- A splendid example of one of Autobianchi’s rarest and most sough-after models
- Very early and scarcely seen “First Series” Cabriolet
- Benefits from a complete concours-quality restoration executed by Greg Michaelian
- Powered by a rear-mounted, 500-cc Fiat Sport engine paired with a four-speed manual transmission
- Features styling by Fiat’s Luigi Rapi, of Otto Vu fame
Italian automaker Autobianchi’s first model was the Fiat 500-based Bianchina of 1957, named after Edoardo Bianchi’s first-ever automobile. The Bianchina debuted as the “Trasformabile” coupe, with a full-length folding sunroof and plentiful chrome trim. Positioned up-market from its Fiat progenitor, which had been designed as basic transportation for the masses, the Bianchina was marketed as a fun second car or luxurious recreational vehicle. It appealed strongly to the affluent middle class and reflected the increasing prosperity of Italy’s post-war society.
In 1958, the Bianchina received a new engine and a wide range of body styles. Fiat’s 25-horsepower, 499-cubic-centimeter “500 Sport” engine became available in 1959 and increased top speed to a brisk 65 mph.
The 1960 Geneva Motor Show saw the debut of what was arguably the prettiest of the company’s models, the Bianchina Special Cabriolet. It was a little luxury car, with a luxury price, and it was immediately accepted by the fashionable jet-setters as a second car or runabout.
Designer Luigi Rapi—former director of Fiat’s Special Vehicles Office and main stylist for the company’s famous Otto Vu—created a well-proportioned design accented by a prominent, spear-shaped side molding. Interior fittings were attractive and carefully considered, and the indicators were fitted separately below the headlights, rather than on the bumper guards. The cooling slots on the side below the doors and the chrome borders below the body edge were eliminated. The rarest of these Bianchina Special Cabriolets are the earliest first-series cars—an exceptional and wonderfully restored specimen of which is offered here.
This very early, white-over-black 1960 Autobianchi Special Cabriolet benefits from a recent and comprehensive concours-quality restoration by Greg Michaelian of Stuart, Florida. After three years of sporadic warm-weather enjoyment, the consignor exported chassis 000873 to the United States in February 2021, and subsequently submitted it to Michaelian’s outfit. Correct details are found throughout, and the car’s desirable suite of equipment includes a rear bench seat, driver’s side mirror, and chrome hubcaps. Additionally, this Bianchina has been furnished with an Autobianchi owner’s manual, tool kit, and accessory jack, which accompany the sale.
With a peppy, air-cooled, rear-mounted, two-cylinder engine, a four-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, the Autobianchi Bianchina is a brilliant example of one of the finest microcars of the era. Both fun and practical to use regularly in warmer climates, this wonderfully restored, first-series Bianchina Special Cabriolet remains a tasteful choice for any car enthusiast today.