#Autobianchi became famous for building Fiat derivatives, and became a de facto division of #Fiat in 1968; but it’s history goes back much farther than that. This little car, the Bianchina, was the product of a joint venture between #Fiat , #Pirelli , and cycle-maker #Bianchi - founded by Eduardo Bianchi in 1885 and passed on to his son Giuseppe in 1946.
Bianchi cycles are still made today, but in 1899 the company branched out into cars - periodically building series production cars into the late 1930s, culminating in the S8 and S9 designs. These were built on a small scale, and had already gone out of production by the war. After hostilities were over, Bianchi’s production director Ferruccio Quintavalle wanted to return the company to cars - and had to work for several years to convince Giuseppe Bianchi that it was worth it - for one thing, the firm could not develop a car alone - which led to the collaboration with Giovanni Agnelli and Leopoldo Pirelli.
The new Bianchi car would be a semi-luxe model of the Fiat 500 and the joint venture would allow Fiat to experiment with new ideas on a small scale. All would come with Pirelli tires. Thus was born the Bianchina - an upscale, rebodied version of the Nuova 500, using the little Fiat"s two-cylinder engine. The #transformabile version, seen here, was the nicest version in the early days, with a rollback convertible top, a useful power increase, and pretty two-tone paint options. The Bianchina wasn’t fast, but it was pretty. There was also a tiny Berlina with seating for four small people, and a Panoramica wagon/van variant.
In the U.S. Bianchinas were sold (in small numbers) at Fiat dealers alongside the 500 and 600. The 2-cylinder cars were ill-suited to American highways and tastes. Though they did okay in a couple of urban centers, people interested in tiny Fiats were mostly gravitating to the 600 and 1100, and imports dried up completely in the mid 60s. Like the Nuova 500, the Bianchina was a popular and long-lived car in Europe, and is still a common sight in places like Paris and Rome.
Autobianchi continued to build Fiat derived cars until the Y10 of 1986, with the name finally being retired in 1996.
The Autobianchi Bianchina was introduced at the Paris Auto Salon in spring of 1957. It was the first car produced after the marriage of Italian companies, Fiat, Pirelli and Bianci. This 1960 one was driven by Otto Waalkes in his movie “Otto Der Außerfriesische” 1989. #ottowaalkesausstellung#ottowaalkes#deraußerfriesische#emden