- 1965 Autobianchi Bianchina
- Amazing time-warp condition
- Engine rebuilt to 540cc
- Lovely history file detailing early ownership
- Displayed in Fiat 500 Museum in Italy
This charming little Autobianchi Bianchina was first registered in 1965 and is a remarkably original survivor. It was previously displayed in the Fiat 500 Museum in Garlenda, the town on the Italian Riviera that is home to the Fiat 500 Club Italia, and since being imported to the UK it has been carefully maintained and enjoyed by its most recent custodians.
The Autobianchi formed part of a private collection after being brought over from Italy and was used sparingly during the summer months. Its subsequent enthusiast owner acquired the Bianchina in 2016 and regularly serviced it, and their care and attention means that not only does it drive crisply, it also remains one of the cleanest and most original examples in existence.
Presented in light blue with a blue interior, it even retains the sticker of the official dealer who supplied the car new – Gino Nanni in Pistoia, just north of Florence. The sparse cockpit is just as it would have been at that time, the minimal instrumentation and rubber floor mats reinforcing this car’s ‘less is more’ ethos – something at which Italian and French manufacturers excelled in the post-war period.
The engine is the original two-cylinder Fiat 500 unit, and since being in the UK it has been fully rebuilt. During that work, the bore was increased from 67.4mm to 70mm to give it a little extra power.
Now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub, this Autobianchi Bianchina is a chic, stylish alternative to a Fiat 500 and is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of not only its new owner, but also anyone who sees it buzzing along the road. Its history file includes the original owner’s manual, the Italian service book and registration documents, and photographs of its time in the Garlenda museum.
Bianchi’s history as a manufacturer of bicycles and motor cars stretches back to the 19th century, but after the Abruzzi factory was destroyed during World War Two and founder Edoardo Bianchi died in 1946, it was clear that it would need to find a partner if it wanted to get back into the automobile industry.
In 1955, it therefore joined forces with Fiat and Pirelli to form Autobianchi, and a new factory was duly constructed in Desio. The Bianchina was the first model to roll off the production line in 1957, and featured a stylish body that was designed by Luigi Rapi plus mechanical components from the Fiat 500.
Marketed as a more refined version of Fiat’s little city car, the Bianchina was initially offered as the landaulet-style Trasformabile. In 1960, the Cabriolet was added to the range – Audrey Hepburn drove one in the 1966 film How To Steal A Million – and there were also Panoramica estate and Berlina saloon variants. There were even two commercial van models.
The original 479cc air-cooled flat-twin engine was replaced in 1960 by the 18hp 499cc unit, and in 1965 a minor external facelift was carried out. Bianchi sold its stake in Autobianchi to Fiat in 1968, and Bianchina production ended the following year – although the high-roof Furgonetta van lasted until 1977.