The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 296

1961 Autobianchi Bianchina Special Cabriolet

  • ID No. 007191

Sold for $34,500


With a Fiat 500 Sport motor, it is one of the priciest and most exclusive small cars of its era.



SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Autobianchi SpA

Origin: Milan, Italy

Production: 9,000

Motor: Fiat 2-cyl., 4-stroke

Displacement: 499.5 cc

Power: 25 hp

Length: 10 ft.

Identification No. 3435C



Founded in 1899 by Eduardo Bianchi, the Bianchi Company made vehicles for 56 years. These included full-size cars, tanks, and trucks with Mercedes engines. But the factory was destroyed during the war and he had been unable to recover. In 1955, Milanese industrialist Ferrucio Quintavalle organized a new company involving Bianchi, Fiat, and the Pirelli Tire Company, called Autobianchi SpA. Trucks would continue to be manufactured by the firm, and motorcycles would be manufactured by Eduardo Bianchi SpA.



Two years later, at the Milan show, the first car to carry the name Autobianchi arrived. The Bianchina Transformabile (Convertible) was one of the first adaptations of the 500 Nuova, using its chassis, engine, and transmission, but with a very attractively styled coupe body with a roll-back roof, reminiscent of the French Vespa 400.



In 1958, it was given a stronger engine and became available as a sedan, coupe, convertible, and station wagon. During this year, Giuseppe Bianchi, Eduardo’s son, sold the family holdings in Autobianchi to Fiat, and in 1963, Fiat gained full control. In 1960, just over 30,000 of these cars were built.



The 1960 Geneva show saw the debut of what was arguably the prettiest of all the models, the Bianchina Special Convertible. 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 drew a well-proportioned shape highlighted by a strong accent in the form of a side spear chrome molding. Interior fittings were more attractive. The indicators were fitted separately below the headlights, not on the bumper guards. The cooling slots on the side below the doors and the chrome borders below the body edge were eliminated. The windscreen was more angular. The model went through three series with minor alterations and improvements.



This Autobianchi Special Cabriolet is fitted with the Fiat 500 Sport motor introduced in 1959. This motor was bored out from 479 cubic centimeters to 499 cubic centimeters, and the compression ratio was increased from 7:1 to 8.6:1, giving a useful boost in horsepower from 21 SAE horsepower to 25 SAE horsepower. Top speed rose from the sedan’s 56 mph to 65 mph.



The cabriolet third series finished in 1968. The convertible (a coupe with roll-back roof) continued to be manufactured until 1970, while the sedan and station wagon ran until 1969. Notably, the special cabriolet, as demonstrated here, is rarer and, perhaps, even more attractive than the coupe.

Addendum

Please note that the ID number for this vehicle is 007191.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more