1954 FIAT Stanguellini Bertone Berlinetta *071366*. This car is for sale now through Fantasy Junction, but is doing residence at the Petersen Automobile Museum in southern California -worth a visit even if this wasn’t there. If the Sprint and SS have an extended family, this car would be considered an older second cousin, perhaps a first cousin even, and definitely a near sibling of the Sprint and BAT cars. The list of cars Franco Scaglione had a hand in creating is impressive, and includes many of Alfa’s most coveted one-offs, listed one after another (1900L, Sportiva, BAT 5,7,9 etc) and many others like this little guy. Truly art in automotive form. This is a car that demands a place in your house -not your garage. For $295,000 you’ll be in an exclusive club.
This is a beautiful car from some angles and a challenging car from others -but then a lot of Scaglione’s creations are. You have to look at it for a few moments, then remember that this is a hand made car. Panels were hand formed, gas welded together and married to some seed of a FIAT 1100 chassis. Color is great -not a color one would typically associate with Italian sports cars, but common in the palette of early 1950’s Italy.
There is some of the ordinary Giulietta Sprint in here, as well as hints as to where he would go with the SS. There is a good chance this design project and the Giulietta Sprint design project had some overlap. I’m not sure how I feel about the grill area on this. I’d have to spend more time with it in person before I made a firm judgement.
There are three roads to going quicker/faster: decrease weight, increase power and lower drag. Franco Scaglione was a man driven to bring aerodynamics to sports cars -not fake ‘make it look slippery’ shapes, but quantitatively derived bodies systematically developed to lower the drag coefficient. Add to this a performance tuned Fiat 1100 TV based engine from Stanguellini and two thirds of the above recipe for speed would be addressed.
Little fins out back, a split window on a hatch back, faired in tail lamps, vents on the side behind the front wheels -what more could you want?
There must have been a shop in Italy, probably down the street from the Bertone factory, where custom glass could be floated/bent. What are the chances this is the windshield from some other production car?
Neat. Dark gray, burnt orange and yellow never looked so good together. I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to find parts to restore this from since a car like this would be fitted with whatever components Bertone or Fiat had on the shelves that fit the application.
I know some of you are reading this and thinking about the Fiat 1100, and wondering why anyone would start with that engine. Practically speaking, powering your race car with a proven reliable, commonly available and readily serviceable engine makes a lot of sense. This didn’t escape most would-be racers and what today might be called a spec race environment flourished with all manner of Fiat 1100 based cars finding their way onto tracks around Italy in the early 1950’s. Doing a coach built sporty berlinetta with this formula in mind made a lot of sense.
Good grief -look at that steering box placement! This has a variation on the typical hood prop theme. My Sprint and Appia both have similar. Another application for the 40DCO3. This looks perfect to me -not over done but clean and purposeful.
Two of the early Sprint prototypes were hatch backs of this sort. If only… I’m guessing that’s the Stanguellini ‘S’ badge.
Engine number. Not very often you see a body-color engine block.
Even looks petty good under here.
Cars like this are pretty interesting. Imagine the efforts made to bring this from crusty incomplete project to what you see here. I get calls from guys trying to figure out what empty screw holes in their Sprint were for, what the finish on some parts should be, or how I would tackle some tricky task. Who do you call for a car like this?