Padua

22nd-25th October 2020

Padua

22nd-25th October 2020

26 Aug

BEFORE THE GRANTURISMOS, CAME THE FIAT YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN

in: VINTAGE CARS
images/4403/fiat-pre-granturismo.jpg

Flamboyant in its red and blue striped livery, one of the three known Ardita 518 fitted by Bertone is coming to Padua. This car will be showcased by the Registro Fiat Italiano to celebrate the 1930s, the decade which crowned Fiat, the car manufacturers from Turin, the kings of the Italian automobile industry.

The landscape of the Italian car industry in the 30s featured very few models, but many different styles. There were several small manufacturers and many coachbuilders who built cars from the bare shell, following the owners' personal taste. However, there was one brand name that lay beneath the elegant craftsmanship of the artists that was growing stronger. That brand was Fiat, the car manufacturing house which conquered the Italian roads and was the first automobile industrialist in Italy. In 1931, there were 5 cars registered for every 1000 inhabitants on the roads. In the years that followed, also due to the 1929 market crisis which led to the downfall of many "independent" manufacturers, most of these cars would be Fiats. The most popular model was the Balilla, which can be described as the 'basic' model, but it is worth bearing in mind that having a car at that time was a luxury very few could afford.

But Fiat also had a more luxurious model: The Ardita, a granturismo saloon car manufactured at a time when granturismos such as the 514 with 1500 horsepower, the 518 with 2000 horsepower and the 527 with 2500 horsepower weren't even a thing. Despite the subsequent increase in cubic capacity, the Ardita never became a fast car: it was far too heavy to be fast, weighing in at one and a half tons. However, it remains a solid, robust and versatile car in all its configurations: coupé, spider and torpedo. 

The 1935 518 S exhibited by Registro Fiat Italiano at Auto e Moto d'Epoca is a truly spectacular car. It's a two-seater spider, elegant in its slim lines designed by Mario Revelli di Beaumont and brought to life by Bertone. It is one of three models made by the great coachbuilder that we are aware of. It is also the first of the four historic cars selected by the Registro to showcase Fiat's great history at the Padua fair. Fiat's story is rooted in the 1930s, when it establishes its leadership in the emerging Italian motor industry, leadership which is consolidated after the war.

* Source Istat - https://www.istat.it/it/files/2011/03/Italia-in-cifre.pdf