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Posts Tagged ‘Autobianchi’

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Originally called Bianchi and founded in 1899, the company made vehicles for 56 years – big cars, tanks (during the war) and, from 1939, trucks with Mercedes engines. Bianchi was based in Milan. In January 1955 it merged with Pirelli and Fiat to become Autobianchi SpA and produce Fiat 500-based small cars. The attractively-styled Bianchina Transformabile made its debut in September 1957 in Milan.

In 1958 it was given a stronger engine and became available as a saloon, coupe, convertible and estate. In the same year Bianchi sold its shares to its partners, Fiat and Pirelli. In 1960 just over 30,000 of these little Italian cars were built.

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In the same year, Autobianchi introduced at the Geneva Salon, the prettiest model of this series, the Bianchina Special Convertible, a little luxury car, with lots of chrome trim and attractive interior fittings. The indicators were fitted separately below the headlights (not on the bumper guards). The radiator changed and two sweeping ornamental moldings decorated both sides. The cooling slots on the side behind the doors and the chrome borders below the body edge were eliminated. The windscreen was more angular.

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The convertible continued to be manufactured until 1970 while the saloon and estate were manufactured until 1969. Today the name lives on in the Lancia Y 10, a name that has dominated Autobianchi since 1975. The Y10 is one of the most elegant -though not cheapest- series of small cars.

The Autobianchi Special Cabriolet has the Fiat 500 Sport motor and is rarer and, perhaps, even more attractive than the coupe.

Text and images from “The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

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NSU started out as a manufacturer of knitting machines in 1873. Then came bicycles, and not only complete bikes, but also parts for other companies. At that point the name NSU was created, just taking three letters from the name Neckarsulm, the town they were located in. In 1905, the first NSU cars were built, and some were even used (succesfully) in racing.

In the 1928, the manufacturing of cars was stopped. Fiat acquired the rights to the NSU name from a company which had run into severe financial difficulties.

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The FIAT company "NSU Automobil AG" started building NSU cars again in 1957, at the same time the then called NSU Werke AG did the same with the (then) new Prinz. This lead to much confusion, and in 1959, the FIAT cars where marked NSU/FIAT.  In 1960 the NSU company was renamed to "NSU Motorenwerke AG".

Autobianchi was a partnership between the three Italian companies of Bianchi, Fiat, and Pirelli. Utilizing Fiat platforms, they provided the consumer with an upgrade over the basic Fiat models. This equation proved popular as five body styles were made based on the Fiat 500 chassis.

This car was marketed in Germany as the "Panorama Standard" and the "Panorama mit Sonnendach" (with sunroof)

Text and images from “The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

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