, with the same platform and body, were continued until 1963.
The BMW 3200 CS was a sports touring car manufactured between January 1962 and September 1965. It was designed by Bertone and was introduced at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show. More than five hundred were built. In 1960, Helmut Werner Bonsch, BMW’s marketing manager, discovered that the Pininfarina body for the Lancia Flaminia coupe would fit on the chassis of the BMW 3200L sedan without major modification. He proposed to BMW’s management to commission Pininfarina to build Flaminia coupe bodies with BMW grilles in order to create a successor to the 503, which had been discontinued in 1959. After deliberation, the management rejected Bonsch’s proposal and instead ordered chief engineer Fritz Fiedler to commission Bertone to design and manufacture a coupe body for the 3200S. This used a perimeter frame,a 3,168 cc twin-carburettor version of the BMW OHV V8 engine, delivering 160 bhp, a four speed manual gear box,a live rear axle, disc brakes on the front wheels,and torsion bar springs at all four wheels. The 3200 CS was introduced at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show alongside the BMW 1500. While the 1500 represented a completely new direction for BMW, the 3200 CS was based on the chassis of a car introduced at the Frankfurt show ten years earlier. One 3200 CS convertible was built by BMW for their major shareholder, Herbert Quandt. The 3200 CS was the end of an era. It was the last of BMW’s early postwar luxury cars. As such, it was the last BMW automobile to have pushrod-operated engine valves, a perimeter frame, or a solid rear axle. Stylistically, however, the 3200 CS gave a view of what was to come. The low beltline, tall greenhouse and thin pillars of the 3200 CS became a template for BMW’s later coupes, including the 2000 C and CS coupes based on the New Class sedans, and the E9 “New Six” coupes. Both BMW cars introduced at the 1961 Frankfurt show, the 3200 CS and the 1500, featured what became known as the Hofmeister kink, but sales started only in 1962 and it was the 3200 CS, sold from February 1962, which was the first BMW offered for sale incorporating this styling cue. The 3200 CS was built from January 1962 to September 1965. Sources differ concerning numbers produced.
This is a 1600 GT coupe. The car started out as a Glas model, produced by Hans Glas GmbH at Dingolfing. The car was first presented as the Glas 1300 GT in September 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with volume production starting in March 1964. The much rarer cabriolet version appeared in May 1965 and a larger engined 1700 GT in May 1965. Deliveries of the Glas 1300GT began in March 1964. The body was designed by the Piedmontese firm Frua of Moncalieri. The body shells were built in Moncalierei by coach builders Maggiora, then shipped to the Glas factory at Dingolfing for final assembly. The 1,290 cc engine was a bored-out version of the modern unit that had powered the manufacturer’s 1004 model since 1962, with an overhead camshaft . Claimed power output at this point was 75 PS which provided a top speed of 170 km/h (106 mph). In September 1965 maximum power was increased to 85 PS. The car was fitted with larger wheels and the top speed rose to 175 km/h (109 mph). From September 1965 the cars could be ordered with the 1,682 cc engine from the newly-introduced Glas 1700 TS sedan, which had a maximum power output of 100 PS and a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). The longer stroke of the 1,682 cc engine made the unit slightly taller than the smaller engine fitted in the 1300 GT which necessitated a ridge along the center of the bonnet/hood. Matters were simplified by specifying the same bonnet ridge for all GT models regardless of engine size from the September 1965. The 1700 GT was also homologated for sale in the US, which was then a lucrative market for European sports cars. With the BMW acquisition of the Glas business, the GT was refitted to accommodate the 1,573 cc BMW engine already fitted in the BMW 1600. The BMW “new class” models introduced in 1962 had attracted press comment concerning the fact that the engine was canted over at an angle of 30 degrees from the vertical plane, permitting a lower bonnet/hood line, and this feature was retained when the engine was fitted in the Glas GT body to create what was now branded as the BMW 1600GT. By using the BMW engine the car also acquired a further increase in power output, now up to 105 PS. Handling was improved by applying the BMW’s relatively sophisticated semi-trailing arm rear axle with coil springs in place of the more old fashioned rigid rear axle and leaf spring configuration previously employed by the Glas GT. BMW also took the opportunity to fit “new” round rear lights – being those that from 1966 also featured on the BMW 1602, and to reconfigure the front grill to incorporate the BMW “twin kidney” grilles. Between 1964 and 1967 Glas produced 5,376 GTs including 363 cabriolets. Between June 1967 and August 1968 a further 1,259 BMW badged cars were produced
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.
It was good to see an example here of the E3 generation, BMW’s top of the line saloons made from 1968 to 1977. The first cars had the choice of 2500 or 2800 in-line six cylinder engines and were closely related to the E9 Coupe models which you see more frequently these days. More power was added, as the engines got larger, with the 3 litre available in carburettor and fuel injected format and the top of the range had a 3.3 litre injected engine and was available with a longer wheelbase. Expensive when new compared to rivals such as the top of the range Ford Granada or the Jaguar XJ6, they are a rare sighting these days.
Several example of the E9 coupe models were to be found here. These two-door coupés were built for BMW by Karmann from 1968 to 1975 and were developed from the New Class-based BMW 2000 CS coupé. The first of the E9 coupés, the 2800 CS, replaced the 2000 C and 2000 CS in 1968. The wheelbase and length were increased to allow the engine bay to be long enough to accommodate the new straight-six engine code-named M30, and the front of the car was restyled to resemble the E3 saloon. The rear axle, however, remained the same as that used in the lesser “Neue Klasse” models and the rear brakes were initially drums – meaning that the 2800 saloon was a better performing car, as it was also lighter. The CS’ advantages were thus strictly optical to begin with The 2800 CS used the 2,788 cc version of the engine used in the E3 2800 ssaloon. The engine produced 170 hp.The 2800CS was replaced by the 3.0 CS and 3.0 CSi in 1971. The engine had been bored out to give a displacement of 2,986 cc, and was offered with a 9.0:1 compression ratio, twin carburettors, and 180 hp in the 3.0 CS or a 9.5:1 compression ratio, Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection, and 200 hp in the 3.0 CSi. There was a 4 speed manual and an automatic transmission variant. Introduced in May 1972, the 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built to make the car eligible for racing in the European Touring Car Championship. 1,265 were built. The “L” in the designation meant leicht (light), unlike in other BMW designations, where it meant lang (long). The lightness was achieved by using thinner steel to build the unit body, deleting the trim and soundproofing, using aluminium alloy doors, bonnet, and boot lid, and using Perspex side windows. The five hundred 3.0 CSLs exported to the United Kingdom were not quite as light as the others, as the importer had insisted on retaining the soundproofing, electric windows, and stock E9 bumpers on these cars. Initially using the same engine as the 3.0 CS, the 3.0 CSL was given a very small increase in displacement to 3,003 cc by increasing the engine bore by one quarter of a millimetre. This was done in August 1972 to allow the CSL to be raced in the “over three litre” racing category, allowing for some increase in displacement in the racing cars. In 1973,the engine in the 3.0 CSL was given another, more substantial increase in displacement to 3,153 cc by increasing the stroke to 84 mm. This final version of the 3.0 CSL was homologated in July 1973 along with an aerodynamic package including a large air dam, short fins running along the front fenders, a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof, and a tall rear wing. The rear wings were not installed at the factory, but were left in the boot for installation after purchase. This was done because the wings were illegal for use on German roads. The full aero package earned the racing CSLs the nickname “Batmobile”. In 1973, Toine Hezemans won the European Touring Car Championship in a 3.0 CSL and co-drove a 3.0 CSL with Dieter Quester to a class victory at Le Mans. Hezemans and Quester had driven to second place at the 1973 German Touring Car Grand Prix at Nürburgring, being beaten only by Chris Amon and Hans-Joachim Stuck in another 3.0 CSL 3.0 CSLs would win the European Touring Car Championship again in every year from 1975 to 1979. The 3.0 CSL was raced in the IMSA GT Championship in 1975, with Sam Posey, Brian Redman, and Ronnie Peterson winning races during the season. The first two BMW Art Cars were 3.0 CSLs; the first was painted by Alexander Calder and the second by Frank Stella.
The E12 was the first generation of BMW 5 Series mid-size luxury sedans, which was produced from June 1972 to 1981, as a replacement for the “New Class” saloons. The lead designer for the E12 was Paul Bracq. At the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, BMW had unveiled the 2200ti Gamish concept car, a 2-door sedan which was developed in conjunction with Bertone. Although the 2200ii Gamish concept car was shown as a potential replacement for the New Class sedans, the eventual E12 production model is visually very different to the concept car. At launch, the car was offered with a choice of 2 litre carburettor and injected engines, the 520 and 520i. Over the following years, BMW expanded the range, with the first addition being the more powerful 6 cylinder 525 in 1974, and then the cheaper 518 and more potent 528 joined the following year. In 1977, the M10 four cylinder unit in the 520 models was replaced by the M20 six cylinder unit. (which was initially named “M60”, but renamed to M20 in mid-1981), and this model is often referred to as the 520/6. A minor facelift came in at this time, too and the 525 and 528’s dual Zenith carburettors were replaced with a single Solex 4A1 DVG four-barrel. The 528 was produced until September 1977, replaced by the fuel-injected 528i, which began production in July 1978. More potent 530 and the M535i were added to the range in 1979. There was no M5 model for the E12, however the E12 M535i is considered to be the predecessor to the M5. The E12 was replaced by the similar looking E28 in 1981, although E12 production continued until 1984 in South Africa. The production total for the E12 is 699,094 units, including 23,100 produced in South Africa, fewer than any subsequent 5 series generation.
The BMW E28 was produced from 1981 to 1988 and replaced the E12 5 Series. The E28 has a self-supporting body that is welded to the body platform. The passenger cell is a safety passenger cell with deformation elements both in the front and rear of the vehicle. Unlike its E12 predecessor and E34 successor, the E28 has a rear-hinged bonnet. The boot has a volume of 460 litres. Most models have a fuel tank capacity of 70 L with some models having a smaller tank of 63 litres. The kerb weight is 1,140–1,410 kg (2,513–3,109 lb). Cruise control, an ‘on-board computer’ (to display trip information) and a “check control” panel (to alert the driver about fluid levels and lighting faults) were introduced to the 5 Series on the E28. The glazing is made of single-pane safety glass, the windscreen has laminated glass. As part of developing the air-conditioning system for the E28, several of the BMW engineers in charge of this program drove a previous generation E12 5 Series during the middle of summer in Texas. The E12 528i was painted black with a black interior, and driven 500 mi (805 km) in one day.The styling was developed under BMW’s chief designer Claus Luthe, with development of the E28 beginning in 1975. At the time that BMW was designing the E28, the company had only one computer, which was used for payroll management and spare parts logistics. Wolfgang Matschinsky and his team borrowed that computer to perform the calculations necessary to develop the new drivetrain and chassis. This was due to the fact that the addition of an ABS system necessitated a redesign from the previous model due to excessive vibrations under heavy braking. The four models available at the launch of the E28 were the 518, 520i, 525i and 528i, with the 518 using a straight-four petrol engine and the other three models using a straight-six petrol engine. Over the course of the E28 model, the following models were added: the 524d and 524td using diesel engines, the 518i (a fuel-injected version of the 518), the 525e/528e as fuel-economy models, and the upper-specification 533i, 535i, M535i, and M5 models. Production ceased at the end of 1987 in readiness for the E34 generation. A total of 722,328 cars were built.
It was nice to see an E28 M5, the first model to bear the now legendary name. This M5 made its debut at Amsterdam Motor Show in February 1984. It was the product of demand for an automobile with the carrying capacity of a saloon, but the overall appearance of a sports car. It utilised the 535xi chassis and an evolution of the bodykit from the M535i. At its launch, the E28 M5 was the fastest production sedan in the world. The first generation M5 was hand-built in Preussenstrasse/Munich prior to the 1986 Motorsport factory summer vacation. Thereafter, M5 production was moved to Daimlerstrasse in Garching where the remainder were built by hand. Production of the M5 continued until November 1988, well after production of the E28 chassis ended in Germany in December 1987. The M5 was produced in four different versions based on intended export locations. These were the left-hand drive Euro spec, the right-hand drive UK spec, the LHD North American spec for the United States and Canada, and the RHD South African spec. The European and South African M5s used the M88/3 engine which produced 286 PS. North American 1988 models used the S38B35 engine which was equipped with a catalytic converter and produced 256 hp. With a total production of 2,191 units, the E28 M5 remains among the rarest regular production BMW Motorsport cars – after the BMW M1 (456 units), BMW E34 M5 Touring (891 units), and the BMW 850CSi (1510 units).
First M car of them all, though none of us really knew just how significant the letter would become when it was launched, was the M1. In the late 1970s, Italian manufacturer Lamborghini had entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation, but conflicts arose and Lamborghini’s increasingly tenuous financial position at the time meant that BMW reasserted control over the project and ended up producing the car themselves after 7 prototypes had been built. The result was the BMW M1 a hand-built car that was sold to the public between 1978 and 1981 under the Motorsport division of BMW. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo show car. The only mid-engined BMW to be “mass”produced, it employed a twin-cam M88/1 3.5 litre 6-cylinder petrol engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, a version of which was later used in the South African version of the BMW 745i, as well as the E24 BMW M6/M635CSi and E28 BMW M5. The engine had six separate throttle bodies, four valves per cylinder and produced 273 hp, giving it a top speed of 162 mph. Turbocharged racing versions were capable of producing around 850 hp. Only 453 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW’s rarest models. Of these, 20 were race versions created for the BMW M1 Procar Championship.
The first example of the Z1 was released by BMW to the press in 1986 and later officially presented at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show. Initial demand was so fierce that BMW had 5,000 orders before production began. The Z1 was designed over a three-year period by an in-house division of BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH. The development of the Z1 is attributed to Ulrich Bez and his team at BMW Technik GmbH. The BMW Z1 was used to develop and debut several technologies. Z1 designer Harm Lagaay mentioned that Z1 production helped generate patents for BMW’s high-intensity discharge lamp, integrated roll-bar, door mechanism, and underbody tray. Both the engine and the five-speed manual transmission were sourced from the E30 325i. The 2.5 litre 12-valve SOHC straight-six engine sits tilted 20 degrees to the right to accommodate the low bonnet line. The engine produces 168 hp at 5,800 rpm and 164 lb·ft of torque in its original form. The rear suspension, called the Z Axle, was specially designed for the Z1 and this was one of the first BMWs to feature a multi-link design. In the 1990s, the Z Axle would be used on a variety of BMW Group vehicles, including the E36, 3 series, and the R40 Rover 75. The chassis was specially designed for the Z1 and featured a number of innovative features: removable body panels, continuously zinc welded seams, a composite undertray, and the unusual dropped doors. Parts of the car (including the engine, gearbox, and front suspension) were borrowed from the BMW E30 325i and 325Ix, but most of the Z1’s components are unique to the model, and that had the consequence of making it expensive. The body was made from plastic and could be removed completely from the chassis. The side panels and doors are made of General Electric’s XENOY thermoplastic. The hood, trunk, and roof cover are GRP components made by Seger + Hoffman AG. The car is painted in a special flexible lacquer finish developed jointly by AKZO Coatings and BMW Technik GmbH. During the Z1s launch, BMW suggested that owners purchase an additional set of body panels and change the colour of the car from time to time. The car could actually be driven with all of the panels completely removed, similar to the Pontiac Fiero. BMW noted that the body could be completely replaced in 40 minutes, although Z1 owners have reported that this may be optimistic. The entire vehicle was designed with aerodynamics in mind. Specifically, the entire undertray is completely flat and the exhaust and rear valance were designed as integral aerodynamic components to decrease turbulence and rear lift. The front end reportedly induces a high-pressure zone just forward of the front wheels to increase front-wheel traction. The Z1 has a drag coefficient of 0.36 Cd with the top up or 0.43 Cd with it down. The doors retract vertically down into the car’s body instead of swinging outward or upward. The Kaiser Darrin was the first car to have retractable doors; they slid forward into the front wings. The inspiration for these doors came from more traditional roadsters which often feature removable metal or cloth doors. Because removable doors did not fit within BMW’s design goals, the retractable doors were installed instead. The body with its high sills, offers crash protection independent of the doors, the vehicle may be legally and safely driven with the doors up or down, although this is not legal in the U.S. The windows may be operated independently of the doors, although they do retract automatically if the door is lowered. Both the window and door are driven by electric motors through toothed rubber belts and may be moved manually in an emergency. It took a while to get the Z1 into production, by which time demand had dropped considerably, perhaps due to reduced demand from speculators. In the end, BMW only produced 8,000 Z1 models. 6,443 of these were sold in BMW’s native German market. The country to receive the second-greatest number of Z1s, Italy, received less than 7% of the total sold domestically. BMW was reportedly unable to build more than 10 to 20 Z1 vehicles each day. None were initially sold in North America, although examples have been independently imported since the car’s launch. More than half of all Z1 vehicles (specifically, 4,091) were produced for the 1990 model year. Seventy-eight Z1 vehicles were reportedly used as test mules, although most were later sold without a warranty and, presumably, at a lower price. The Z1 was available in six exterior colours and four interior colours. Most (6,177) were red, black, or green with a dark grey interior. Light yellow exterior (fun-gelb in German or fun yellow in English, with 33 examples made and cars with a red interior (38 examples made) are the rarest Z1 colours. The colours swimming pool blue and oh-so-orange were reserved for the car’s designers, Bez and Lagaay. Reportedly, some 1,101 Z1 vehicles were delivered without a factory radio installed. In these vehicles, BMWS AG installed an aftermarket Sony radio in its place. None of the Z1 vehicles were sold with air conditioning. The vehicle’s dashboard is very small and there was no room for both heat and cooling units. Some Z1 vehicles were converted using BMW E30 parts to have air conditioning, but reportedly the heater elements had to be removed. Although prices did drop from the new car cost of around £40,000, these have never been cheap cars to buy, and these days values are increasing again.
Produced initially purely as a homologation special, the E30 generation M3 achieved far greater levels of interest than ever imagined, and the rest, as they say, is history. Based on the 1986 model year E30 3 Series, the car was initially available with the 2 door body and was later offered as a convertible bodies. The E30 M3 used the BMW S14 engine. The first iteration of the road car engine produced 195 PS with a catalytic converter and 200 PS without a catalytic converter in September 1989 power was increased to 215 PS with a catalytic converter. The “Evolution” model (also called “EVO2”) produced 220 PS. Other Evolution model changes included larger wheels (16 X 7.5 inches), thinner rear and side window glass, a lighter bootlid, a deeper front splitter and additional rear spoiler. Later the “Sport Evolution” model production run of 600 (sometimes referred as “EVO3”) increased engine displacement to 2.5 litres and produced 238 PS. Sport Evolution models have enlarged front bumper openings and an adjustable multi-position front splitter and rear wing. Brake cooling ducts were installed in place of front foglights. An additional 786 convertibles were also produced. The E30 M3 differed from the rest of the E30 line-up in many other ways. Although using the same basic unit-body shell as the standard E30, the M3 was equipped with 12 different and unique body panels for the purposes of improving aerodynamics, as well as “box flared” wheel-arches in the front and rear to accommodate a wider track with wider and taller wheels and tyres. The only exterior body panels the standard model 3 Series and the M3 shared were the bonnet, roof panel, sunroof, and door panels. The E30 M3 differed from the standard E30 by having a 5×120 wheel bolt pattern. The E30 M3 had increased caster angle through major front suspension changes. The M3 had specific solid rubber offset control arm bushings. It used aluminium control arms and the front strut tubes were changed to a design similar (bolt on kingpins and swaybar mounted to strut tube) to the E28 5 Series. This included carrying over the 5 series front wheel bearings and brake caliper bolt spacing. The rear suspension was a carry over from the E30. The E30 M3 had special front and rear brake calipers and rotors. It also has a special brake master cylinder. The E30 M3 had one of two Getrag 265 5-speed gearboxes. US models received an overdrive transmission while European models were outfitted with a dogleg version, with first gear being down and to the left, and fifth gear being a direct 1:1 ratio. Rear differentials installed included a 4.10:1 final-drive ratio for US models. European versions were equipped with a 3.15:1 final drive ratio. All versions were clutch-type limited-slip differentials with 25% lockup. To keep the car competitive in racing following year-to-year homologation rules changes, homologation specials were produced. These include the Evo 1, Evo 2, and Sport Evolution, some of which featured less weight, improved aerodynamics, taller front wheel arches (Sport Evolution; to further facilitate 18-inch wheels in DTM), brake ducting, and more power. Other limited-production models (based on evolution models but featuring special paintwork and/or unique interior schemes commemorating championship wins) include the Europa, Ravaglia, Cecotto, and Europameister. Production of the original E30 M3 ended in early 1992.
The M3 model of the E36 3 Series was released in November 1992 and was initially available as a coupé only, with a convertible version added in 1994. A sedan version was also added in December 1994, to fill in the gap caused by the lack of the M5 sedan model between the end of E34 M5 production in 1995 and the launch of the E39 M5 in 1998. In September 1995, a facelift version of the coupé was introduced. Changes included the engine displacement increasing to 3.2 L, the manual transmission upgrading from a 5-speed to a 6-speed, different wheels and clear indicator lenses. The facelift changes were applied to the sedan model in November 1995 and the convertible model in February 1996. The kerb weight of the 1996 M3 coupe in European specification is 1,515 kg (3,340 lb). The facelift also saw the introduction of a 6-speed “SMG” automated manual transmission, the first time an automated transmission was available on an M3 outside the United States. The SMG transmission was praised for its fast shift times and operation in performance situations, but criticized for behaviour in everyday driving situations. The M3 Evolution Imola Individual is a limited-edition variant of the M3 (50 for the United Kingdom). The engine and performance characteristics of the car were unchanged from the 1996 European M3, and a special exterior and interior colour combination was chosen by BMW UK: “Imola Red” (405) paint with Nappa leather seats in Imola Red and Amaretta suede bolsters in anthracite. It also included side airbags, the M3 GT Class II rear spoiler, front class II corner splitter extensions, electric seats, and double-spoke polished alloy wheels.
Representing the E31 8 Series, a car which found less favour than everyone expected when it was new, as this 840Ci. While it did supplant the original E24 based 6 Series in 1991, a common misconception is that the 8 Series was developed as a successor. It was actually an entirely new class aimed at a different market, however, with a substantially higher price and better performance than the 6 series. Design of the 8 Series began in 1984, with the final design phase and production development starting in 1986. The 8 Series debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in early September 1989. The 8 Series was designed to move beyond the market of the original 6 Series. The 8 Series had substantially improved performance, however, as well as a far higher purchase price. Over 1.5 billion Deutsche Mark was spent on total development. BMW used CAD tools, still unusual at the time, to design the car’s all-new body. Combined with wind tunnel testing, the resulting car had a drag coefficient of 0.29, a major improvement from the previous BMW M6/635CSi’s 0.39. The 8 Series supercar offered the first V-12 engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox on a road car. It was the first car to feature CAN bus—a form of multiplex wiring for cars that is now an industry standard. It was also one of the first vehicles to be fitted with an electronic drive-by-wire throttle. The 8 Series was one of BMW’s first cars, together with the Z1, to use a multi-link rear axle. While CAD modelling allowed the car’s unibody to be 8 lb (3 kg) lighter than that of its predecessor, the car was significantly heavier when completed due to the large engine and added luxury items—a source of criticism from those who wanted BMW to concentrate on the driving experience. Some of the car’s weight may have been due to its pillarless “hardtop” body style, which lacked a “B” post. Sales of the 8 Series were affected by the global recession of the early 1990s, the Persian Gulf War, and energy price spikes. As a result, plans for the M8 supercar were dropped in 1991. A cheaper 8 cylinder 840CI joined the range in 1993 in an effort to boost sales, and to an extent it, did but this was still not enough and BMW pulled the 8 Series from the North American market in 1997, having sold only 7,232 cars over seven years. BMW continued production for Europe until 1999. The ultimate worldwide production total was 31,062
This is a company I first came across at this event in 2021 when they had some fabulous cars on display and the same was true this time. Most striking, perhaps, was what at first glance looked like a Lancia Stratos, but when viewed more closely clearly was not, as all the details were different. This is what they call their Stratospheric and is based on an Alfa 4C Chassis. By combining the styling form of the Stratos with a carbon frame and the incredible performance of the Alfa Romeo 4C, they have ended up with a new vehicle with completely customizable bodykit (numbered and signed for each car), which will allow enthusiasts and collectors to own a unique car in the footsteps of a legendary car. The front, rear and rims of the 4C in fact leave room for a new nose with retractable headlights and integrated LEDs, new special rims with a rallying appeal and shaped rear bumper with aerodynamic spoiler and deflector, all combining materials such as fibreglass and carbon.
The Borgward name – long forgotten by almost everyone – is staging a come-back, but it will be very different from the last cars to bear the name, one of the Isabella models of which were here. Originally planned to have been marketed as the Borgward Hansa 1500 but the Isabella name was used on test vehicles and proved popular with engineering staff and media, so the production car was subsequently renamed and only the first few hundred examples were built without Isabella badging, though Hansa badging was also used through to 1957. Despite its aspirational positioning in the marketplace, the Isabella had a smaller engine (and was marginally shorter) than its immediate predecessor, the Borgward Hansa. Late in 1952, the firm had launched their six cylinder Hansa 2400 model. The larger car never found many buyers; but in 1954, it made commercial sense to keep the two models from competing too directly with each other. 11,150 Isabellas were produced in 1954, an early indicator that commercially this would be the most successful Borgward ever. The early cars enjoyed an enthusiastic reception in the market place. Unfortunately, early models were afflicted by teething troubles, reflecting a rushed development schedule, and the marketplace would later prove unforgiving as Borgward’s Stuttgart based rival, Daimler-Benz demonstrated that new models did not have to involve customers experiencing such problems. The advertised launch price of DM 7,265 was higher than that of competitor family sedans from Opel and Ford, but significantly less than Mercedes Benz was asking for their 180 model. In view of the car’s spacious cabin and impressive performance, the pricing was perceived as very competitive. The Isabella was constructed without a separate chassis, applying the monocoque technique which during the 1950s was becoming the norm. Like its predecessor, the car was designed with a modern ponton, three-box design, but the line of the Isabella was more curvaceous than that of the first Hansa, and the car’s body made greater use of chrome trim. Ground clearance was 6.9″. The Isabella featured a swing axle at the back: it was supported by coil springs on all four wheels. The four-cylinder 1493 cc engine had a claimed power output of 60 bhp, and was connected by means of a then innovative hydraulic clutch to the four speed full synchromesh gear box. Gear changes were effected by means of a column mounted lever. A road test at launch reported a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and fuel consumption of 8.4 l/100 km. The testers described the modern structure of the car in some detail: they particularly liked the wide cabin with its large windows, and they commended the effectiveness of the brakes. The inclusion of a cigarette lighter and a clock also attracted favourable mention. Unlike the Mercedes 180 however, (and unlike its predecessor) the Isabella was only delivered with two-doors. A year after presenting the sedan, Borgward presented the Isabella estate version. Also introduced in 1955 was a two door cabriolet, known as the Isabella TS and featuring a more powerful 75 bhp tor. Production of the cabriolet was contracted to the firm Karl Deutsch in Cologne: converting an early monocoque design to a cabriolet necessitated considerable modification in order to achieve the necessary structural rigidity, and the resulting cost was reflected in a much higher selling price for this version. Initial sales volumes were not maintained. Responding to a sales decline of almost a third in 1955 and 1956, Carl Borgward decided to produce a more beautiful Isabella with a shortened roof line. The Borgward Isabella Coupé was developed, and the four hand built prototypes were well received by the press. Borgward gave one of these prototypes to his wife, Elisabeth, who would continue to drive it into the 1980s. Commercial production of the coupé, powered by the more powerful TS version of the engine first seen in the cabriolet, commenced in January 1957. The coupe appears to have achieved its marketing objective of further distancing the Isabella’s image from similarly sized competitors from Opel and Ford. By 1958, the more powerful 75 bhp TS motor had also found its way into the more upmarket Isabella sedan and estate versions. At the time of Borgward’s controversial bankruptcy in 1961, the firm carried a substantial stock of unsold Isabellas. Nevertheless, the model’s production at the Bremen plant continued until 1962, suggesting that overstocking had not been restricted to finished vehicles. By the end, 202,862 Isabellas had rolled off the Borgward production line which was nevertheless an impressive volume in the 1950s: overall, and despite being hit by falling demand in the economic slump that briefly hit Germany in the early 1960s, the car is believed to have been the firm’s most lucrative model by a very considerable margin. Borgward enjoyed a brief afterlife: the production line was sold and shipped to Mexico where later during the 1960s the P100 (Big Six) was produced. The Isabella was never produced in Mexico. Back in the German market, BMW’s stylish new 1500, launched by the Bavarians in 1961, convincingly filled the niche vacated by the Isabella, and was credited by at least one commentator with having rescued BMW itself from insolvency. In Argentina, the Isabella was manufactured from 1960 to 1963 by Dinborg, a local subsidiary of Borgward. 999 Isabellas were made in Buenos Aires.
Bruseghini was founded in 1976 by Erio Bruseghini and was based in Ponte in Valtellina, Sondrio. Bruseghini specialized in converting and light trucks. Between 1976 and 1977 they made an off-road vehicle, built on the old Fiat 600 D platform, called the Joker 750 and less than 20 examples were made.
This thunderous machine usually lives in the Technik Museum Sinsheim, in Germany. It has a 47,000 cc aircraft engine fitted to the chassis of a 1907 lorry and capable of delivering 750 horsepower with a chain drive: project Brutus is not a vintage car but pure entertainment for motoring fans, capable of ‘flying’ at 200 kilometres per hour. The engine in fact is a BMW VI with 12 cylinders – each with a capacity of 4 litres – used on German heavy-duty WWI bombers and much appreciated for its compact power.
Many would tell you that this is THE classic Bugatti, the Type 35 and there was a nice example here. The Type 35 was phenomenally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti won the Targa Florio for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929, with the Type 35. The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 1991 cc overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 60 mm and stroke was 88 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced. This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes at back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight. A second feature of the Type 35 that was to become a Bugatti trademark was passing the springs through the front axle rather than simply U-bolting them together as was done on their earlier cars. A less expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory’s Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it “Tecla” after a famous maker of imitation jewellery. The Tecla’s engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the Type 35As were sold. The Type 35C featured a Roots supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti’s disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the French Grand Prix at Saint-Gaudens in 1928, and at Pau in 1930. Fifty examples left the factory. The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 litre engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp, and 45 examples were made. A British Racing Green Type 35B driven by William Grover-Williams won the 1929 French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
The first “official” new Bugatti to produced in recent times was the EB110, of course. Believe it or not, this car owes its origins, at least in part, to Ferruccio Lamborghini. By the mid 1980s, he was no longer involved with the marque which bears his name, but he remained interest in the world of cars, even though he was now making his money as a vintner. He still harboured a dream of once again making cars, and he managed to get introduced to Romano Artiolo, who a the time was one of Ferrari’s most successful European distributors across Germany and Italy, and who owned a number of classic Bugattis. A discussion between the two men at the 1986 about trying to revive the marque led to a scheme with the EB110 at its heart, though Lamborghini soon lost interest in the venture and his part in the Bugatti revival are largely forgotten these days. As plans were made, an array of other stars from the industry came and went. Paolo Stanzani, former Technical Director at Lamborghini did not last long as he did not get on with Artioli and his place was taken by Nicola Materazzi, who had been the project leader on the Lancia Stratos and was heavily involved with the Ferrari Testarossa, 288 GTO and F40. Marcello Gandini, by then a freelancer, was engaged to style the car. No expense was spared, with a purpose-designed state of the art factory being constructed in Campogalliano on the outskirts of Modena. The specification was equally ambitious, with early prototypes with aluminium monocoques being deemed not sufficiently rigid, so aeronautics company Aerospatiale was engaged to develop and produce the carbon fibre tub. The engine was a 3.5 litre all-alloy 60 valve V12, with four small superchargers, which meant that in the SuperSport version, there was 603bhp available. A six speed manual gearbox transmitted all those horses to all four wheels. There was a fairly conventional double wishbone suspension with twin spring/damper units, Brembo brakes and tyres specially developed by Michelin, which all helped the car to establish a production car top speed record of 212.5 mph. Artioli wanted to make ownership painless (relatively) with a three year warranty and service deal. The car was unveiled at the Place de la Defence in Paris in September 1991, on the occasion of Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday. Everything looked rosy. but then the world’s economies then stagnated. Artioli’s Suzuki franchise collapsed, though somehow he still had the money to buy up Lotus, but money became tight. The proposed EB112 saloon was quietly shelved, and the EB110 struggled to find buyers. It never got close to the projected 300 units per year. First deliveries were made in December 1992 and when the last car was made in September 1995, just 102 cars had been made. 102 of them were GTs and 38 Supersports. The EB110 was not a bad car, but what really sealed its fate was the McLaren F1, which is just about every respect was simply a better one. That was true back in 1994 and if you look at values of the two cars now, it is clear that the market sees it that way now. On the rare occasions that F1s come up for sale, you are going to have to pay sums in excess of £5 million, which would buy you 10 of the EB110s.
The 1959 Cadillac is remembered for its huge sharp tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, two distinctive rooflines and roof pillar configurations, new jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck lid beauty panels. In 1959 the Series 62 had become the Series 6200. De Villes and 2-door Eldorados were moved from the Series 62 to their own series, the Series 6300 and Series 6400 respectively, though they all, including the 4-door Eldorado Brougham (which was moved from the Series 70 to Series 6900), shared the same 130 in wheelbase. New mechanical items were a “scientifically engineered” drainage system and new shock absorbers. All Eldorados were characterised by a three-deck, jewelled, rear grille insert, but other trim and equipment features varied. The Seville and Biarritz models had the Eldorado name spelled out behind the front wheel opening and featured broad, full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the upper beltline region. Engine output was an even 345 hp from the 390 cu in (6.4 litre) engine. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, back-up lamps, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control deck lid, radio and antenna with rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks and license frames. The Eldorado Brougham also came with air conditioning, automatic headlight dimmer, and a cruise control standard on the Seville and Biarritz trim lines. For 1960, the year that this Fleetwood Eldorado was made, the styling was toned down a little. General changes included a full-width grille, the elimination of pointed front bumper guards, increased restraint in the application of chrome trim, lower tailfins with oval shaped nacelles and front fender mounted directional indicator lamps. External variations on the Seville two-door hardtop and Biarritz convertible took the form of bright body sill highlights that extended across the lower edge of fender skirts and Eldorado lettering on the sides of the front fenders, just behind the headlamps. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, dual back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six-way power seats, heater, fog lamps, Eldorado engine, remote control trunk lock, radio with antenna and rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks, license frames, and five whitewall tyres. Technical highlights were finned rear drums and an X-frame construction. Interiors were done in Chadwick cloth or optional Cambray cloth and leather combinations. The last Eldorado Seville was built in 1960. The idea of a large car finished in pink now is simply unthinkable, but the colour goes quite well with the style here.
This is a Callaway Camaro C8. Under the much-louvred bonnet lies a 400bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8, its power delivered to the road via a six-speed manual transmission. It’s believed that just 55 examples were ever made, worldwide. Very few made it across the Atlantic and this is thought to be the only one in Italy.
The Cisitalia 303 DF is considered a cheap 202: aesthetically it resembled the mythical “cousin” exhibited at the MoMA in New York but under the skin it was much more traditional. Today the prices of this extremely rare Turin sports car – produced from 1951 to 1953 in about 30 units as coupé and cabriolet versions. The bodywork – made by Stabilimenti Farina – is very similar to that of the legendary Berlinetta unveiled four years earlier (higher beltline, grille without vertical strips and spoked wheels replaced by solid rims) while the mechanics have many more elements in common with the Fiat 1100 E. Designed by Savonuzzi, the Cisitalia 303 DF was unveiled at the 1952 Turin Auto Salon.
1934 saw the introduction of the Citroen’s revolutionary and mould-shattering front-wheel-drive semi-monocoque Citroën Traction Avant. The Traction endured a troubled and prolonged birth process, however, and was part of an ambitious investment programme which involved, also in 1934, the bankruptcy of the business, and its acquisition by Citroën’s principal creditor. The patron himself died in 1935. In this troubled situation, availability of the larger Rosalies (although re-engined with a turned-around version of the new Traction’s OHV four-cylinder engines) continued till 1938: it is only through the distorting prism of subsequent events that its reputation has been diminished when set against the technical brilliance of its successor. There were three examples of the Traction Avant here. Produced for over 20 years, many different versions were made during that time, all with the same styling outline, but with power outputs ranging from 7 to 15CV, and different wheelbases, as well as some with Coupe and Convertible body styles. There was even one model with a large opening tailgate, the Commerciale.
It is hard to imagine just how revolutionary this car must have seemed when it was unveiled at the Paris Show in 1955. 18 years in secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19 stole the show, and within 15 minutes of opening, 743 orders were taken. By the end of the first day, that number had risen to 12,000. Contemporary journalists said the DS pushed the envelope in the ride vs. handling compromise possible in a motor vehicle. To a France still deep in reconstruction after the devastation of World War II, and also building its identity in the post-colonial world, the DS was a symbol of French ingenuity. It also posited the nation’s relevance in the Space Age, during the global race for technology of the Cold War. Structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes, in an essay about the car, said that it looked as if it had “fallen from the sky”. An American advertisement summarised this selling point: “It takes a special person to drive a special car”. Because they were owned by the technologically aggressive tyre manufacturer Michelin, Citroën had designed their cars around the technically superior radial tyre since 1948, and the DS was no exception. The car featured a novel hydropneumatic suspension including an automatic levelling system and variable ground clearance, developed in-house by Paul Magès. This suspension allowed the DS to travel quickly on the poor road surfaces common in France. In addition, the vehicle had power steering and a semi-automatic transmission (the transmission required no clutch pedal, but gears still had to be shifted by hand though the shift lever controlled a powered hydraulic shift mechanism in place of a mechanical linkage, and a fibreglass roof which lowered the centre of gravity and so reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as independent suspension) reduced unsprung weight. Different front and rear track widths and tyre sizes reduced the unequal tyre loading, which is well known to promote understeer, typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars. As with all French cars, the DS design was affected by the tax horsepower system, which effectively mandated very small engines. Unlike the Traction Avant predecessor, there was no top-of-range model with a powerful six-cylinder engine. Citroën had planned an air-cooled flat-6 engine for the car, but did not have the funds to put the prototype engine into production. The 1955 DS19 was 65% more expensive than the car it replaced, the Citroën Traction Avant. This did impact potential sales in a country still recovering economically from World War II, so a cheaper submodel, the Citroën ID, was introduced in 1957. The ID shared the DS’s body but was less powerful and luxurious. Although it shared the engine capacity of the DS engine (at this stage 1,911 cc), the ID provided a maximum power output of only 69 hp compared to the 75 hp claimed for the DS19. Power outputs were further differentiated in 1961 when the DS19 acquired a Weber-32 twin bodied carburettor, and the increasing availability of higher octane fuel enabled the manufacturer to increase the compression ratio from 7.5:1 to 8.5:1. A new DS19 now came with a promised 83 hp of power. The ID19 was also more traditional mechanically: it had no power steering and had conventional transmission and clutch instead of the DS’s hydraulically controlled set-up. Initially the basic ID19 was sold on the French market with a price saving of more than 25% against the DS, although the differential was reduced at the end of 1961 when the manufacturer quietly withdrew the entry level ID19 “Normale” from sale. An estate version was introduced in 1958. It was known by various names in different markets: Break in France, Safari and Estate in the UK, Wagon in the US, and Citroën Australia used the terms Safari and Station-Wagon. It had a steel roof to support the standard roof rack. ‘Familiales’ had a rear seat mounted further back in the cabin, with three folding seats between the front and rear squabs. The standard Break had two side-facing seats in the main load area at the back. During the 20 year production life, improvements were made on an ongoing basis. In September 1962, the DS was restyled with a more aerodynamically efficient nose, better ventilation and other improvements. It retained the open two headlamp appearance, but was available with an optional set of driving lights mounted on the front bumpers. A more luxurious Pallas trim came in for 1965 Named after the Greek goddess Pallas, this included comfort features such as better noise insulation, a more luxurious (and optional leather) upholstery and external trim embellishments. The cars were complex, and not always totally reliable, One of the issues that emerged during long term use was addressed with a change which came in for 1967. The original hydropneumatic system used a vegetable oil liquide hydraulique végétal (LHV), similar to that used in other cars at the time, but later switched to a synthetic fluid liquide hydraulique synthétique (LHS). Both of these had the disadvantage that they are hygroscopic, as is the case with most brake fluids. Disuse allows water to enter the hydraulic components causing deterioration and expensive maintenance work. The difficulty with hygroscopic hydraulic fluid was exacerbated in the DS/ID due to the extreme rise and fall in the fluid level in the reservoir, which went from nearly full to nearly empty when the suspension extended to maximum height and the six accumulators in the system filled with fluid. With every “inhalation” of fresh moisture- (and dust-) laden air, the fluid absorbed more water. For the 1967 model year, Citroën introduced a new mineral oil-based fluid liquide hydraulique minéral (LHM). This fluid was much less harsh on the system. LHM remained in use within Citroën until the Xantia was discontinued in 2001. LHM required completely different materials for the seals. Using either fluid in the incorrect system would completely destroy the hydraulic seals very quickly. To help avoid this problem, Citroën added a bright green dye to the LHM fluid and also painted all hydraulic elements bright green. The former LHS parts were painted black. All models, including the Safari and ID, were upgraded at the same time. The hydraulic fluid changed to the technically superior LHM (Liquide Hydraulique Minéral) in all markets except the US and Canada, where the change did not take place until January 1969, due to local regulations. Rarest and most collectable of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973. The Cabriolet d’Usine (factory convertible) were built by French carrossier Henri Chapron, for the Citroën dealer network. It was an expensive car, so only 1,365 were sold. These DS convertibles used a special frame which was reinforced on the sidemembers and rear suspension swingarm bearing box, similar to, but not identical to the Break/Safari frame. The cars here included a nice DS23EFi, the top model in the range, which came with a fuel injected 2.3 litre engine, five speed gearbox as well as those iconic swivelling headlights which turned with the steering wheel.
The 2CV-based delivery vans introduced in the spring of 1951 differed from the sedan from the B-pillar onwards by having a box-like, spacious cargo area that could be loaded through two gullwing doors at the rear. The van was named “Fourgonnette” by Citroën. In France and Switzerland, these vehicles were often to be found at the post office and small businesses, while in Germany the possibility of acquiring a mobile home at a reasonable price was the decisive factor for buyers. Technically, this variant went through almost the same development steps as the sedan. Production of the delivery van, also known as the “box duck”, was discontinued in mid-1978. At about the same time, the high-roof variant of the Dyane, the Acadiane, took its place.
The 4 × 4 2CV Sahara appeared in December 1960. This had an additional engine-transmission unit in the rear, mounted the other way around and driving the rear wheels. For the second engine there was a separate push-button starter and choke. With a gear stick between the front seats, both transmissions were operated simultaneously. For the two engines, there were separate petrol tanks under the front seats. The filler neck sat in the front doors. Both engines (and hence axles) could be operated independently. The spare wheel was mounted on the bonnet. The car had ample off-road capability, but at twice the price of the standard 2CV. 694 were produced until 1968 and one more in 1971. Many were used by the Swiss Post as a delivery vehicle. Today they are highly collectable.
The Ami was a four-door, front-wheel drive supermini (B-segment), made from 1961 to 1978. At times it was the best-selling new car model in France. The Ami was offered in saloon and break (estate) body styles over two generations, the Ami 6 and the Ami 8. The Citroën Ami had its formal French launch on 25 April 1961, four months ahead of the August introduction of the widely anticipated Renault 4. Both the Renault 4 and the Citroën Ami responded to a perceived market need for a vehicle slightly larger and less rustic than the 2CV. The Ami is a rebodied 2CV with certain mechanical upgrades (particularly a larger engine than the 1950s 2CV), to compensate for the added weight. At launch all the cars were powered by an air cooled 602 cc two-cylinder flat engine which would also be offered at extra cost in the 2CV from 1970. The platform chassis and suspension is similar to the 2CV, being independent all round using leading and trailing arms and coil springs interconnected front to rear. The Ami’s seats were easily removable. Sales pitches of the Ami included photographs of the seats being used as picnic chairs. The Ami and the Ford Taunus P3 were the first cars with rectangular or lozenge-shaped (non-round) headlights. This technical innovation was developed by lighting manufacturers Hella (Taunus) and Cibie (Ami). Soon this innovation found its way to the exclusive coach built Maserati 5000 GT. At the time, it was an unquestioned article of faith that headlights were round, and in the United States, it was the law, so these new headlights were illegal there until 1975. Ten years later this had inspired European automakers to come up with various non-round headlamp shapes. The car went on sale in France in April 1961, though Citroën implemented some simple upgrades in time for the Paris Motor Show only six months later. The most visible change involved the replacement of the fixed windows on the rear doors with two-part horizontal sliding windows, similar to those already fitted on the front doors. Sales initially were not as good as those of the older 2CV; the Ami’s first full year of production was 1962, during which only 85,358 of the cars were sold, while the thirteen-year-old 2CV managed 144,759 sales during the same period. Although the Ami had a modern body, it shared the aggressively minimalist underpinnings of the older car, and this made it hard to justify a starting price for the Ami which, at the end of 1961, was 35% higher. The 1961 Ami 6 sedan is distinguished by an unusual reverse-raked notchback rear window, similar in style to the 1959 Ford Anglia 105E. A Break (estate) model joined the range in the autumn of 1964. The later Ami 8 saloon, launched in March 1969 has a fastback rear window. It was redesigned by the French car design and bodywork company, Heuliez. Most notable changes were the front part and bonnet and the sloping, rather than inverted, rear window on the saloon. The estate version of the Ami 8 had a similar general appearance to that of the Ami 6 although the later car’s taillights were integrated into the rear wings. The Ami Super was a flat-4 variant powered by the engine of the GS and produced between 1973 and 1976. At the launch of the GS, its original flat four-cylinder air-cooled 1015 cc 55 bhp DIN engine was considered to be underpowered. With surplus engines available, Citroën decided to fit the engine into the Ami 8 in January 1973. The car, which became the Ami Super, then easily reached 140 km / h. From the outside, it had a new front grille with six additional vents underneath. On the sides of the front wing there was a badge marked 1015 in reference to the new engine. The body is the same as the Ami 8 apart from changes to inner front wings, bonnet, front panel and bumper mountings. The chassis was also modified from the standard Ami 8 with alterations made to accommodate the 1015 cc engine. Other changes included thicker wire in the suspension springs, to give a tauter ride and front anti-roll bars. Rear anti-roll bars were fitted from 1974 onwards until the end of Ami Super Production in 1976. The Ami Super and Ami 8 Break (Estate) were fitted with 135 15 ZX Michelin tyres as standard while the Ami 8 Berline retained the Michelin 125 15 X although 135 15’s could be ordered as an option. Also on the Ami Super headlamps with built in Quartz iodine fog lights were offered as an option, other options included heated rear screens. Inside, the gear change is floor mounted, in place of the dashboard mounted gear lever of the Ami 6 and 8 and to accommodate this the hand brake of the Super curves up instead of down. The speedometer was also specific to the Ami Super differing slightly to allow higher speed numbers to be shown. The Ami Super was offered in the same three trim levels as the Ami 8, Luxe, Confort and Club on Saloon and Luxe and Confort on Break (estate) versions. These trim differences were fairly minor with Luxe models having bench front and rear seats and vinyl floor matting. Confort trim offered reclining front seats in place of the front bench. The Club models can be considered the Pallas of the Ami range featured sound proofing pads on the floor and bulkhead, carpet including boot lining, stainless steel trim on the window frames and side rubbing strips on the doors and rear wings. Club trim was only available up to the end of the 1973 model year, after that point Ami 8 and Ami super were only available in Luxe and Confort specification. From 1974 Ami Super models were revamped to feature a double line graphic along the exterior of the body sides, either in black or silver depending on body colour, with slotted wheels and double line detailing on the hubcaps. The rear window also featured a graphic in white proclaiming “Ami Super 1015cm³” As the Ami Super looked very much like an Ami 8, and could surprise many by demonstrating its dramatic performance advantage compared to the Ami 8 (55 hp compared to 32 hp). Quoted by Autocar magazine in the UK as a “Q car par excellence” sadly in France its 5CV tax rating made little sense in a small car and as a result sales were low compared to the Ami 8. In the UK however where no such tax penalties existed the Ami Super attracted healthy sales although is now a rare sight due to poor corrosion resistance, a feature suffered by many vehicles of this era. The Ami Super production reached close to 42,000 in sedan and station wagon by February 1976. The Ami 8 continued until early 1979 and reached in the region of 722,000 production, a significant percentage of the total of 1,840,396 of all Ami models.
Much like the way the 1959 Mini became the 1964 Mini Moke, the Mehari 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.
Launched on its home market in August 1967, the Dyane was a development of the Citroën 2CV, intended as an answer to the increasingly popular Renault 4, which after its introduction in 1961 had affected 2CV sales. The Renault 4 incorporated many ideas copied from the Citroën Traction Avant, but on a smaller scale. Like the Renault 4, the Dyane was designed from the outset as a hatchback with some other styling differences, such as conventional round headlamps set into the front wings with a squared stainless steel trim ring – as opposed to the old-fashioned separate units found on the 2CV – and stainless steel wheel embellishments as standard. It was often asserted that the Dyane was intended to replace the 2CV, and although this had been the original idea, by the time the car was launched it was positioned to fill a small niche between the manufacturer’s 2CV and Ami models. The 2CV had been developed and, in 1948, launched at a time of austerity and low wages. More than twenty years later, with the much more modern Renault 4 selling strongly against the Citroën offerings, it was thought that buyers must be ready for a less aggressively basic approach. During the years since 1948 production technology had become more streamlined, as auto-industry wages grew ahead of the overall growth in the French economy, and production of the 2CV was, by the standard of more recent models, a very labour-intensive process. At the time of the Dyane’s development, the Citroën design department was busy on updates of the key DS and Ami models: design of the Dyane was therefore initially subcontracted to the Panhard design department, Panhard’s non-military business having in 1965 been absorbed into Citroën’s car business. The Panhard team under Louis Bioner (who had designed every Panhard model introduced between the late 1920s and the mid 1960s) produced a proposal that at a detailed level proved controversial with Citroën’s design chief, Robert Opron: the car was significantly reworked ahead of launch. The Dyane’s Panhard associations are also reflected in its name, Panhard having registered a copyright on the name Dyane along with Dyna, Dynavia and Dynamic. At launch the car was offered with two levels of equipment and trim: The Basic “Luxe” and the slightly better equipped “Confort”. The “Confort” version was differentiated from the outside through the inclusion of hub-caps on the wheels. The spare wheel and jack were mounted in a special cradle under the bonnet rather than both simply being placed loose on the floor of the luggage area at the back. The interior of the “Confort” was slightly less basic, with plastic moulded door panels rather than flat, vinyl covered hardboard. The steering wheel was less “rustic” than that which the less expensive “Luxe” version of the Dyane shared with the Citroën 2CV. The extra 615 francs in the 1967 domestic market listed price for the Dyane “Confort” represented a supplement of just over 10% when compared to the list price for the more basic “Luxe”. As with the 2CV, the engine was air-cooled, with a hemispherical combustion chamber and flat-topped pistons. and for the first five months only the 2CV’s 425cc engine was fitted. The “Dyane 6” was announced at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1968, fitted with the Ami’s 602cc M4 engine. This came with an advertised maximum output of 28 bhp, supporting a claimed top speed of 71 mph, which was a useful improvement over the 21 bhp of power and the claimed top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) with which the Dyane had been launched. The 602cc engined Dyane did not replace the original 425cc engined car. However, two months later, in March 1968, the 425cc unit was replaced, in a car now described as the “Dyane 4”, by an improved 435cc engine providing 26 bhp. The extra power came from changes including not merely the slightly claimed cylinder dimensions, as well as an extra 2 mm of carburettor diameter and a raised compression ratio. Although there was a price to be paid in terms of higher fuel consumption, the listed top speed went up to 105 km/h (66 mph) and acceleration was measurably less anæmic. In September 1968 the M4 was replaced by an improved 602cc engine featuring higher compression pistons and forced induction from the engine fan giving slightly more power. As with the 2CV and Ami, cooling air was ducted straight to the heater, giving excellent demisting and heating. Mechanical contact-breakers were mounted at the front of the camshaft and located behind the cooling fan. The Fan was mounted on a tapered shaft and secured with a bolt at the bottom of a deep tube (the top of which engaged the starter handle). As the location of the points was not obvious to the uninformed, there were often neglected. The Coil fired both cylinders simultaneously (wasting one spark) and the spark plug wear was faster than it ought to have been; 6000 miles was not uncommon for a spark plug. Cylinder heads were held on with three studs and barrels slipped over the pistons. No cylinder-head gasket was used, and since the wings unbolted in a few minutes, it was possible to remove the cylinder heads and barrels, change the pistons or piston-rings and reassemble the top end very quickly, using only a few tools. The Dyane was based on the same platform chassis as the 2CV, sharing its advanced independent front to rear interconnected suspension. This comprised a central springing unit, running fore-and-aft in a tube on each side; each suspension arm on that side was linked to the spring, by a tie-rod and a ‘knife-edge’ pivot-pin. Early cars did not have conventional shock absorbers. The squeak you hear from most 2CVs and Dyanes as they go by over bumps is due to lack of lubrication either inside the spring tubes or to the ‘knife-edges’. The front hubs kingpins need to be greased every 600 miles. Since this is often overlooked, the king-pins can be prone to wear, although some movement is acceptable. During the Dyane’s first full year of production, supported by the interest and marketing activity generated by new-car launch, 98,769 Dyanes were produced which meant that it was indeed produced, even at this stage, in greater volumes than the 2CV with just 57,473 cars produced. In 1969 the Dyane was again produced at a higher rate, this time with 95,434 units as against 72,044 for the older car. However, the 2CV refused to die, and with 121,096 2CVs produced in 1970, the older car was back in front. The Dyane soldiered on, with French production rates remaining more than respectable, for more than another decade. However, the Dyane’s annual volumes would never again beat those of the 2CV and the car was deleted in 1980, several years before its older brother ended production. Few further changes were made, though from 1969, the Dyane 6 did gain a third side window, and a new grille was fitted from 1976. Minor trim updates were made, but the car remained resolutely utilitarian, and even the limited edition models such as the Code D’Azur of 1978 could not get away from the fact, not that enthusiastic owners really wanted anything else. 1,443,583 examples were made, but survival rates are low, and this car is far rarer than the 2CV.
Also here was the Acadiane Van. This was derived from the Dyane and only available in left-hand drive, produced from 1977 to 1987. Production totalled 253,393 before being replaced by the Visa-based C15. Why Acadiane? Well, as Citroën had already used the prefix AK for its light commercials, so it was an obvious pun to name the AK Dyane “Acadiane”. There was no connection beyond the pun with the French-speaking region of Louisiana that is home to Cajun (Acadiane) cooking. The Acadiane differed from the Dyane on which it was based in having heavier-duty suspension, a slightly altered chassis and a rear-brake limiter whose action was dependent on the load. The Acadiane was also fitted with wind-down windows in the driver’s and passenger’s doors. The Dyane car had horizontally-sliding windows. The payload was approximately 500 kg (1,100 lb), but handling was impaired when fully loaded. The Acadiane was available in commercial (two-seater) form or as a “Mixte”, with sliding rear windows and a removable rear bench seat. Citroën and many other manufacturers continue to this day (Berlingo et al.) with the option of rear seats in a vehicle clearly designed as a commercial. The Mixte version also had a passenger sun visor, missing in the more basic commercial version. In line with many Citroën light commercials, the roof of the rear bodywork was corrugated to add extra rigidity at little cost. The Acadiane cruised on the flat comfortably and economically at 55 mph. Top gear in the four-speed box was usually referred to as overdrive. This had been so since the earliest days of the 2CV. In most circumstances it was best used as such. Progress could be maintained in top, but further acceleration was unlikely. As the motor thrived on revs, third made a perfectly good gear to get up to 80 km/h.
Back in the late ‘70s, Italian company Laverda made the Paguro camper. The Paguro was based on the Citroën Acadiene small commercial vehicle, which was itself derived from the Dyane. Produced between 1977 to 1987, no one knows how many of the 250K+ units produced were turned into Paguro campers, but they were popular enough to launch a die-cast toy. The fact is that these days, Paguros are very rare to spot. Only a few surviving examples are believed to exist still, and many of them are in dire need of restoring and reconditioning.
The SM, a glamorous Sports/GT Coupe still wows people over 45 years since its debut. The Citroën SM was first shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, but work on the car had started way back in 1961, with ‘Project S’, which was envisaged to be a a sports variant of the revolutionary Citroen DS. For the next few years, many running concept vehicles were developed, and these became increasingly complex and upmarket from the DS. In 1968, Citroën purchased Maserati, with the intention of harnessing Maserati’s high-performance engine technology to produce a true Gran Turismo car, which would combine Citroen’s advanced suspension with a Maserati engine. The car was a sensation when revealed, with its distinctive styling, an amazingly low drag coefficient of just 0.26, and as well as the advanced features from the DS such as lights that swivelled with the steering and the advanced hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension there were numerous technical innovations such as variable assistance for the power steering, rain sensitive wipers and the option of lightweight wheels of composite alloys. It was a further six months before customers could get behind the wheel, with the SM finally going on sale in France in September of that year. The origin of the model name ‘SM’ is not clear. The ‘S’ may derive from the Project ‘S’ designation, and the ‘M’ may refers to Maserati, hence SM is often assumed to stand for ‘Sports Maserati’. Another common hypothesis is that SM stood for Série Maserati and others have suggested it is short for ‘Sa Majesté’ (Her Majesty in French), which would aligns with the explanation that the DS model was so called as a contraction of the French word ‘Déesse’ (The Goddess). Regardless of the origins of the name, it attracted lots of attention, and came third in the 1971 Car of the Year competition (behind Citroen’s own revolutionary GS model). For a couple of years, sales were reasonable, but they fell off dramatically in 1973, not just because of the Oil Crisis that struck late that year, but largely because the SM’s technical complexity came with a price tag of some terrible reliability problems, something which owners of rival cars simply did not experience. To compound the owner’s misery, they needed to find and pay for Citroen specialists who understood the hydraulics and a Maserati specialist for the engine. Both categories were kept busy. Citroen declared bankruptcy in 1974 and the company was purchased in May 1975. Thanks to changes in US legislation, sales in that market, which had hitherto been the SM’s largest had ceased, and so with global sales of under 300 SMs in 1974, having divested itself of Maserati, new owner Peugeot took the obvious decision to cease production of the SM almost immediately. During the SM’s 5 year product life, a total of 12,920 cars were produced. With the exception of a handful of conversions for the Australian market, all SMs were made in left hand drive, which is perhaps one reason why UK sales amounted to just 325 cars from that total. Although this is often labelled as one of the 4 “nightmare cars of the apocalypse” (along with the Triumph Stag and Alfa Montreal), the reality is that the surviving cars have largely been “fixed” and they are now not the fearsome ownership proposition that many still assume.
When the cabriolet version of the DS disappeared from the catalogue, the coachbuilder Chapron, an official brand sub-contractor, created a convertible version of the recent SM, baptised Mylord. The SM Mylord went on show for the first time at the 1971 Paris Motor Show. Seven examples were built at the workshops in Levallois, of which three were exported. The coachbuilder’s stylists gave the car the elegant lines that are typical of a prestige coupé. This car began its conversion by Carrozzeria Ferrero in Italy, a conversion which started in the late 90s and it was finished only recently 2021. he project passed between 2 owners and then we bought it and we completed the project and the restoration. There is a detailed archive of pictures of the conversion work, so it’s clear how it was reinforced and the quality of the job with attention to detail. Then the car was completely restored, disassembled totally and reassembled. The roof is electric and the seats were made in Tolentino to Poltrona Frau workers using Poltrona Frau leather. The Italian Libretto states that the car is a 2 seat Trasformable (Convertible). This SM “MyLord Recreation” is one of the finest examples out there with a huge attention to detail creating one of the most gorgeous Citroen cars ever made and a tribute to Henri Chapron’s masterpiece.
Although it was perhaps not as radical a product as the DS, which it replaced had been, this was still something of a futuristic looking car when it was revealed in 1974. Indeed, it is considered by some enthusiasts as the last “real Citroën” before Peugeot took control of the company in 1976, and as history has now shown, is, it was to be the final successful model of the “big Citroën” era, which began in 1934, as Citroën sold nearly 1.2 million CXs during its 16 years of production. The CX’s flowing lines and sharp Kamm tail were designed by auto stylist Robert Opron, resembling its precursor the GS. Citroën had been using a Wind tunnel for many years, and the CX was designed to perform well in aerodynamic drag, with a low coefficient of drag (Cd in English; CX in French) of 0.36. Despite its fastback lines, the model was never sold as a hatchback, even though many of its rivals adopted this during the 1970s, and Citroen thus modified their own GS late in its life. Mechanically, the car was one of the most modern of its time, combining Citroën’s unique hydro-pneumatic integral self-levelling suspension, speed-adjustable DIRAVI power steering (first introduced on the Citroën SM), and a uniquely effective interior design that did away with steering column stalks, allowing the driver to reach all controls while both hands remained on the steering wheel. The CX suspension’s ability to soak up large undulations and yet damp out rough surfaces was extraordinary, with a consistent ride quality, empty, or fully laden. The suspension was attached to sub frames that were fitted to the body through flexible mountings, to improve even more the ride quality and to reduce road noise. “Car” magazine described the sensation of driving a CX as hovering over road irregularities, much like a ship traversing above the ocean floor. This suspension was used under license by Rolls-Royce on the Silver Shadow. The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 was not built under license, but copied the Hydropneumatic suspension principles after the less effective Mercedes-Benz 600 Air suspension installation. The CX was conceived to be a rotary-engined car—with several negative consequences. The CX engine bay is small because rotary engines are compact, but the Comotor three-rotor rotary engine was not economical and the entire rotary project was scrapped the year the CX was introduced, and Citroen went bankrupt in 1974, partly due to a series of investments like Comotor that didn’t result in profitable products. Production versions of the CX were always powered by a modest inline 4 cylinder engine, transversely mounted. This saved space and allowed the CX to be 8″ shorter than the DS. At launch in 1974, the CX was rushed to market, with some teething troubles. Some very early models did not have power steering which made the car difficult and heavy to drive – the CX carries 70% of its weight over the front wheels. Initially there was a choice between three differently powered versions. The “Normale” CX car came with a 1985 cc version of the four cylinder engine from the predecessor model with a claimed maximum output of 102 PS, which was slightly more than had been available from the engine when fitted in the DS. The “Economique” version of the car (reflecting the continuing impact of the 1973 oil price shock) came with the same engine as the “Normale”, but the gear ratios were changed, along with the final drive ratio, giving rise to a 7 km/h (4 mph) reduction in top speed in return for usefully improved fuel economy. More performance came from the “CX 2200”, fitted with a 2175 cc version of the engine and a twin carburettor, resulting in a claimed maximum output of 112 PS. This was rather less than was available in the top spec DS23 EFi which featured a relatively powerful 141 PS fuel-injected 2.3-litre engine. The later 2200 improved on this, and eventually the same 2347 cc unit as used in the DS) arrived, originally only in the long wheel-base Prestige, but a regular CX 2400 arrived at the 1976 Paris Salon, to replace the CX 2200. By this time, Citroen had added a capacious Estate model to the range, called Safari, and a 2.2 litre Diesel powered model – important even in the mid 1970s in France – was also offered. Despite the challenging finances of Citroën at the time of launch, the CX was entered in numerous rally driving events, like Tour du Senegal and Paris-Dakar, winning 5 events outright. Most notable among these was in the 17,500 mile 1977 London–Sydney Marathon road race in which Paddy Hopkirk, driving a CX 2400 sponsored by Citroën’s Australian concessionaire, staged a come-from-behind sprint to obtain third place. The CX was initially a huge success in Europe, more than 132,000 being produced in 1978. It found customers beyond the loyal Citroën DS customer base and brought the technology of the advanced, but somewhat impractical, Citroën SM to the masses. Evolution of the car after this was gradual. More power came in 1977, with the CX GTi which received a modern Bosch L-Jetronic injection system, generating 128 PS, and there was a standard five speed gearbox, and in early 1978, the diesel engine was enlarged to 2.,5 litres. A five speed gearbox was available. A very mild facelift in 1979 saw the Douvrin 2 litre engines that were used in the rival Renault R20 fitted under the bonnet to create the CX Reflex and Athena. In 1981, factory rustproofing and a fully automatic transmission to replace the former semi-automatic gearbox were added. In 1984, the addition of a turbo to the 2.5 litre diesel engine made the CX Turbo-D 2.5 the fastest diesel sedan in the world, able to reach speeds up to 195 km/h (121 mph). In 1985, the GTi Turbo, with a top speed of over 220 km/h (137 mph), finally gave the CX the powerful engine that finally used the full capabilities of the chassis. A facelift later that year was an attempt to keep the car in the public eye, but its sales had peaked long ago, back in 1978, and better trim, a revised interior and new plastic bumpers were not going to help a 10 year old design in the face of stiff market competition. Just 35,000 units were produced in 1986 and 1987. There were few further changes for the rest of the CX’s life, with its successor, the XM appearing in early 1989. Production of the Estate models continued until 1991, by which time 1,170,645 CXs had been sold. There are far fewer survivors than there are of the DS family.
The GS filled the gap in Citroën’s range, between the 2CV and Ami economy cars and the luxurious DS executive sedan. The DS had moved significantly upmarket from its predecessor the Citroën Traction Avant, and beyond the finances of most French motorists. Leaving this market gap open for fifteen years allowed other manufacturers entry into the most profitable, high volume market segment in France. This combined with the development costs and new factory for the DS-replacing Citroën CX, the 1974 oil crisis, and an aborted Wankel rotary engine, led Citroën to declare bankruptcy in 1974. The GS took 14 years to develop from initial design to launch. In 1956, Citroën developed a bubble car prototype to fill the gap in its range between the DS and the 2CV, known as the C10. Development continued with ideas like a Wankel engine and hydropneumatic suspension suggested as possibilities, with a new, modern body to match. Another iteration was the “C60,” which resembled an Ami 6 with a long, smooth nose. In 1963, development had moved to “Project F”, which was close to being production ready. Citroën decided the car was too similar to the 1965 Renault 16 and by 1967 Project F was suspended. Many of the mechanical components continued to “Project G”, which became the GS. The GS was designed by Robert Opron, with a smooth two box design that bears some resemblance to the 1967 design study by Pininfarina Berlina Aerodinamica. On 24 August 1970, Citroën launched the production GS. The body style was as a Berline (a four-door saloon with three side windows), in a fastback style with a sharp Kammback. The aerodynamics gave the best drag coefficient of any vehicle at the time. Good aerodynamics enabled the car to make the best of the available power from its 1015cc flat four engine, but the car as launched nevertheless drew criticism that it was underpowered. Citroën addressed the issue with the introduction in September 1972, as an option, of a larger 1,222 cc engine. Claimed power increased from 55 bhp to 60 bhp, but it was the improved torque that really marked out the more powerful engine, and which enabled the manufacturer, with the larger engined versions, to raise the second gear ratio and the final drive ratio. Larger front brake discs were also fitted. Visually the GS bore little resemblance to any other car on the market, until the development of the larger Citroën CX in 1974. The fastback design, with a separate boot, was controversial – a hatchback layout was considered too utilitarian by CEO Pierre Bercot. The 1974 CX shared this feature. The boot was nevertheless exceptionally large, in part due to the positioning of the spare wheel on top of the engine. Both the early GS (until 1976) and the GSA have the unusual rotating drum speedometer (similar in construction to bathroom scales), rather than the dials found in a conventional dashboard. The later GS (from 1977 until the introduction of the GSA) had a conventional speedometer. The GS was offered in four trims: G Special (base), GS Club (midrange), GS X (sports), and GS Pallas (luxury). The GS X and Pallas were only offered as saloons. The GS was also available, from September 1971, as a four door station estate and a similar two-door “service” van. The GS was facelifted in 1979 and given a hatchback, and renamed the GSA. This change reflected the growing popularity of small family hatchbacks in Europe since the launch of the Volkswagen Golf. Other modifications included a new grille, new plastic bumpers, new taillights, new hubcaps and new exterior door handles. It also had a revised dashboard with the auxiliary controls on column-shaped pods so they could be reached without moving the hands from the single-spoked steering wheel; similar to the CX layout. It was partly replaced by the larger BX in 1982, although production continued in reduced volumes until 1986. Citroën did not re-enter the small family hatchback market until the launch of the ZX in 1991. The GS met with instant market acceptance and was the largest selling Citroën model for many years. 1,896,742 GS models and 576,757 GSA models were produced in total.
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.
A little known French marque this. The D.B. Coach HBR5 was produced between 1954 and 1959 and around 600 cars were produced. The first units had an aluminium body while the others had a glass fibre composite body. The aluminium body was made by Cottard, the coachbuilder. The chassis was steel backbone type. The 848 cc Panhard twin cylinder engine was producing 50 hp at 6000 rpm allowing a claimed top speed of 160 kph for a weight of 527 kg.
Designed by American Tom Tjaarda, and 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.
The DKW Munga was a DKW-branded off-road vehicle built by Auto-Union in Ingolstadt, Germany. The name Munga comes from the German phrase Mehrzweck UNiversal Geländewagen mit Allradantrieb, which translates as “multi-purpose universal off-road car with all-wheel drive” Production began in October 1956 and ended in December 1968. During this time 46,750 cars were built. The 38th International Motor Show at Frankfurt in the autumn 1957 was a great success for Auto-Union. About this time the Munga was launched. The vehicle, which has extraordinary stamina, was not only adopted by the West German Bundeswehr as a vehicle unique in its class but was also bought in large numbers for the German Border Police and various foreign military formations within NATO. The civilian version of the Munga was widely adopted in West Germany for agricultural and forestry work in particular, and also became popular abroad, especially in those countries where “go anywhere” transport was needed because of poor roads, such as large parts of South America and South Africa. Around 2000 cars were delivered to the Royal Netherlands Army, many of which were shipped to the UK in the late 1970s.The Munga was later also available from the end of 1956 as a four-seat pan structure of steel sheet and as a six-or eight-seater platform body. The term therefore corresponds to the body variant: The Royal Netherlands Army had intended the Munga as a replacement for the 1956 M38A1 NEKAF Jeep, but the type caused so many problems that it was removed from front line service prematurely in 1970. The M38A1 NEKAF Jeeps, that had been stored in mobilization compounds for reserve units, were re-issued to operational units – where they remained in use until 1995.
This is the 125S, the very first model to bear the Ferrari badging. Although preceded by Enzo Ferrari’s Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 of 1940, the 125 S was the first vehicle to bear the Ferrari name when it debuted on May 11, 1947 at the Piacenza racing circuit. Like the 815, it was a racing sports car, but unlike its Fiat-powered 8-cylinder predecessor, the 125 S featured a V12 engine (the “125”), a trait it shared with most Ferrari cars of the following decades. Only 2 were built before the 125 S would be replaced by the 159 S later in the year. The 125 S used a steel tube-frame chassis and had a double wishbone suspension with transverse leaf springs in front with a live axle in the rear. Hydraulic power drum brakes were specified front and rear. It was powered by Gioacchino Colombo’s 1497 cc 60° V12, which produced 118 bhp at 6,800 rpm . This was a single overhead camshaft design with 2 valves per cylinder and three double-choke Weber 30DCF carburettors. Enzo Ferrari wanted the 125 S to use a five-speed gearbox as it matched the high revving V12 better than that of a traditional four-speed gearbox. The 125 S debuted at the Circuito di Piacenza, driven by Franco Cortese, but was unable to finish the race, despite a favourable showing against the strong Maserati 6CS 1500s. Two weeks later, the 125 S claimed Ferrari’s first victory at the Grand Prix of Rome on the Terme di Caracalla Circuit, where it was also driven by Cortese. The car had spun a bearing in practice, and was repaired in the workshop of Tino Martinoli, who later came to America with the Ferrari Indy car team. The 125 S won six of its fourteen races in 1947, though drivers Clemente Biondetti and Giuseppe Navone were unable to win the 1947 Mille Miglia in it. Both of the two 125 S cars built in 1947 were dismantled, and their parts are thought to have been re-used in production of the 159 or 166 models. Recently, the chassis with serial number 010I was used in the restoration of a 125 S. It is rumoured that 010I is actually s/n 01C. The story goes that 01C was re-stamped as 010I, and sold to a customer as a new car. Upon taking receipt of the car, the new owner immediately exclaimed, muletto!, which means “Test mule” in Italian, as he could clearly see that his supposedly new car was in fact a used, well-raced car. Ferrari made a new invoice for the car, including a considerable rebate given the car’s second-hand nature. Still in 166 Spyder Corsa configuration, the car was sold to Symbolic Motors. Close inspection of the chassis and its serial number led to the discovery of an old stamping that could possibly read 01C. It had been covered by an aluminium plate which bore the serial number 010I. Subsequently, the car was sold to its current owner, who refitted the chassis with a body similar to the factory’s 125 S replica, which was built by Michelotto in 1987. The alleged 01C made its public debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and was entered as a “Ferrari 125 S”. The car continues to be the subject of much debate among Ferrari historians and enthusiasts; recent developments indicate that the restamped serial number was in fact a correction and not an alteration.
The early experiments with Lampredi’s four-cylinder engine led to the creation of the famed 500 Mondial. Named to mark the world (“Mondial”) championships won by Alberto Ascari, the 500 Mondial featured a 2.0 L version of Lampredi’s four-cylinder engine in a small and light body with an advanced suspension. The car debuted on December 20, 1953 at the 12 Hours of Casablanca driven by Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, placing second to a 375 MM. In 1954 four 500 Mondials were entered in Mille Miglia race, with best result being second overall after Lancia D24. The Mondial remained competitive through the end of the decade, including an entry in the 1957 Mille Miglia, and was raced as late as 1962, when Javier Valesquez entered chassis 0448MD in the 1962 Carrera Presidential race in Mexico City. The 500 Mondial’s 1984.86 cc engine was taken from the 500 F2 which won the world championship but was detuned to produce 170 hp. It was extremely light at 720 kg (1,590 lb). and handled well with a modern de Dion tube rear suspension. The first 500 Mondials were spiders bodied by Pinin Farina, but Carrozzeria Scaglietti later created a series of barchettas. Two berlinettas were also built by Pinin Farina. 29 were built in total. Of the 13 Pininfarina spiders built, 5 were the earlier Series I version with covered headlights. The car won the prestigious Gran Turismo Trophy at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, meaning it will eventually be re-created for use in Gran Turismo 6.
1954 saw the introduction of a new four-cylinder sports racer, the 750 Monza. Sporting a three-litre version of the 500 Mondial’s engine, the Monza was much more powerful, with 260 PS available, but barely heavier at 760 kg (1,675 lb). The new-style body was penned by Pinin Farina and presaged the droop-nose look of the famed 250 GTO, but it was Scaglietti’s 750 Monza, with its faired-in headrest suggesting the flowing Testa Rossa that drew attention. Alberto Ascari was killed in the car during an impromptu testing session at Monza in 1955. Mike Hawthorn and Umberto Maglioli piloted their 750 Monza to victory at Monza on its very first race, giving the car its name. Although they were strong on the track, the Monza was unable to hold off the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR in 1955, allowing the Germans to seize the sports car championship that Ferrari claimed in 1954.
This is the 1948 Ferrari 166 MM Zagato Panoramica. Zagato and Ferrari’s associations began at Alfa Romeo, when Zagato’s light weight aluminium bodies helped Alfa during their most dominant period in history. After Enzo Ferrari left Alfa as race driver, and then later as head of the racing team, he started manufacturing cars under his own name which won races from their onset. Several customers requested Zagato bodies for their Ferrari, and this, chassis 0018M, marks the first Ferrari-Zagato collaboration. Not only was this Zagato’s first Ferrari, it was Ferrari’s first coupe and Gioacchino Colombo, one of Ferrari’s consultants, collaborated with Zagato to reach the final design. Called the Panoramica, the coupe was a thoroughly modern design and had a very curious greenhouse, with Plexiglas windows that curved with the roof. Zagato’s coupe was built on Ferrari’s 166 MM chassis which was an upgraded version of the 166 S which won the Mille Miglia in 1948. Zagato was very enthusiastic about adapting his own ideas to this successful chassis and his awkward coupe debuted at the Senigalla Circuit in 1949 at the hands of owner Antonio Stagnoli. He later won the Coppa Intereuropa in 1950 in it but retired at the Mille Miglia during the same year. After the Mille, 0018M disappeared, and returned as a completely different beast. Stagnoli requested that Zagato remove his unique body and replace it with a very unstylish Spider Corsa chassis with a cigar-shaped body and cycle fenders. Stagnoli achieved a lot of success with 0018 as a lighter, competition car and used it until it became uncompetitive. Afterwards, 0018M was lost, including its original body. Thanks to the photometric process and to the support by Ferrari Classiche, the vanished coupé came back to life in 2007, to celebrate the 60 years of the Prancing Horse.
The Ferrari 250 Europa GT was a grand touring car produced by Ferrari in 1954 and 1955. It was the first real GT car manufactured by Ferrari and the first in a long lineage of Ferrari road-cars with Gran Turismo moniker in their name. They were also the first to have GT suffix in the chassis number instead of EU. The 250 Europa GT was seen as a road-going version of the 250 MM race car, and also as a second series to the 250 Europa. Most of the Europa GT cars had Pinin Farina designed and built bodywork and those had a similar, near identical established style. In total only 35 Europa GTs were manufactured. Up to this point, Ferrari offered semi-race car models that could be driven on the roads. Those were the past Inter-series offered from Maranello, but were not as practical for the elite clientele to be able to use every day. The start of the true road-car trend for Ferrari was the 250 Europa, which was soon followed by Europa GT, sporting ubiquitous Colombo 250-series 3.0-litre V12 engine. The idea was to create more comfortable and accommodating cars with adequate luggage space. This led to the emergence of a consolidated style towards standardized production. The introduction of the 250 GT series was a major turning point in the rise of Ferrari as a serial manufacturer. Product standard and uniformity was essential for the company’s profitability and Ferrari had to design the emerging 250 GT series with this in mind. Ferrari grew their road-going production, expanded their factory and light-alloy foundry. With it and a reliable power unit, Ferrari could meet the needs of more customers, with an unchanging goal to finance the racing activities. Ferrari chose Pinin Farina as their coachbuilder to realise the bodywork. This cooperation, that begun with a historic meeting of Enzo Ferrari and Battista Farina in a restaurant in 1951, will remain fruitful for many decades for Ferrari production cars.
Needing series production to stabilise his company’s finances, Enzo Ferrari asked Pininfarina to design a simple and classic 250 GT coupé. After the 250 GT Boano/Ellena, Pininfarina’s Grugliasco plant expanded and now had the capacity to produce the new 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina. It was introduced at Milan in 1958, and 335 near-identical examples were built by 1960. Buyers included Prince Bertil of Sweden. The GT Coupé eschewed the fender vents for simple, clean lines and a notchback look with panoramic rear window. The oval grille was replaced by a more traditional long narrow look with protruding headlights. Telescopic shock absorbers were also fitted instead of the Houdailles on previous 250s, and disc brakes were added in 1960. The original 165R400 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were later changed to 185VR16. The final 250 GT Coupé had a Superfast tail and was shown at the 1961 London Motor Show. In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents. 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were standard. On the Coupé the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced. In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents. 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were standard. On the Coupé the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced.
A 60s Ferrari you really don’t see very often is the 250 GTE, as many of these sacrificed their bodies some time ago for people building recreations of the more exotic 250 models. This one has clearly escaped the process. The 2+2 model 250 GT/E was the first large-production four-seat Ferrari (earlier four-seaters were made in very small numbers). Interior space was increased by moving the engine forward in the chassis. The rear seats were suitable for children but small for adults. Pirelli Cinturato 185VR15 tyres (CA67) were original equipment. The standard wheels used on series 1 & 2 were the Borrani RW3591 and the series 3 were fitted with the Borrani RW3690 as a standard. Engine output was listed at 240 PS (237 bhp). Almost 1,000 GT/Es were constructed by Pininfarina with prototypes starting in 1959 and continuing through three series until 1963. The model was followed by the visually similar 330 Americas. The large production run of the GT/E was a major contributor to Ferrari’s financial well-being in the early 1960s.
The 330 GT 2 + 2 was first seen at the Brussels Show in January 1964. This was much more than a re-engined 250, however, with a sharper nose and tail, quad headlights, and a wide grille. The wheelbase was 50 mm (2.0 in) longer, but Koni adjustable shock absorbers improved handling. A dual-circuit Dunlop braking system was used with discs all around, though it separated brakes front to back rather than diagonally as on modern systems. When leaving the factory the 330 GT originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72). The 1965 Series II version featured a five-speed gearbox instead of the overdrive four-speed of the prior year. Other changes included the switch back to a dual-light instead of quad-light front clip, alloy wheels, and the addition of optional air conditioning and power steering. Prior to the introduction of the ‘Series II’ 330 GTs, a series of 125 ‘interim’ cars were produced, with the quad-headlight external configuration of the Series I cars, but with the five-speed transmission and ‘suspended’ foot pedals of the ‘Series II’ cars. 625 Series I (including 125 ‘interim’ cars) and 455 Series II 330 GT 2+2 cars had been built when the car was replaced by the 365 GT 2+2 in 1967. Production of the smaller 330 GTC and GTS models overlapped with the GT 2+2 for more than a year.
Still seen by many as the most beautiful Ferrari ever built was the 246 GT Dino and this time there was just one example here. The Ferrari Dino was created to honour Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s only legitimate son, who sadly died of muscular dystrophy in 1956. Unlike any previous road-going Ferrari, the Dino utilised a V6 engine, the Tipo 156, which Alfredo himself had helped develop and strongly advocated during his working life. Following continued motor racing success and in order to homologate Ferrari’s 1966 Formula Two campaign, a new line of mid-engined production V6 coupés with Fiat running gear went on sale in 1967 in two litre 206 GT form. However, in 1969 a larger 2.4 litre Dino was introduced, named the 246 GT or GTS in the case of the Spider. Only 3,913 definitive Dinos were built before the introduction of the completely restyled V8 engined 308 in 1973. The voluptuous bodywork of the 246, which many regard as the prettiest ever to grace a road-going Ferrari, was designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. It clothed a tubular chassis which carried wishbone independent suspension at each corner. The compact four-cam, 190bhp. engine was mounted transversely above the five-speed gearbox and just ahead of the rear axle, allowing for both a comfortable cockpit and some usable boot space.
First seen at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, the 365 GTB/4 was the last of the classic front engined V12 Ferrari models. Almost immediately the 365 GTB/4 gained its ‘Daytona’ moniker from Ferrari’s 1-2-3 result in the 1967 24-hour race of the same name. The Daytona’s engine and handling certainly didn’t undermine its racing nomenclature. The 4.4-litre, 4-cam V12 produced an astonishing 352bhp and, despite its 1,633kg bulk, the Daytona was billed as the fastest road car in the world. Not only was 174mph more than brisk, but crucially, it was faster than the Miura. The 5-speed gearbox was mounted at the rear for a more optimal weight distribution, and helped give the Daytona its predictable handling and solid road-holding. Like so many Ferraris of the period, the Daytona’s beautiful bodywork was designed by Pininfarina with the car built by Scaglietti. The delicate front was cleanly cut with both pop-up and Plexiglas headlight varieties. The rear slope was suggestively rakish and a Kamm tail provided further clues as to the performance of the car. The wheel arch flares, although elegant in proportion, are the only real overt notion that this car has significant pace, until you drive one! A number of them had their roof removed in the 1980s when people wanted the far rarer GTS Spider version, but values of the cars are such now that I would hope no-one would even contemplate such an act of sacrilege again!
The most popular 365 model was 1967’s 365 GT 2+2, replacing the 330 GT 2+2. Unlike the 330 GT 2+2 car it replaced, which had a live rear axle on leaf springs, the 365 GT 2+2 had independent rear suspension. The 365 GT 2+2 was a luxurious car with leather seats, power steering and brakes, electric windows, and optional air conditioning. It quickly became the company’s top-selling model with about 800 produced in four years, 52 of which were right hand drive. When leaving the factory the 365 GT 2+2 was fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72). Production ceased in 1971.
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 tyres (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 from 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.
The Dino 308 GT4 was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1973. It only gained the “Prancing Horse” badge in May 1976, which replaced 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.
The 400 was an evolution of the 365 GT4 2+2, which was first seen at the 1976 Paris Motor Show. It proved quite controversial, as this was the first Ferrari to be offered with an automatic gearbox, a Borg Warner 3-speed unit, though a five speed manual was also offered. The 365’s V12 engine had been stroked to a displacement of 4.8 litres and given six 38 DCOE 110-111 Webers, and now produced 340 PS. 0-60 mph took 7.1 seconds. Other changes compared to the 365 GT4 included five-stud wheels to replace the knock-off hubs (Borrani wheels weren’t offered anymore), a revised interior, the addition of a lip to the front spoiler, and double circular tail light assemblies instead of triple. A total of 502 examples were produced, 355 of which were Automatics and 147 GTs before a further upgrade in 1979 which saw the addition of fuel injection. It was replaced by the visually similar 412i in 1985. which had a larger 5 litre engine. Production of this version ran for 4 years, meaning that by the time the model was deleted from the range, this elegant Pininfarina design had been produced for 17 years, the longest run of any Ferrari bodystyle ever. It was some years before another 4 seater V12 Ferrari would join the range, the 456 GT in 1994.
Object of many a poster on a young enthusiast’s bedroom wall when the car was new was the Testarossa and there was a couple of nice examples here. A replacement for the BB512i, the final iteration of Ferrari’s first ever mid-engined road car, the Testarossa was launched at the Paris Show in October 1984. The Pininfarina-designed car was produced until 1991, with the same basic design then going through two model revisions, with the 512 TR and later F512 M which were produced from 1992 to 1996 before the model was replaced by the front-engined 550 Maranello. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most-produced Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. The Testarossa followed the same concept as the BB512, but was intended to fix some of the criticisms of the earlier car, such as a cabin that got increasingly hot from the indoor plumbing that ran between the front-mounted radiator and the midships-mounted engine and a lack of luggage space. This resulted in a car that was larger, and at 1,976 millimetres (78 in) wide the Testarossa was half a foot wider than the Boxer and immediately condemned for being too wide, though these days it does not appear anything like as wide as it did when new. This resulted in an increased wheelbase that stretched about 64 mm (2.5 in) to 2,550 mm (100 in) which was used to accommodate luggage in a carpeted storage space under the front forward-opening lid. The increase in length created extra storage space behind the seats in the cabin. Headroom was also increased with a roofline half an inch taller than the Boxer. The design came from Pininfarina with a team of designers led by design chief Leonardo Fioravanti, the designer of many contemporary Ferraris. The design was originated by Nicosia, but the guidance of Fioravanti was equally important. Being a trained aerodynamicist, Fioravanti applied his know-how to set the aerodynamics layout of the car. This meant the large side intakes were not only a statement of style but actually functional – they drew clean air to cool the side radiators and then went upward and left the car through the ventilation holes located at the engine lid and the tail. As a result, the Testarossa did not need a rear spoiler like Lamborghini’s Countach yet produced zero lift at its rear axle. The aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36 was also significantly better than the Lamborghini’s 0.42. Pininfarina’s body was a departure from the curvaceous boxer—one which caused some controversy. The side strakes sometimes referred to as “cheese graters” or “egg slicers,” that spanned from the doors to the rear wings were needed for rules in several countries outlawing large openings on cars. The Testarossa had twin radiators in the back with the engine instead of a single radiator up-front. In conjunction the strakes provided cool air to the rear-mounted side radiators, thus keeping the engine from overheating. The strakes also made the Testarossa wider at the rear than in the front, thus increasing stability and handling. One last unique addition to the new design was a single high mounted rear view mirror on the driver’s side. On US based cars, the mirror was lowered to a more normal placement in 1987 and quickly joined by a passenger side rear view mirror for the driver to be able to make safe easy lane changes. Like its predecessor, the Testarossa used double wishbone front and rear suspension systems. Ferrari improved traction by adding 10-inch-wide alloy rear wheels. The Testarossa drivetrain was also an evolution of the BB 512i. Its engine used near identical displacement and compression ratio, but unlike the BB 512i had four-valve cylinder heads that were finished in red. The capacity was 4,943 cc, in a flat-12 engine mid mounted. Each cylinder had four valves, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 9.20:1. These combined to provide a maximum torque of 490 Nm (361 lb/ft) at 4500 rpm and a maximum power of 390 hp at 6300 rpm. That was enough to allow the Testarossa to accelerate from 0–60 mph in 5.2 seconds and on to 100 mph. The original Testarossa was re-engineered for 1992 and released as the 512 TR, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, effectively as a completely new car, with an improved weight distribution of 41% front: 59% rear. The F512 M was introduced at the 1994 Paris Auto Show, with the M standing for “modificata”. That car is easy to spot as it lost the pop-up headlights and gained awkward glazed in units.
Produced alongside the 308/328 GTB and GTS models was the Mondial, and there were a couple of examples of the car on show. Produced by Ferrari from 1980 through 1993, it replaced the 208/308 GT4. The “Mondial” name came from Ferrari’s history — the 500 Mondial race car of the early 1950s. Despite its predecessor being Bertone styled, the Mondial saw Ferrari return to Pininfarina for styling. Sold as a mid-sized coupe and, eventually a cabriolet, it was conceived as a ‘usable’ model, offering the practicality of four seats and the performance of a Ferrari. The car had a slightly higher roofline than its stablemates, with a single long door either side, offering easy access and good interior space, reasonable rear legroom while all-round visibility was excellent. The cabriolets also hold the distinction of being the only production automobile in history that has four seats, is rear mid-engined, and is a full convertible. The car body was not built as a monocoque in the same way as a conventional car. The steel outer body produced by the famous Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Scaglietti, in nearby Modena, was built over a lightweight steel box-section space frame. The engine cover and rear luggage compartment lids are in light alloy. The seats and interior were trimmed in Connolly hide, contrasting with the body colour. Most cars were painted rosso red, but some were black or silver, and a few were dark blue. The Mondial was the first Ferrari car where the entire engine/gearbox/rear suspension assembly is on a detachable steel subframe. This design made engine removal for a major rebuild or cylinder head removal much easier than it was on previous models. Unusually, the handbrake is situated between the driver’s seat and the inner sill. Once the handbrake is set it drops down so as, not to impede egress and ingress. Instead of the conventional “H” shift pattern, the gearbox has 1st gear situated in a “dog leg” to the left and back, behind reverse. This pattern, otherwise known as a “reverse h-gate”, allows quicker gear shifts between 2nd and 3rd gear, and also between 4th and 5th. The Mondial underwent many updates throughout production. There were four distinct iterations (8, QV, 3.2, and t), with the latter 3 having two variations each. (coupe and cabriolet). The first car was introduced as the Mondial 8 at the 1980 Geneva Auto Salon. It was the first Ferrari to depart from the company’s simple 3-digit naming scheme, and some reviews found it relatively mild, compared to other Ferraris, regarding performance, drawing criticism from some in the motoring press. It used a mid/rear-mounted Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection V8, shared with the 308 GTBi/GTSi, mounted transversely. The engine used in the 1973 Dino 308 GT4. The K-Jetronic system is mechanical, with a high-pressure pump which streams fuel continuously to the injectors; it does not have a computer, just a few relays to handle the cold start sequence etc. The chassis was also based on the 308 GT4, but with a 3.9 inch longer wheelbase at 104.3 in. The suspension was the classic layout of unequal-length double wishbones and Koni dampers all around. Today, the Mondial 8 is considered one of the marque’s most “practical” vehicles, due to its 214 hp, proven drivetrain, four seats, and relatively low cost of maintenance (major services can be performed without removing the entire engine/transmission subframe). 703 examples were made. The first Mondial engine, although a DOHC design, used just two valves per cylinder. The 1982 Quattrovalvole or QV introduced a new four-valve head; the combustion chamber design purportedly based on the early eighties Formula 1 engine. Again, the engine was shared with the contemporary 308 GTB/GTS QV, and produced a much more respectable 240 hp. Appearance was largely as per the Mondial 8, although with red engine heads and prominent “quattrovalvole” script at the rear. 1,145 coupés built between 1982 and 1985. A new Cabriolet body style added for 1983. Body styling remained the same as the coupé variant, with the roof maintaining the ‘buttress’ design of the roof, though the Cabriolet required the rear seats to be mounted closer together laterally. The introduction of the Cabriolet saw the popularity of the Mondial rise, particularly in the American market, where the convertible body style was highly desirable. The Cabriolet has the added distinction of being the only four-seat, mid-rear engine, convertible automobile ever manufactured in regular production. 629 units were produced between 1983 and 1985, making this the rarest version of the Mondial. Like the Ferrari 328, the Mondial’s engine grew in both bore and stroke to 3,185 cc in 1985. Output was now 270 PS. The Mondial 3.2 was first presented at the 1985 Frankfurt Auto Show in September that year. Available in both Coupé and Cabriolet forms, styling refreshed with restyled and body-coloured bumpers, similar to the 328 with more integrated indicators and driving lamps, and new alloy wheels with a more rounded face. The 3.2 also boasted a major interior update, with a more ergonomic layout and a more rounded instrument binnacle. Later cars, from 1987 onwards, also sported ABS brakes. Fuel injection remained the primarily mechanical Bosch K-Jetronic (CIS) with an O2 sensor in the exhaust providing feedback to a simple computer for mixture trimming via a pulse modulated frequency valve that regulated control fuel pressure. The ignition system was Marelli Microplex, with electronic advance control and one distributor per bank of the V8. The 1988 Mondial 3.2 would be the final model year that retained the relatively low maintenance costs of the 308/328 drivetrain, allowing major service items like timing belt and clutch replacement performed with the engine/transmission package still in the car. The final Mondial evolution was 1989’s Mondial t, which was a substantially changed model. It was visually different from preceding Mondial models, the most recognizable being the redesign of the air intakes to a smaller rectangular shape. Additionally, the door-handles were of a visually different design, as were the front and rear bumpers which became body coloured. New front and rear wings cover wider tracks and are re-profiled to a fuller shape compared to previous models, which feature a rolled lip. The ‘t’ called attention to the car’s new engine/transmission layout: the previously-transverse engine mounted longitudinally while the gearbox remained transverse, thus forming a ‘t’. By adopting this layout, a longer engine could be mounted lower in the chassis, improving handling dramatically. The ‘t’ configuration was used by Ferrari’s Formula One cars of the 1980s, and would be the standard for the marque’s future mid-engined V8 cars, beginning with the 348, introduced later in the year. The transverse manual gearbox fitted with a Limited Slip Differential with a twin-plate clutch design with bevel gears driving the wheels. Later in production, a Semi-automatic transmission termed “Valeo” was available as an option; while shifting was using a traditional gear lever, the clutch was actuated automatically without a clutch pedal. The engine was up to 3405 cc and 300 hp, controlled by Bosch Motronic DME 2.5 (later DME 2.7) electronic engine management that integrated EFI and ignition control into a single computer unit. Two of these used in the car: one for each bank of the engine. Engine lubrication upgraded to a dry-sump system. The Mondial’s chassis would underpin a new generation of 2-seat Ferraris, right up to the 360, but the 2+2 Mondial would end production just four and a half years later in 1993. However, the “t” layout of the engine and transaxle, adapted from Ferrari’s Formula One cars, continues to be used in mid-engined V8 model Ferraris to date, albeit with a more sophisticated chassis. The new layout saw the engine and transmission mounted on a removable subframe; the assembly removed from the underside of the vehicle for maintenance. This process is necessary for timing belt replacement, making this a costly procedure for the owner who does not have a lift. On the other hand, the clutch was now located at the very rear of the drive train. This arrangement makes clutch replacement and service a simple, inexpensive, and readily owner-do-able proposition. The “t” was home to other Ferrari firsts: It used power assisted steering for the first time and had a 3-position electronically controlled suspension for a variable trade-off between ride quality and road holding. It also had standard ABS. Total production of the t Coupe was 858 (45 Right Hand Drive), and the t Cabriolet of 1,017 (51 Right Hand Drive, meaning that around 6000 Mondial cars were produced over those 13 years, making it one of the most numerous Ferraris.
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 V8 Ferrari to be launched, in 1989, was the 348, as a replacement for the 328 GTB/GTS models, and there were several examples of this model here. 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 348 ts were produced.
Launched in 1987, the F40 was the successor to the 288 GTO. It was designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was the last Ferrari automobile personally approved by Enzo Ferrari. At the time it was Ferrari’s fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car for sale. As soon as the 288 GTO was launched, Ferrari started the development of an evolution model, intended to compete against the Porsche 959 in FIA Group B. However, when the FIA brought an end to the Group B category for the 1986 season, Enzo Ferrari was left with five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars, and no series in which to campaign them. Enzo’s desire to leave a legacy in his final supercar allowed the Evoluzione program to be further developed to produce a car exclusively for road use. In response to the quite simple, but very expensive car with relatively little out of the ordinary being called a “cynical money-making exercise” aimed at speculators, a figure from the Ferrari marketing department was quoted as saying “We wanted it to be very fast, sporting in the extreme and Spartan,” “Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable.” “The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance. It isn’t a laboratory for the future, as the 959 is. It is not Star Wars. And it wasn’t created because Porsche built the 959. It would have happened anyway.” Power came from an enlarged, 2936 cc version of the GTO’s twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 bhp. The F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons. The flanking exhaust pipes guide exhaust gases from each bank of cylinders while the central pipe guides gases released from the wastegate of the turbochargers. Engines with catalytic converters bear F120D code. The suspension was similar to the GTO’s double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed; the unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle’s ground clearance when necessary. The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of Kevlar, carbon fibre, and aluminium for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimised through the use of a plastic windscreen and windows. The cars did have air conditioning, but had no sound system, door handles, glove box, leather trim, carpets, or door panels. The first 50 cars produced had sliding Lexan windows, while later cars were fitted with wind down windows. The F40 was designed with aerodynamics in mind. For speed the car relied more on its shape than its power. Frontal area was reduced, and airflow greatly smoothed, but stability rather than terminal velocity was a primary concern. So too was cooling as the forced induction engine generated a great deal of heat. In consequence, the car was somewhat like an open-wheel racing car with a body. It had a partial undertray to smooth airflow beneath the radiator, front section, and the cabin, and a second one with diffusers behind the motor, but the engine bay was not sealed. Nonetheless, the F40 had an impressively low Cd of 0.34 with lift controlled by its spoilers and wing. The factory never intended to race the F40, but the car saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca Raceway round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category, with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi, finishing third to the two faster space-framed four wheel drive Audi 90 and beating a host of other factory backed spaceframe specials that dominated the races. Despite lack of factory backing, the car would soon have another successful season there under a host of guest drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood taking a total of three second places and one third. It would later be a popular choice by privateers to compete in numerous domestic GT series. Although the original plan was to build just 400 cars, such was the demand that in the end, 1311 were built over a 4 year period.
Launched in May 1994 as an evolution of the Ferrari 348, just about everything was changed, and improved for the F355, seen here in Berlinetta and Targa formats. Design emphasis for the F355 was placed on significantly improved performance, but driveability across a wider range of speeds and in different environments such as low-speed city traffic was also addressed, as the Honda NS-X had proved that you could make a supercar that could be lived with every day. Apart from the displacement increase from 3.4 to 3.5 litres, the major difference between the V8 engine in the 348 and F355 was the introduction of a 5-valve cylinder head. This new head design allowed for better intake permeability and resulted in an engine that was considerably more powerful, producing 375 hp. The longitudinal 90° V8 engine was bored 2mm over the 348’s engine, resulting in the small increase in displacement. The F355 had a Motronic system controlling the electronic fuel injection and ignition systems, with a single spark plug per cylinder, resulting in an unusual 5 valves per cylinder configuration. This was reflected in the name, which did not follow the formula from the previous decades of engine capacity in litres followed by number of cylinders such as the 246 = 2.4 litres and 6 cylinders and the 308 of 3.0 litres and 8 cylinders. For the F355, Ferrari used engine capacity followed by the number of valves per cylinder (355 = 3.5 litres engine capacity and 5 valves per cylinder) to bring the performance advances introduced by a 5 valve per cylinder configuration into the forefront. 5. The frame was a steel monocoque with tubular steel rear sub-frame with front and rear suspensions using independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers with electronic control servos and anti-roll bars. The car allows selection between two damper settings, “Comfort” and “Sport”. Ferrari fitted all road-going F355 models with Pirelli tires, size 225/40ZR 18 in front and 265/40 ZR 18 in the rear. Although the F355 was equipped with power-assisted steering (intended to improve low-speed driveability relative to the outgoing 348), this could optionally be replaced with a manual steering rack setup by special order. Aerodynamic designs for the car included over 1,300 hours of wind tunnel analysis. The car incorporates a Nolder profile on the upper portion of the tail, and a fairing on the underbody that generates downforce when the car is at speed. These changes not only made the car faster but also much better to drive, restoring Ferrari to the top of the tree among its rivals. At launch, two models were available: the coupe Berlinetta and the targa topped GTS, which was identical to the Berlinetta apart from the fact that the removable “targa-style” hard top roof could be stored behind the seats. The F355 would prove to be last in the series of mid-engined Ferraris with the Flying Buttress rear window, a lineage going back to the 1965 Dino 206 GT, unveiled at the Paris Auto Show. The Spider (convertible) version came later in the year. In 1997 the Formula One style paddle gear shift electrohydraulic manual transmission was introduced with the Ferrari 355 F1 adding £6,000 to the dealer asking price. This system promised faster gearchanges and allowed the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel, It proved to be very popular and was the beginning of the end for the manual-transmission Ferrari. Ferrari produced 4,871 road-going Berlinetta models, of which 3,829 were 6-speed and 1,042 were F1 transmissions. The Spider proved to be the second-most popular F355 model, with a total production of 3,717 units, of which 2,664 were produced with the 6-speed transmission and another 1,053 produced with the F1 transmission. A total of 2,577 GTS models were produced, with 2,048 delivered with the 6-speed transmission and another 529 with the F1 transmission. This was the last GTS targa style model produced by Ferrari. This made a total production run of 11,273 units making the F355 the most-produced Ferrari at the time, though this sales record would be surpassed by the next generation 360 and later, the F430.
A front-engined grand tourer, the 456 was produced from 1992 until 2003, as an overdue replacement for the long-defunct front-engined 412 as the company’s V12 four seater. Pietro Camardella and Lorenzo Ramaciotti at Pininfarina designed the original 456 which was available in GT and from 1996 in GTA forms. The difference in name signifies the transmission: the former has a six-speed manual and the latter has a four-speed automatic developed in partnership with FF Developments, in Livonia, MI (which was later purchased by Ricardo Engineering in the UK). This was only the fourth automatic transmission ever offered by Ferrari. The 5473 cc 65° V12 engine was derived from the Dino V6 rather than the more conventional 60° V12s used in the 412 and Daytona. It produced 442 PS with 4 valves per cylinder and Bosch Motronic M2.7 engine management. It could push the 1690 kg car and four passengers to 302 km/h (188 mph) making it the world’s fastest production four-seater. Acceleration to 100 km/h was just 5.2 seconds, with a 13.4 second quarter-mile time. At the time of its development it was the most powerful road car ever developed by Ferrari (aside from the F40). In 1996 engine was changed with Motronic M5.2 management and typed as F116C. The name 456, as was Ferrari practice, came from the fact that each cylinder displaces 456 cubic centimeters. This was the last Ferrari to use this naming convention. Despite its supercar performance, the 456 has a relatively unstressed engine, which has proven to be a very reliable unit. The chassis is a tubular steel spaceframe construction with a one-piece composite bonnet and body panels of aluminium. The body panels are welded to the chassis by using a special “sandwich filler” called feran that, when laid between, allows steel and aluminium to be welded. The Modificata 456M appeared in 1998, starting with chassis number 109589. Many changes were made to improve aerodynamics and cooling, and the interior – still featuring Connolly Leather – was freshened with new seats and other conveniences (fewer gauges on dash, and a new Becker stereo fitted in front of gear stick rather than behind as in the very shallow and special Sony head unit in the 456 GT). The 456 has a smaller grille with fog lights outside the grille, and lacked the bonnet-mounted air scoops. The undercarriage spoiler on the 456M is fixed, where the older 456 had a motorised spoiler that began its deployment above 105 km/h (65 mph). Power remained unchanged on the Modificata using Bosch Motronic M5.2 engine management at 442 PS; the cylinder firing order was changed for smoother running, and the torque remained the same for later versions of the 456 GT. The Tour de France Blue with Daytona Seats was the most desirable colour and leather combination. Approximately 3,289 of all versions were built, consisting of: 456 GT: 1,548; 456 GTA: 403; 456M GT: 688; 456M GTA: 650.
It was with the 360 Modena that sales of Ferrari models really took off, with unprecedented volumes of the car being sold. The 360 Modena was launched in 1999, named after the town of Modena, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. A major innovation in this all new model came from Ferrari’s partnership with Alcoa which resulted in an entirely new all-aluminium space-frame chassis that was 40% stiffer than the F355 which had utilised steel. The design was 28% lighter despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions. Along with a lightweight frame the new Pininfarina body styling deviated from traditions of the previous decade’s sharp angles and flip-up headlights. The new V8 engine, common to all versions, was of 3.6 litre capacity with a flat plane crankshaft, titanium connecting rods and generates 400 bhp Despite what looks like on paper modest gains in reality the power to weight ratio was significantly improved on over the F355, this was due to the combination of both a lighter car and more power. The 0 to 100 km/h acceleration performance improved from 4.6 to 4.3 seconds. The first model to be rolled out was the 360 Modena, available as a manual, or an F1 electrohydraulic manual. Next up was an open car. The 360 was designed with a Spider variant in mind; since removing the roof of a coupe reduces the torsional rigidity, the 360 was built for strength in other areas. Ferrari designers strengthened the sills, stiffened the front of the floorpan and redesigned the windscreen frame. The rear bulkhead had to be stiffened to cut out engine noise from the cabin. The convertible’s necessary dynamic rigidity is provided by additional side reinforcements and a cross brace in front of the engine. Passenger safety is ensured by a strengthened windscreen frame and roll bars. The 360 Spider displays a curvilinear waistline. The fairings imply the start of a roof, and stable roll bars are embedded in these elevations. Due to use of light aluminium construction throughout, the Spider weighs in only 60 kg heavier than the coupé. As with the Modena version, its 3.6 litre V8 with 400 bhp is on display under a glass cover. The engine — confined in space by the convertible’s top’s storage area — acquires additional air supply through especially large side grills. The intake manifolds were moved toward the center of the engine between the air supply conduits in the Spider engine compartment, as opposed to lying apart as with the Modena. In terms of performance, the 0-60 mph time was slightly slower at 4.4 seconds due to the slight weight increase, and the top speed was reduced from 189 to 180 mph. Despite the car’s mid-mounted V8 engine, the electrically operated top is able to stow into the compartment when not in use. The convertible top was available in black, blue, grey and beige. The transformation from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action that has been dubbed “a stunning 20 second mechanical symphony”. The interior of the Spider is identical to that of the coupé. There were several examples of both the Modena Coupe and the Spider here.
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 to create the 575M. Launched in 2002, it is essentially an updated 550 Maranello featuring minor styling changes from Pininfarina. The 575M was replaced by the 599 GTB in the first half of 2006. Updates from the 550 included a redesigned interior and substantial mechanical improvements, including bigger brake discs, a larger and more powerful engine, improved weight distribution, refined aerodynamics and fluid-dynamics along with an adaptive suspension set-up (the four independent suspensions are also controlled by the gearbox, to minimize pitch throughout the 200-milliseconds shift time). Two six-speed transmissions were available, a conventional manual gearbox and, for the first time on a Ferrari V12, Magneti Marelli’s “F1” automated manual gearbox. The 575 model number refers to total engine displacement in cc, whilst the ‘M’ is an abbreviation of modificata (“modified”).
There were several examples of the F430 here, of course, as this car sold in what were large quantities, by Ferrari standards. Effectively a mid-life update to the 360 Modena, the F430 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 the 360 Modena, 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. Seen here were the Coupe. Spider and the Scuderia.
The next V12 engined Ferrari was the 599 GTB (internal code F141) a new flagship, replacing the 575M Maranello. Styled by Pininfarina under the direction of Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, the 599 GTB debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006. It is named for its total engine displacement (5999 cc), Gran Turismo Berlinetta nature, and the Fiorano Circuit test track used by Ferrari. The Tipo F140 C 5999 cc V12 engine produced a maximum 620 PS (612 hp), making it the most powerful series production Ferrari road car of the time. At the time of its introduction, this was one of the few engines whose output exceeded 100 hp per litre of displacement without any sort of forced-induction mechanism such as supercharging or turbocharging. Its 448 ft·lb of torque was also a record for Ferrari’s GT cars. Most of the modifications to the engine were done to allow it to fit in the Fiorano’s engine bay (the original Enzo version could be taller as it would not block forward vision due to its mid-mounted position). A traditional 6-speed manual transmission as well as Ferrari’s 6-speed called “F1 SuperFast” was offered. The Fiorano also saw the debut of Ferrari’s new traction control system, F1-Trac. The vast majority of the 599 GTB’s were equipped with the semi-automatic gearbox, with just 30 examples produced with a manual gearbox of which 20 were destined for the United States and 10 remained in Europe. The car changed little during its 6 year production, though the range did gain additional versions, with the HGTE model being the first, with a number of chassis and suspension changes aimed at making the car even sharper to drive, and then the more potent 599GTO came in 2010. With 670 bhp, this was the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made. Just 599 were made. The model was superceded by the F12 Berlinetta in 2012.
The F12 TdF was unveiled in October 2015, as a faster, lighter and more powerful special edition of the regular F12 Berlinetta. The accompanying press releases informed us that the the car was created in homage to the legendary Tour de France road races, which it dominated in the 1950s and 1960s with the likes of the 1956 250 GT Berlinetta. However, the full Tour de France name cannot be used, as this is registered to the famous annual cycle race held in France, and even the might of Ferrari’s often belligerent and bullying legal department clearly had not managed to get past that obstacle. The F12 TdF, described by its maker as “the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track”, keeps the same 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine as the regular F12 Berlinetta, but power has been boosted from 730bhp to 770bhp at 8500rpm, while torque has increased from 509lb ft to 520lb ft at 6750rpm. Ferrari says 80% of the car’s torque is available from 2500rpm. By comparison, McLaren’s 675LT features a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and produces 660bhp and 516lb ft – enough to give it a 0-62mph sprint time of 2.9 seconds. The older Ferrari 458 Speciale, meanwhile, made 597bhp from its 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8. The car is capable of reaching 62mph in 2.9sec and has a top speed of more than 211mph. Official fuel consumption is rated at 18.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 360g/km. Ferrari says it has has used various modifications derived from its F1 cars to boost the engine’s efficiency. The F12 TdF uses a new version of the firm’s dual-clutch automatic transmission, which features shorter gear ratios. New one-piece brake calipers – the same as those used on the LaFerrari supercar – are said to provide “outstanding” stopping distances, allowing the F12 TdF to brake from 62-0mph in 30.5 metres. Ferrari says the car’s performance is “second to none”, but that it has also been conceived to be “an extremely agile and powerful car which could also be driven by less expert drivers”. The F12 TdF has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 21sec. The regular F12 Berlinetta completed the lap in 1min 23sec – the same as the new 488. The LaFerrari currently holds the fastest time on the course, with a time of 1min 19.70sec. Among the other changes made to the F12 TdF are larger front tyres, allowing greater lateral acceleration through corners. Ferrari says the car’s “natural tendency” to oversteer has been compensated for by the use of a new rear-wheel steering system. Dubbed Virtual Short Wheelbase, the system – which automatically adjusts the rear wheels for the optimum steering angle – is said to increase stability at high speeds while guaranteeing “the steering wheel response times and turn-in of a competition car”. The F12 TdF’s aggressive bodywork includes a longer and higher rear spoiler, larger air vents to channel air flow along the sides of the car, a redesigned rear diffuser and new wheel arch louvres. It sits on 20in alloy wheels. Overall, the changes combine to give the F12 TdF 30% more downforce compared to the F12. Ferrari says the redesigned bodywork has almost doubled the aerodynamic efficiency of the car compared to the standard F12, while the use of lightweight carbonfibre inside and out has reduced the F12 TdFf’s kerb weight by 110kg over the standard car, which weighs 1630kg. The cabin is deliberately stripped out. The door panels feature carbonfibre trim, while knee padding replaces the traditional glovebox. The majority of the cabin is trimmed with Alcantara instead of real leather. Aluminium plates feature on the floor instead of mats, again hinting at the car’s track-focused nature. Just 799 examples were built, around 20 of which came to the UK, with an asking price of £339,000, around £100,000 more than the regular F12 Berlinetta.
Latest in the line of special versions of Ferrari’s V8 models, the 488 Pista was launched at the 2018 Geneva Show but it has taken until now before UK customers have got their hands on the cars they ordered all that time ago. Compared to the regular Ferrari 488 GTB, the 488 Pista is 90 kg lighter at 1280kg dry, features a 20 percent improved aerodynamic efficiency and makes 49hp more from its twin-turbo V8 that now produces 711hp (720PS). These are some stunning specs to be honest, especially when you consider just how good the car it’s based upon is. Ferrari claims a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 2.85 seconds, 0-124mph (200km/h) in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of over 211mph (340km/h). Ferrari has opted to call the new special series sports car “Pista”, which is Italian for ‘track’, joining a celebrated lineup of hardcore models that includes the Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia and the 458 Speciale. The whole bodywork has been reshaped, with the designers using innovations such as the S-Duct at the front and the unique edges of the front bumper and side sills that guide the air flow in -apparently- all the right places. The 3.9-litre V8 engine is essentially the same unit found in the Challenge race car and features specific valves and springs, a new cam profile, strengthened pistons and cylinder heads shorter inlet ducts, radiators with an inverted rake, a larger intercooler and more. It’s also 18kg lighter than the standard engine. For the first time ever in a Ferrari, the new 488 Pista can be fitted with a set of optional single-piece carbon-fibre wheels that are around 40 percent lighter than the GTB’s standard rims. A new generation of Ferrari’s Side Slip Control System is also present (SSC 6.0) because who doesn’t like to slide around a Ferrari with some help from the gods of Maranello. The 488 Pista is not a limited production model and was offered along the regular 488 GTB until it went out of production.
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale (Type F173) is a mid-engine PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) sports car produced by the Italian automobile manufacturer Ferrari. The car shares its name with the SF90 Formula One car with SF90 standing for the 90th anniversary of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team and “Stradale” meaning “made for the road”. The car has a 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery for regenerative braking, giving the car 26 km (16 mi) of electric range. The car comes with four driving modes depending on road conditions. The modes are changed by the eManettino knob present on the steering wheel. The eDrive mode runs the car only on the electric motors. The Hybrid mode runs the car on both the internal combustion engine and the electric motors and is the car’s default mode. In this mode, the car’s onboard computer (called control logic) also turns off the engine if the conditions are ideal in order to save fuel while allowing the driver to start the engine again. The Performance mode keeps the engine running in order to charge the batteries and keeps the car responsive in order for optimum performance. The Qualify mode uses the powertrain to its full potential. The control logic system makes use of three primary areas: the high-voltage controls of the car (including the batteries), the RAC-e (Rotation Axis Control-electric) torque vectoring system, and the MGUK along with the engine and gearbox. The SF90 Stradale is equipped with three electric motors, adding a combined output of 220 PS to a twin-turbocharged V8 engine rated at a power output of 780 PS at 7,500 rpm. The car is rated at a total output of 1,000 PS at 8,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 800 Nm (590 lb/ft) at 6,000 rpm. The engine is an evolution of the unit found in the 488 Pista and the upcoming F8 Tributo models. The engine’s capacity is now 3,990 cc by increasing each cylinder bore to 88 mm. The intake and exhaust of the engine have been completely modified. The cylinder heads of the engine are now narrower and the all-new central fuel injectors run at a pressure of 350 bar (5,100 psi). The assembly for the turbochargers is lower than that of the exhaust system and the engine sits 50 mm (2.0 in) lower in the chassis than the other mid-engine V8 models in order to maintain a lower centre of gravity. The engine utilises a smaller flywheel and an inconel exhaust manifold. The front wheels are powered by two electric motors (one for each wheel), providing torque vectoring. They also function as the reversing gear, as the main transmission (eight-speed dual-clutch) does not have a reversing gear. The engine of the SF90 Stradale is mated to a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. The new transmission is 10 kg (22 lb) lighter and more compact than the existing 7-speed transmission used by the other offerings of the manufacturer partly due to the absence of a dedicated reverse gear since reversing is provided by the electric motors mounted on the front axle. The new transmission also has a 30% faster shift time (200 milliseconds). A 16-inch curved display located behind the steering wheel displays various vital statistics of the car to the driver. The car also employs a new head-up display that would reconfigure itself according to the selected driving mode. The steering wheel is carried over from the 488 but now features multiple capacitive touch interfaces to control the various functions of the car. Other conventional levers and buttons are retained. The interior will also channel sound of the engine to the driver according to the manufacturer. The SF90 Stradale employs eSSC (electric Side Slip Control) which controls the torque distribution to all four wheels of the car. The eSSC is combined with eTC (electric Tractional Control), a new brake-by-wire system which combines the traditional hydraulic braking system and electric motors to provide optimal regenerative braking and torque vectoring. The car’s all-new chassis combines aluminium and carbon fibre to improve structural rigidity and provide a suitable platform for the car’s hybrid system. The car has a total dry weight of 1,570 kg (3,461 lb) after combining the 270 kg (595 lb) weight of the electric system. Ferrari states that the SF90 Stradale is capable of accelerating from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds, 0–200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.7 seconds and can attain a top speed of 340 km/h (211 mph). It is the fastest Ferrari road car on their Fiorano Circuit as of 2020, seven tenths of a second faster than the LaFerrari. The manufacturer claims that the SF90 Stradale can generate 390 kg (860 lb) of downforce at 250 km/h (155 mph) due to new findings in aero and thermal dynamics. The main feature of the design is the twin-part rear wing which is an application of the drag reduction system (DRS) used in Formula One. A fixed element in the wing incorporates the rear light, the mobile parts of the wing (called “shut off Gurney” by the manufacturer) integrate into the body by using electric actuators in order to maximise downforce. The SF90 Stradale uses an evolution of Ferrari’s vortex generators mounted at the front of the car. The car employs a cab-forward design in order to utilise the new aerodynamic parts of the car more effectively and in order to incorporate radiators or the cooling requirements of the hybrid system of the car. The design is a close collaboration between Ferrari Styling Centre and Ferrari engineers. The rear-end of the car carries over many iconic Ferrari Styling elements such as the flying buttresses. The engine cover has been kept as low as possible in order to maximise airflow. According to the car’s lead designer, Flavio Manzoni, the car’s design lies in between that of a spaceship and of a race car. The rear side-profile harkens back to the 1960s 330 P3/4. Deliveries in the UK started in late 2020 and so numbers here are gradually building up.
Final Ferrari here was an example of the recently launched 296 GTB
There were severaI of these Ferves Ranger here. First seen at the 1966 Turin Motor Show, Ferves (FERrari VEicoli Speciali) introduced the Ranger as a small off-road derivative of the Fiat 500 and Fiat 600. The car had an open body with 4 vinyl-covered seats, a folding windscreen, and removable suicide doors on early models, later models had normally hinged doors. It was powered by a rear-mounted 499 cc two-cylinder in-line engine from the Fiat 500 and was available as a two-wheel drive or four wheel drive and had a maximum speed of around 45 mph. There was also a cargo version with a carrying capacity of 300 kg. The engine and steering were from the Fiat 500 and the suspension and brakes from the Fiat 600. The chassis numbers commenced at 300 for the passenger version and 100 for the cargo. Around 600 were built, all of them with Left Hand Drive and around 50 are thought to survive.
Oldest Fiats here were from the 1930s. That was the period when the staple of the range was the Ballila 508, launched in 1932. Various small scale enhanced versions appeared including the 508 “Spider, a small 2-door 2-seater cabriolet bodied car. The driver and passenger sat side by side, but the driver’s seat was fixed a few centimetres further back than the passenger seat. On the Spider the seat coverings were made from leather. The car was available in both standard and “Lusso” (“de Luxe”) versions. The windscreen could be folded down and the removable fabric hood could be stored in a suitably shaped storage bag provided for the purpose. The early “Spider” came with the same three-speed “no-synchromesh” gear-box as the “Berlina”. However, it benefitted mechanically from the 1934 upgrade, switching to a four-speed transmission. In the case of the “Spider”, however, the 1934 upgrade was not accompanied by any change to the body shape. With a lower sleeker shape than the “Spider”, styling for the 2-seater “Spider Sport” included a distinctive tail treatment which attracted the catch-phrase “insect tail”, designed in 1933 by Ghia and said to have been inspired by small roadster bodied English cars of the period. The early “Spider Sport” models came with the same crash gearbox as the other cars, but the engine was fed by a special carburettor, which with its raised compression ratio of 7:1 gave rise to a maximum output listed as 30 hp at 4,000 rpm. The final drive ratio was also altered, and top speed went up to 110 km/h (69 mph). The “Spider Sport” received the transmission upgrade to 4 speeds in 1934 together with a special overhead valves (at a time when other 508 variants still came with a side valve engine) and other technical enhancements which pushed the power up to 36 hp. The most sporting versions advertised their performance aspirations with a more steeply tapered Tail section These are probably the best known cars from the Ballila range these days.
This is a 1935 Fiat 508S Ballila Aerodynamica Coupe. In 1934, Fiat sought to build a competition car based upon its successful Balilla Coppa d’Oro to be used in rallies and other events yet desired a closed car to combat foul weather early in the season. This lovely car was the result. The Berlinetta Aerodinamica was a very rare style, designed by the famed Mario Rivelli de Beaumont, tested in the aerodynamics labs of the University of Turin, and built by Fiat’s own Carrozzeria Speciale. It was built on the 508 CS chassis with a revised cylinder head and new carburettor, providing 36 hp, as well as a four-speed gearbox and modern hydraulic brakes. Only 11 examples of the style were produced, and this example is the only surviving example known with original Mille Miglia history. Chassis no. 076019 was built in 1935 and originally delivered to Francesco Borgo of Venezia. It was subsequently sold in January 1936 to Alberto Comirato, who participated with his wife, Lia Dumas (‘Queen of the Mille Miglia’), in the 1936 Mille Miglia, where they finished 2nd in class and 14th overall. They were featured with the car in period press on the event. That same year, they finished 5th in class at the Corsa Internazionale allo Stelvio. This was just the start to the Mille Miglia careers of the couple, who would continue to race Fiats and finished 2nd overall in the event in 1948. The car has a continuously known and traced history since, remaining with owners in Italy, including many years in the famous collection of the Agusta family (of motorcycle and helicopter renown), as chronicled on its FIVA Identification Card and accompanying history file. Following its acquisition by the current owner in 2014, it has since been displayed and driven in several historic events, including the Mille Miglia Storica in 2016. Prior to this significant outing, the car was completely mechanically restored and as a testament to the work completed, it finished amongst the first 100 cars across the line and the 11th of the 84 original Mille Miglia entrants competing. Restoration to the bodywork to concours standard followed, with utmost attention towards originality. More recently, the car has been exhibited in the Museo Mille Miglia in Brescia alongside other competitors in the fabled race.
Dating from 1936, this is a Fiat 508 with a Bertone body.
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.
Believe it or not, this is based on a 1954 Fiat Topolino. This particular model was initially produced as a van in 1954 and then converted into a pickup in 1961 by Grazia coachbuilders in Bologna. It’s been comprehensively restored, with the chassis stripped back to bare metal and repainted, the bodywork repaired and repainted, and the cabin retrimmed in a bold blue material. The car has also received a mechanical overhaul, as you would expect. The exterior of the Topolino pickup has sharp and striking styling not generally seen on utilitarian vehicles, making it ideal for a corporate marketing vehicle or something for a very flamboyant cyclist. It’s presented in a light blue paint in its original colour found during restoration, with blue rims on the steel wheels matching the interior. The bonnet hides a 569cc engine that sits in front of the radiator, with the fuel tank mounted on the bulkhead — it’s probably best to avoid any accidents — all housed in a spotless engine bay that’s repainted along with the rest of the car. The mechanical components were completely refurbished as part of the restoration, so the engine, four-speed gearbox — with synchromesh! — and suspension components should all feel fresh. The Topolino’s simple yet stylish interior design features a large wooden-rimmed steering wheel with the ‘FIAT’ badge in the centre and a simple dashboard with two dials — a speedometer in front of the passenger and a multi-function unit in front of the driver. The bench seating and matching door cards have been reupholstered nicely in a deep blue hue, while the load area at the rear is lined with wood and features plenty of hoops for securing loads, while a compartment beneath contains the spare wheel.
There was steady business for coachbuilders who wanted to provide a little more luxury and exclusivity than the standard car and this is one such example, a 1953 Fiat 500c Topolino by Simonetti.
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.
This is a 1937/1947 Fiat 508 C Sport. This car was built by Costruzione Aeronautiche Bergamasche in 1947 on a 1937 chassis. The body is hand-built aluminum and the engine was tuned by Nardi.
This is a 1950 Fiat-Lancia Barchetta with bodywork by Carrozzeria Zabora. This car started life as a 1950s Fiat Topolino 500C, before it was sent to Carozzeria Zabora of Pavia, a city south of Milan in Italy. The body was hand-crafted in aluminium, and at some point in its life its engine was upgraded to a Lancia Ardea unit.
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.
The Fiat 1100 Turismo Veloce made its debut at the 1953 Paris Moto Show. With strong performance for its 1,089cc displacement – 50bhp at 5200rpm and a 140km/h top speed – it was aimed at a sporty clientele. Although mostly unchanged from the standard 1100, the Turismo Veloce (TV) variant featured a fog light in the centre of the grille, two-tone paint and ‘anatomical’ seats. Although fine for city driving or a weekend run in the country, the 1100 TV was also a useful road racer, especially in the Mille Miglia where it dominated its class for years.
There were coachbuilt variants of the Fiat 1100 TV and this is one such, the 1100 TV Canta. Carrozzeria Canta worked mainly with the Fiat 1100 and Fiat 1400 chassis, unveiling in 1954 two models that clearly recalls the lines of the Studebaker Champion. Those designs, by Giovanni Michelotti, got a great public approval and also the attentions of Studebaker Lawyers, forcing Canta to change the design the year after. Therefore, in late 1954, a new series with different lines debuted, just in time to avoid the rip-off accusations.
Here is another, the Fiat 1100 TV Giardinetta Sleeping by Viotti. This is basically the Italian, small equivalent of the American Chevrolet Nomad, as a two door station wagon. Back then, this car had quite a good selling success as it was the ideal car for the big families where the baby-boomers were growing. However, it was not a cheap car: it had a few refinements which set this car on a higher level than the stock Fiat 1100 on which it is based. Known for the station wagons, Viotti used the “Sleeping” mark to label its models with reclining seats. Designed by Mario Revelli di Beaumont, the Fiat 1100 Sleeping was available in normal version and also with the more powerful TV (Turismo Veloce) engine. The model was updated with a slightly different design in 1958.
The Fiat 1100 T was made from 1957 as a panel van, pickup and minibus. The car was equipped with a in-line engine with 1,089 cc (type 103 D.007) with 38 PS at 4800 rpm and it had a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). In 1959, its successor was unveiled, the Fiat 1100 T2, that had a 45 PS 1,222 cc engine. Production continued with a steady stream of updated engines, until production of the 1100 T4 finally came to an end in 1971.
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.
It was nice to see an 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 ts of Italy. These days a good one will command prices around the £20,000 mark.
These are Fissore-bodied Multipla Sabrina. Very rare and I’ve never seen one before and then there were two of them on display here!
Whilst the regular 600 Multipla was an extremely versatile car, there were those who wanted more space and so the coachbuilders, such as Coriasco adapted them to add extra capacity so they could serve as vans or even ambulances.
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 chrrome 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.
It was Ghia that came up with the concept of creating a ‘beach car’. That was way back in 1954 using the 4CV as its basis, but by 1957 Ghia had been commissioned by Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli to create a beach car based on the Nuova 500 which was launched that year. Agnelli wanted a small fun car that he could carry on the back of his yacht Agneta. The car would have to be small and light enough for the yacht crew to load and unload, and it had to have enough power for the occasional longer on-road journey. The Nuova 500 was the ideal choice for Agnelli’s needs, so one was despatched to Ghia’s workshops where the doors, side windows, roof and rear window were removed. To prevent the car from folding up under its own weight, the bodyshell was strengthened and the windscreen was cut down; in some cases the wipers were also dispensed with. To stop the Jolly’s occupants from suffering heat stroke a rudimentary canvas top was fitted, called a Surrey canopy, which could be folded away if necessary. Presumably at any speed over 30mph it would have blown away altogether. The 500’s regular interior was also junked, with wicker seats fitted instead, to ensure that every journey was as uncomfortable as possible. Few cars were as basic as the 500 Jolly, but that didn’t stop a whole raft of high-profile people wanting one. Owners included Princess Grace of Monaco, Elvis Presley and Aristotle Onassis. President Lyndon B Johnson was another high-profile owner although he didn’t buy his Jolly; Fiat gave it to him instead, and he used it as a golf cart. The first 500 Jollys featured bug-eyed headlights (see the gallery), but as production progressed Ghia made fewer changes to the bodywork and the standard 500 nose was retained instead. However, Ghia did go on to offer different versions of the 500 Jolly, including an economy edition with a factory interior rather than wicker seats. From the first example until Ghia built the final 500 Jolly in 1966, the focus was only ever on changing the bodywork and interior; the mechanicals were always left untouched so the running gear was always pure 500 throughout. In all Ghia built around 400 Fiat 500 Jollys but once that final example had been built in 1966 it wasn’t a disaster for anybody who wanted a quirky Fiat-500 based car that was madly impractical. Just a year later Vignale introduced its own take on the formula, in the shape of the Fiat Gamine, around 2000 of which would be built.
There was an amazing display of other Beach Cars. This one is a Fiat 500 Spider Elegance by Savio. In the late 1950s, Avv. Giovanni Agnelli commissioned Mario Felice Boano to build the first car to be used at the sea or lake as a ‘tender’ from the boat to the house. The first Spiaggina was born. Boano made two very famous examples, one for Agnelli and the other for Onassis (whose photo with Churchill in the car is very famous). The following year the Carrozzeria Boano was transformed into the nascent Centro Stile FIAT and Felice Boano became its director. Following this, the car’s design and subsequent production were handed over to Carrozzeria Savio. Once transferred to Carrozzeria Savio, the car was renamed ‘Spider Elegance’. It was a great success and soon established itself as a viable alternative to Ghia’s famous Jolly, as the concept was similar but the Spider Elegance was also able to stand out as it had its own shape different from that of the production car. The design was continually updated with improvements, until the last version presented in 1965 where a folding roof appeared along the lines of the typical convertible.
This is the 1965 Fiat Decathlon, and is based on a 600D but with an open body built in fibre glass by the Italian coachbuilder Sibona Bassano. It was owned by the Agnelli family for many years who used it at their summer Villa Perosa.
This one, based on the larger Fiat 600 is a Lombardi Maggiolina
Although Fiat replaced the 1200 Saloon with the new 1300 and 1500 models in 1960, the Pininfarina-designed Coupé and Cabriolet models continued with largely unchanged bodywork, although they were now equipped with the larger 1.5 litre engine. The O.S.C.A. engined 1600 S Coupé and Cabriolet also continued to be available. All of the coupés and convertibles were replaced by the new 124 coupés and spiders in 1966.
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.
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.
It was only a few months after the launch of the 124 Berlina (saloon), that Fiat expanded the range with a very stylish Coupe model. It was designed as a three-box, 2-door notchback coupé by Mario Boano, known for designing the bodywork on the Ferrari 250 GT “Boano”. As many parts as possible were used from the 124 saloon. Both the Coupe and the Spider and Coupé shared the same basic platform as the 124 Berlina, but the Spider had a 14 cm shorter wheelbase. There were three distinct generations, known as AC, BC and CC. The AC model began in 1967 and came with a 90PS 1438 cc twin cam, 4-speed gearbox (the option of a 5-speed item appearing in mid-’67), front and rear anti-roll bars and a torque tube rear axle. It featured a 120 mph speedo, three supplementary gauges, a faux wood steering wheel, a woodgrain dash and console top, as well as tail lights shared with the Lamborghini Espada and Iso Rivolta. 124 Sport Coupés were modern in chassis and engine design. Braking was via four 9″ disc brakes with a front/rear weight-sensitive proportioning valve. It also had a sealed cooling system, viscous fan clutch and a toothed timing belt for the twin-cam motor, the first mass-produced engine to feature this instead of the usual chain-drive. Launched in 1969, the BC featured revised styling with twin headlights and revised taillights shared with the Lamborghini Jarama. The BC was available with both the 1438 cc and later the 1608 cc engine. Other details remained similar to the AC except the interior dash now had a 140 mph or 220 km/h speedo, 9000 rpm tacho in 1608 cc models and a clock. The steering wheel now had black painted spokes and the seats had for the first time cloth inserts in the centre. There was no woodgrain inside like before (all the panels were finished in black vinyl and the gauge rims were matt black to match) and “eyeball” vents were fitted in the centre console where the AC had a decorative panel simply filling in the space for an optional radio. Options included green tinted windows, Cromodora alloy wheels with chrome centre hub cap (as per AC optional), radio, seat headrests, heated rear window, electronic ignition. At the end of the BC run air conditioning was available as an option as well. The fuel tanks were always around 46 litres. The CC Coupe arrived in 1973 with new front styling and a revised squarer rear tail with a new deeper boot lid. Taillights were changed to a vertical arrangement and the side rear windows were revised. The CC started with a small batch fitted with the 1608 cc engine, soon changing to a revised 1592 cc engine (slightly shorter stroke at 79,2 mm to create a “sub-1600” engine to fit the lower tax bracket in Italy) and an enlarged 84 mm bore creating an engine of 1756 cc. The 1592 cc and 1756 cc (sourced from the new Fiat 132, introduced in 1972) both made use of a single carburettor again (the Weber 34 DMS). In spite of this change the 1756 cc was the most powerful engine produced with 118 hp and 115 mph (185 km/h) top speed. The CC’s revised interior featured a new dashboard incorporating a lower panel on the passenger side, an alloy fascia in front of the driver and seats covered completely in cloth. There was a new vinyl-covered steering wheel rim with anodised silver spokes. The optional but not uncommon Cromodora wheels now had a revised design with no chrome centre hubcap, instead having exposed wheelnuts. These were of an 8 slot design, the earlier wheels used coming in 6 slot configuration (an 8-slot design was also current but not original to the 124 range). The car continued until 1975. There were approx 113,000 AC Coupés, 98,000 BC Coupés 1,438 cc/1,608 cc, and about 75,000 CC Coupés manufactured.
The first 124 Spider made its debut at the Turin Show in 1966, and continued in production until the mid 1980s, bearing its desginer, Pininfarina’s badges in later years when it remained popular in the American market. Early cars had 1400 and 1600cc engines, and these were gradually enlarged first 1800cc and then 2 litre, with fuel injection being added for more power and emissions compliance during the 1970s. Fiat spotted the potential of the car for more than just boulevard cruising, though, so in November 1972 they announced the Fiat Abarth 124 Rally, an overtly sporting version. 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 car which had been campaigned. At the time, the 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 fixed hard top. In place of the usual rear solid axle, there was a Chapman-type McPherson strut independent suspension, supplemented by a longitudinal torque arm. 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 by replacing the standard twin-choke carburettor with double vertical twin-choke Weber 44 IDF ones, and by fitting an Abarth exhaust with a dual exit exhaust The 9.8:1 compression ratio was left unchanged. The transmission was the all-synchronised 5-speed optional on the other Sport Spider models, and brakes were discs on all four corners. Despite the 20 kg (44 lb) 4-point roll bar fitted, kerb weight was 938 kg (2,068 lb), roughly 25 kg (55 lb) less than the regular 1.8-litre Sport Spider. The bonnet, boot lid and the fixed hard top were fibreglass, painted matt black, the rear window was 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 housed 185/70 VR 13 Pirelli CN 36 tyres on 5.5 J × 13″ 4-spoke alloy wheels. Inside, the 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 carried 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
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.
The 130 saloon was launched at the 39th Geneva Motor Show in March 1969, replacing the previous largest and most exclusive Fiat saloon, the Fiat 2300. It was a thoroughly modern car, with four-wheel independent suspension (modified MacPherson struts front and rear, with torsion bars in the front and coil springs in the rear). At launched in 1969 it featured the 2866 cc 140 bhp engine which the press soon concluded was insufficient in view of the weight of about 1,600 kg (3,527 lb), hence the Fiat 130 berlina type “A” did not compete with the big BMW and Mercedes sedans. Interior design was not ambitious, with rectangular dials in the dashboard, a black plastic centre console and black plastic everywhere. The cars were improved in 1971, taking on board some Paolo Martin innovations conceived for the Coupé. The “130 type B” engine was introduced, featuring a slightly increased bore (102 mm instead of 96 mm), displacing 3,235 cc and producing 165 bhp at 5,600 rpm. Power was delivered to the rear axle via standard Borg-Warner three-speed automatic transmission, and a five-speed ZF S5-18/3 ZF manual was an option. The steering column, the dashboard, the central console and the ventilation are identical to the Coupé. The seats, the steering wheel and the door panels were improved, but differently from the Coupé. One can say the 1971 “B” version from 1971 is significantly more refined than the “A” version dating from 1969. Retrospectively, if one compares the 130 with big BMW and Mercedes sedans, the Fiat 130 Berlina type “B” may be the winner in terms of interior design and some comfort elements. But if one is considering the dynamic elements like power and ride comfort, the Fiat 130 type “B” is still lagging as the engine is not blessed with fuel injection (somewhat difficult to start—depending on the conditions), the engine does not have hydraulic self-adjusting valves, and the engine is simply not powerful enough. All this combines with a worryingly high fuel consumption. And this lack of dash and lack of efficiency are not compensated for with an extra smooth ride. Production of the saloon ended in 1976, with 15,093 produced (including 4 Familiare’s built by Officine Introzzo of Como) The Coupé continued until the following year, and 4,294 were built in total
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. There are thought to be fewer than 20 examples in the UK now.
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
At the 53rd Turin Motor Show of November 1971 Fiat introduced the 2 door 128 Coupé, based on a shortened 128 chassis. It was available with two different engines (1100 and 1300) and in two different trim levels (S and SL) for a total of four variants. In its base “S” trim, the coupé had single rectangular front headlamps, and wheels and hubcaps from the saloon. The pricier “SL” (for Sport Lusso) was distinguished by quadruple round headlamps, a specific grille, steel sport wheels without hubcaps, chromed window surround trim, door handles and fuel cap, and black decorative striping along the sills and across the tail panel. Inside it gained a leatherette-wrapped steering wheels, perforated leatherette upholstery, extended four-gauge instrumentation, loop pile carpeting and black headlining. The two engines were developed from the units found in the 128 saloon and 128 Rally respectively, and both were fitted with twin-choke carburettors and a two-piece exhaust manifold. The 1100 produced 63 hp while the 1300 produced 74 hp. Top speed was over 150 km/h (93 mph) and 160 km/h (99 mph) respectively. Compared with the 128 saloon, the coupé had a 9.1 in shorter wheelbase and tracks that were wider at the front and narrower at the rear. Suspension was the familiar all-independent 128 layout—save for the front anti-roll bar, which had been replaced by radius rods. The braking system consisted of discs at the front and drums at the rear; it was made more efficient by fitting smaller diameter front discs and the front and the vacuum servo first used on the 128 Rally. It was replaced by a hatchback version, the 3P in the autumn of 1975, which was mechanically the same under the skin.
Making another appearance here 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-panelled 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.
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 X1/9 Owners Club had their own stand for a model which followed a 1969 show concept car called the Autobianchi Runabout, with styling by Bertone under chief designer Marcello Gandini. 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.
The 126 arrived in the autumn of 1972 and 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.
Named after the Turin suburb where it was built, the Fiat 131 was a much more conventional car than the innovative 128 and 127 which it joined in the range. The Fiat 131 employed construction techniques and technologies typical of its day. The body was a steel monocoque. Designed and styled on the typical three-box design, with distinct boxes for the engine compartment, passenger compartment, and boot. The major mechanical components were also conventional and contemporary, but with some notable advances. The 131 employed a front engine, rear-wheel drive layout. The engines were all inline-four types, derived from those used in the outgoing 124 range, with a cast iron cylinder block and aluminium alloy cylinder head. Initially the 131 was offered only with pushrod valve gear, which offered the innovation of being the worldwide first engine with OHV valve gear and a belt driven camshaft. Only later in the model’s life came the well known double overhead camshaft (DOHC) engines which used a toothed timing belt. Fuel supply was via a single Weber ADF twin-choke carburettor. Traditional contact breaker ignition systems were used, usually with Marelli distributors. The suspension system utilised fully independent front suspension, with MacPherson struts, track control arms and anti-roll bar. The rear suspension was quite advanced (when using a solid live rear axle), in that the rear axle was controlled by double unequal length trailing arms and a panhard rod, with coil springs and direct acting dampers. This design proved far superior to many of its contemporaries, especially with vehicle stability and handling. The car’s interior offered another worldwide first in having the secondary switches in the dashboard illuminated by a central bulb somewhere in the dashboard and fibre optics from there to the switches. The Fiat 131 Mirafiori was introduced at the 55th Turin Motor Show in late October 1974. The 131 came with a choice of a 1,297 cc or 1,585 cc OHV inline-four engines, both from the engine family first introduced on the Fiat 124. Both engines were fitted with a single twin-choke Weber 32 ADF downdraught carburettor. A four-speed manual transmission was standard, with a 5-speed manual and a 3-speed torque converter automatic optional on the 1600 engine only. The initial range comprised eleven different models. There were three body styles: 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon and Familiare station wagon (Estate on the British market). Station wagons were built by SEAT in Spain, but were labelled Fiats for all non-Spanish markets. Trim levels were two; the entry-level 131 Mirafiori (also known as “Normale” or “Standard”) had single square headlamps, wheels and dished hubcap from the 124, and simplified interior furnishings. Next was the better appointed 131 Mirafiori Special (or simply “S”), which could be distinguished from the base model by its quadruple circular headlamps, specific grille, side rubbing strips, chrome window surrounds, and rubber bumper inserts. Inside it added different instrumentation with triple square dials, a padded adjustable steering wheel, cloth upholstery, and reclining seats. Additionally the more sophisticated options—such as air conditioning, tachometer, limited slip differential and vinyl roof—were exclusive to the Special. Each body style could be combined with either of the engines and trim levels—save for the Special estate which only came with the larger engine. The 131 got a minor facelift in 1978. New DOHC, or “Twin Cam” engines arrived, and these models were badged as Supermirafiori. The biggest change exterior-wise for the Series 2 was larger rectangular shaped front lights, new bumpers, new bigger rear lights and new interior trim including a chunky, single-spoked steering wheel. Later in 1978, the 2-door sporting version Racing (Mirafiori Sport in the UK) with 115 PS twin cam engine, was launched. This car had four round headlights (the inner headlights being smaller than the outer ones, unlike any other Mirafiori model produced), different grille, spoilers and extended wheel arches, and a short-throw 5 speed gearbox. The Racing had top speed of 180 km/h (110 mph). Diesel engined versions also had four round headlights (equally sized), and a noticeable (and characteristic) bump in the hood to accommodate the taller engine. The 131 was updated again in March 1981. Production of the Racing/Sport versions ceased, although these were sold well into 1982. The same 2.0 twin cam engine went to the Supermirafiori. The car received a slightly updated interior (instruments, single-piece glovebox lid), whilst lower rubbing strips found their way onto all models up to CL specification. The Supermirafiori received larger lower door cladding. Mechanically, Mirafiori versions now received overhead cam engines rather than pushrod versions; a new 1.4 litre engine and a revised 1.6 litre. Also new were the clutch and gearboxes, a tweaked suspension was also introduced and the fuel tank increased in size by three litres. In June 1981, a new sport version, the Volumetrico Abarth, was introduced to some markets, with a supercharged version of the familiar 2 litre twin-cam. This car, also known as the 2000 TC Compressore, was built in a small series (about 200 units) and could reach 190 km/h (118 mph).In 1983, the production of saloon version was discontinued, but the estate, now named 131 Maratea, remained in production with two engine choices (115 PS 2.0 TC and 72 PS 2.5 D) until 1985, when they were replaced with the Ritmo-based Regata Weekend. These last versions featured four round headlights and the by-now familiar five-bar grille. In total, 1,513,800 units were produced in Italy.
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.
The Fiat Ritmo cabrio was originally displayed as a concept at the 1979 Frankfurt Motor Show but went on sale in mainland Europe only in 1981. It was assembled by Bertone and, coinciding with the 1982 facelift, was badged as a Bertone instead of a Fiat. It was cheaper than, and competed against, the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet but was not up to Volkswagen standards in terms of quality or ability, despite the fact that the German rival was not built in-house, but by Karmann. With the introduction of the Series 2 cars, Fiat began manufacture of a RHD Ritmo Cabrio, which was offered in the UK (Superstrada Cabrio) and Ireland (Ritmo Cabrio) only in 85S (Superstrada) guise. The Bertone cabriolet was sold in various European markets in petrol-engined form only (75S, 85S, 100S; some with fuel injection) until 1988. There were various special editions including the Ritmo Cabrio Chrono and Ritmo Cabrio Bianco (all white).
Introduced at the 1980 Geneva Show, the Panda (Tipo 141) was designed as a cheap, easy to use and maintain, no-frills utility vehicle, positioned in Fiat’s range between the 126 and 127. It can be seen as a then-modern approach to the same niche which the Citroën 2CV and Renault 4 were designed to serve. The first Panda was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign. In an interview to Turinese newspaper La Stampa published in February 1980, Giugiaro likened the Panda to a pair of jeans, because of its practicality and simplicity, and he has often said that this is his favourite of all the cars he designed. Mechanically the first Pandas borrowed heavily from the Fiat parts bin. Engines and transmissions came from the Fiat 127 and, in certain territories, the air-cooled 652 cc two-cylinder powerplant from the Fiat 126. The plan for a mechanically simple car was also evident in the rear suspension, which used a solid axle suspended on leaf springs. Later versions of the car added various mechanical improvements but this spirit of robust simplicity was adhered to throughout the life of the model. Many design features reflect the Panda’s utilitarian practicality. Examples include a seven-position adjustable rear seat which could be folded flat to make an improvised bed, or folded into a V shape to support awkward loads, or easily and quickly removed altogether to increase the overall load space. The first Pandas also featured removable, washable seat covers, door trims and dashboard cover, and all the glass panels were flat making them cheap to produce, easy to replace and interchangeable between left and right door. Much like its earlier French counterparts the Panda could be specified with a two piece roll forward canvas roof. At launch two models were available: the Panda 30, powered by a longitudinally-mounted air cooled 652 cc straight-two-cylinder engine derived from the 126, or the Panda 45, with a transversely-mounted water cooled 903 cc four-cylinder from the 127. As a consequence of the different drivetrain layout the 45 had the radiator grille to the right side, the 30 to the left. In September 1982 Fiat added another engine to the line-up: the Panda 34 used an 843 cc water-cooled unit, derived from that in the 850. It was originally reserved for export to France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Fiat launched the Panda 45 Super at the Paris Motor Show later in 1982, with previous specification models continuing as the “Comfort” trim. The Super offered numerous improvements, most significant being the availability of a five-speed gearbox as well as improved trim. There were minor styling changes to the Super including the introduction of Fiat’s new black plastic “corporate” grille with five diagonal silver bars. The earlier grille design (metal with slots on the left for ventilation) continued on the Comfort models until the next major revision of the line-up. A 30 Super was added to the range in February 1983, offering the Super trim combined with the smaller engine. The Panda 4×4 was launched in June 1983, it was powered by a 965 cc engine with 48 bhp derived from that in the Autobianchi A112. Known simply as the Panda 4×4, this model was the first small, transverse-engined production car to have a 4WD system. The system itself was manually selectable, with an ultra-low first gear. Under normal (on-road) conditions starting was from second, with the fifth gear having the same ratio as fourth in the normal Panda. Austrian company Steyr-Puch supplied the entire drivetrain (clutch, gearbox, power take-off, three-piece propshaft, rear live axle including differential and brakes) to the plant at Termini Imerese where it was fitted to the reinforced bodyshell. Minor revisions in November 1984 saw the range renamed “L”, “CL”, and “S”. Specifications and detailing were modified across the range including the adoption of the Fiat corporate grille across all versions. Mechanically, however, the cars remained largely unchanged. In January 1986, the Panda received a substantial overhaul and a series of significant mechanical improvements. Most of these changes resulted in the majority of parts being changed and redesigned, making many of the pre-facelift and post-facelift Panda parts incompatible between models. The 652 cc air-cooled 2-cyl engine was replaced by a 769 cc (34 bhp) water-cooled 4-cyl unit, and the 903/965cc by a 999cc (45 bhp, 50 bhp in the 4×4) unit. Both new engines were from Fiat’s new FIRE family of 4-cylinder water-cooled powerplants with a single overhead camshaft. The rear suspension was also upgraded, the solid axle with leaf springs being replaced by a more modern dependent suspension system using a non-straight rigid axle (known as the ‘Omega’ axle) with a central mounting and coil springs (first seen on the Lancia Y10, which used the same platform). The 4×4 retained the old leaf sprung live axle set-up, presumably to avoid having to redesign the entire 4WD system. Improvements were also made to the interior and the structure. The body was strengthened and fully galvanised on later models, virtually eliminating the earlier car’s strong tendency to rust. The rear panel design was also revamped to include flared arches that mirrored those of the front wings, replacing the un-sculpted style seen on earlier models, and the doors received a slight redesign with the earlier car’s quarter light windows being removed and replaced by a full width roll-down window. The bottom seam of the facelifted model’s doors unfortunately retained much the earlier car’s susceptibility to rust. In ascending order of specification and cost, the revised range was as follows: 750L, 750CL, 750S, 1000CL, 1000S, 4×4. April 1986 saw the introduction of a 1,301 cc diesel engine with 37 bhp (a detuned 127/Uno unit). Fitted as standard with a five-speed gearbox it was only available in the basic “L” trim. A van variant of the Panda was also introduced, with both petrol and diesel engines. The van was basically a standard Panda without rear seats. The rear windows were replaced with plastic blanking panels and a small (always black) steel extension with side hinged doors was fitted instead of the usual hatchback tailgate. Neither the van nor the diesel were available in right hand drive markets. In 1987, a new entry-level model badged “Panda Young” was added to the range. This was essentially an L spec car with a 769 cc OHV engine based on the old 903 cc push-rod FIAT 100 engine and producing the same 34 bhp as the more sophisticated 769 cc FIRE unit. The Panda 4×4 Sisley limited edition was also released; this was based on the standard 4×4, but came with metallic paint, inclinometer, white painted wheels, roof rack, headlamp washers, bonnet scoop, “Sisley” badging and trim. Although originally limited to the production of only 500, in 1989 the Sisley model became a permanent model due to its popularity. In 1991, a facelift was introduced. This entailed a new front grille with a smaller five-bar corporate badge, plus revisions to trim and specifications across the range. New arrivals included the ‘Selecta’, which had a continuously variable transmission with an electromagnetic clutch. This advanced transmission was available either with the normal 999 cc FIRE engine (revised with single-point fuel injection and a catalytic converter) or an all new 1108 cc FIRE unit, fitted with electronic fuel injection and a three-way catalytic converter and producing 51 bhp. The new CLX trim also featured a five-speed gearbox as standard. The range now comprised the 750 Young (769 cc ohv), 750 and 750 CLX (both 769 cc FIRE sohc), 900 Dance (903 cc ohv), 1000 Shopping, CLX, CL Selecta and S (all with 999 cc sohc, available with or without SPI and catalytic converter depending on the market), 1100 CL Selecta (1108 cc sohc with SPI and cat) and the 4×4 Trekking (999 cc, again available with and without a cat depending on the market). The Elettra concluded the range. In 1992, the 1108 cc engine, complete with SPI and catalytic converter, replaced the 999 cc unit in the 4×4 (with 50 bhp) and also in 1992 an 899 cc (with injection and catalyst) became available, in the ‘Cafe’ special edition. This was a reduced capacity 903 cc unit, designed to meet tax requirements in some markets. From 1996 onwards, the Panda was gradually phased out across Europe, due to tightening emissions and safety legislation. The car remained in production in Italy until May 2003. Its total production run of 23 years makes the Panda one of Europe’s longest-lived small cars. Over 4,5 million were built and the car is still popular in Italy.
One of the rarest cars of the day was this Argenta, a model produced from 1981 to 1985. The Argenta was a comprehensive update of the Fiat 132 and the last mass-produced Fiat with rear-wheel drive until the 2016 124 Spider. The change to a name came about as Fiat was changing their naming strategy, changing from three-digit numbers to more meaningful names. This model was available in sedan/saloon bodystyle only. The Argenta was closely based on its predecessor Fiat 132. All body panels and windows except the doors were new. Other changes included new trim, wheels, dashboard, mirrors and rectangular headlights. Trim level was raised compared to the previous 132 and the contemporary 131 Mirafiori, with power steering, electric windows and door locking. Some markets had a large manually-sliding steel sunroof, others had air conditioning. The Argenta came with a choice of four different engines, although not all were available in all of the Argenta’s markets: a 96 bhp 1600, a 113 bhp 2 litre carburettor, a 122 bhp 2.0 litre injection and a 75 bhp 2.5 litre diesel. In 1984, the Argenta was facelifted. The grille was renewed with the then corporate 5-bar grille, new front end, new bumpers and an anti-roll-bar was mounted on the rear axle. The front axle was widened by 60 mm (2.4 in), and new wheels with flat wheel trims & chrome embellishers used. Some minor changes were made inside the car, most notably to the seat/door/rooflining trim and a new steering wheel. The radio antenna moved from inside the windscreen to the roof. The Argenta had also two new engines: Fiat’s first turbodiesel, 2.5 litre producing 90 bhp and for the Argenta VX a supercharged 2.0 engine with 135 bhp, shared with the Lancia Volumex models. Both these models had rear disc brakes and a 70-litre fuel tank instead of the usual 60 litres. The car remained in production until 1985 when it was replaced by the Croma
This one had been converted to be a pickup. Web research after the Show suggests that this is not the only one!
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.
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.
After the 124 Spider ended production, there was a wait of over 10 years before Fiat would produce another open-topped car. Developed between 1990 and 1994 under the project name Tipo B Spider 176, the Barchetta, a small open topped rival to the Mazda MX5 was designed by Andreas Zapatinas and Alessandro Cavazza under the supervision of Peter Barrett Davis and other car designers at the Fiat Centro Stile, and prototyping was carried out by Stola. Production began in February 1995 and lasted until June 2005, with a brief pause due to the bankruptcy of coachbuilder Maggiora. The Barchetta was based on the chassis of the Mark 1 Fiat Punto. The Barchetta has 1,747 cc DOHC petrol engine fitted with variable camshaft timing, used for the first time in a Fiat production car, after being patented in 1970. The engine has 132 PS, and with a weight of 1056 kg (2328 lb) without air conditioning can accelerate to 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). It came in various trim levels which offered different features, for example, diamond cross stitch – patterned red leather instead of the standard black leather or fabric seats, alloy wheels instead of steel wheels, or fog-lights as an option. Arguably one of the biggest external cosmetic changes was made by the addition of the third brake light, first introduced by Fiat on the Lido and Riviera in 2000, and on sub models thereafter. The bodies were welded at ILCAS in Sparone Canavese, and final assembly was done in Chivasso by the coachbuilder Maggiora. After Maggiora’s bankruptcy in 2002, Fiat relocated production of the Barchetta to its Mirafiori plant and resumed production two years later. The most notable changes were the revised front spoiler and rear bumper. Production of the car eventually stopped in June 2005, with around 57,700 cars having been built. Production of the Barchetta was limited to LHD cars only, even though the car was marketed and sold in two RHD markets, the United Kingdom and Japan.
The first Campagnola 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.
You might not guess it from looking at it, but 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.
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.
The Fiat 616 was a light truck produced by the Italian car manufacturer Fiat Veicoli Industriali from 1965 to 1978, replacing the previous Fiat 615. It was a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 t and a payload of around 1,700 kg , depending on the specification. The cabin had a “long nose”, that is, with the engine hood placed in front of the driver’s cabin. Several series were produced: N Series in production from 1965 to 1966; N1 Series in production from 1966 to 1968; N2 and N2 / 4 series in production from 1968 to 1971; N3 Series in production from 1971 to 1978. The first series ( N and N1 ) were fitted with the “square” 4 -cylinder “model 230” diesel engine ( bore and stroke 95×95) of 2693cc with indirect injection , which produced a power of 51 HP (DIN) at 3500 rpm . The N2 series was equipped with the new “model 803A” engine, a revolutionary 2339cc ” long stroke” 3-cylinder direct injection diesel (95X110) which always produced 51 bhp at 3200 rpm, but which had problems due to excessive vibrations. For this reason , the series was marketed in 1969N2 / 4 which fitted a 4-cylinder version of the same engine (called “804A”) with 3119cc of displacement and maximum power of 70 bhp. With the latest N3 series , the range was extended with higher PTT models. It differed from the N2 series mainly for some aesthetic updates, the most evident in a new grille much more squared off than the previous one, and for the adoption of the new and more powerful 8030 engine capable of delivering a power equal to 61.5 HP. Alongside this was also introduced the 8040 engine, further increased, both in displacement (increased from 2,592 to 3,456 cm3 ) and in power (reached 81.5 hp). It was replaced by the Iveco Daily after the integration of Fiat Veicoli Industriali into the newly formed Iveco.