Forgotten beauty: Fiat Stanguellini 1200 Spider
Mamma mia! A UFO from Fiat
Franco Scaglione designed many beautiful cars in his life, and this little Fiat is one of them. Built by Bertone, the Stanguellini was presented at 1957 Turin Motor Show. After that, the car was shown at few other car shows and later sold to an Argentinean owner. Unfortunately, after few years, the car broke down, and the owner left it in a barn to rot. But in 1995, it was discovered and restored. The car was sold at 2017 RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction for $275.000. But, what’s the story behind it?
Credit: Inspiration Grid
This masterpiece is a one-off, built in collaboration with Vittorio Stanguellini. He was the founder of Automobili Stanguellini, a company that made various small sports cars and few single-seaters with Fiat components. In fact, their cars with 750cc and 1100cc Fiat engines won numerous victories at Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Formula Junior. One of their most famous works was the amazing Alfa Romeo BAT car range. This tells a lot about company’s style and design taste.
Little Fiat stealing the show from the Rolls Royce. Credit: CarStyling
In 1957, Nuccio Bertone bought a Fiat 1100 TV (Touring Veloce) which was upgraded to the specifications of a Fiat 1200, and then modified by Stanguellini to increase its performance. The car came with the Jetsons-like body, making it look like a UFO on wheels. But that was not unusual since those times were known as the “rocket/jet-age era”. Stanguellini’s rounded nosecone is a very cool detail that enriches the car and gives it a cool streamlined shape, and along with the tailfins (borrowed from BAT cars), the car really looked like it was made to be driven by someone from outer space.
Credit: RM Sotheby's
The overall shape was so beautiful that Franco Scaglione later used it on 1960s Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale. Little Fiat also featured a wraparound one-piece windshield and big dips on the door. Oh, and look at those chrome rear bumpers; so elegant and stylish.
Credit: RM Sotheby's
Powered by a 1.221cc OHV straight-4, the Stanguellini had 59hp. Other features were two Weber carburetors, 4-speed manual transmission, hydraulic drum brakes on all wheels, independent front suspension, and rear axle with elliptical leaf springs. Sure, this car is not really powerful nor fast, but it’s simply brilliant. And it’s definitely one of the most beautiful cars ever to wear Fiat’s badge.