1951 Fiat 1100ES Coupé Pinin Farina
1951 – Fiat 1100 ES Coupé Pinin Farina
Chassis no. 1100 ES 500435
Engine no. 1100 S 500452
Moroccan registration papers/French registration in progress
- Fewer than 10 surviving examples recorded
- Only 3 owners, clear history
- Eligible for the Mille Miglia and the top concours d’élégance
Immediately after the Second World War, Fiat was in a difficult situation financially. Thanks to the help provided by the Marshall Plan, the factories which had been destroyed during the war were rebuilt and the Turin-based manufacturer returned to a level of production comparable to the 1930s. New models were then introduced, including the Fiat 1100, which was produced in several different versions, among them a rare Coupé designed by Pinin Farina. This was more elegant and more GT-like, with a more luxurious interior and, above all, a well-balanced design which could be mistaken for that of the Lancia Aurelia B20 GT … First shown in 1949, the Fiat Coupé retained the stylish wind-cheating front screen, but was characterized by its slender and more shapely bodywork, which brought to mind the most beautiful Italian coachwork produced by the likes of Maserati, Siata, Stanguellini or Cisitalia. Externally, there was no difference between the S and ES models, but the interior of the S was more basic, while the ES had a better stocked dashboard, a front bench seat in place of two separate seats and even a small bench seat in the rear. Whether you looked at the pushbutton switches, the door trim, quarterlight catches or exterior door handles, Fiat had never demonstrated such refinement down to the smallest detail. A number of prizes gleaned at concours d’élégance moreover rewarded this timeless beauty, of which “officially” 400 examples were produced until 1951.
Today, it is thought that fewer than ten examples of the Fiat 1100 ES Coupé Pinin Farina remain in the world. The model we are presenting at auction today has a quite remarkable history. Chassis no. 500435 left the production line at Lingotto in Turin on 5 June 1950. It was sent to the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina on 5 September before returning to Lingotto for pre-delivery testing. It was then dispatched to the Fiat dealer in Bolzano in north-east Italy, but it evidently did not find a buyer there, as it returned to Turin at the start of 1951, before finally being sent to Morocco on 5 March, to the Afric Auto garage in Casablanca. Only then was it registered for the first time, never having had Italian plates beforehand. Its first owner, however, was very much an Italian, one Noé Cecchetti. Did he drive it in the 6th Morocco Rally that same year? Or had he already sold it to Albert Manarino, who competed in the Casablanca 12 Hours race in 1952?
Based on the information supplied by his friend and mentor Yves Joseph, a discerning collector, the car’s current owner, a Frenchman living in Morocco, discovered it in the mid-1980s. The Fiat had been protected from bad weather and damp in the underground car park of a building in Casablanca, but the local children had used it as their playground! Despite this, the car is complete and “matching numbers”, except for the windows and the wheel trims specific to the model. Undaunted by the work that lay ahead, its owner began to restore it in the mid-1990s, the work extending over 15 years. It should be said that its owner was anything but a beginner, but he lacked the time needed. In his hands, the entire body, chassis and engine were restored. Once the restoration was finished, the car was displayed at the 5th edition of the Gentleman Drivers Awards in Marrakesh in 2017. On this occasion, it received an award from the hands of Paolo Pininfarina himself! An exceedingly rare model, eligible for the Mille Miglia and many other top events, fewer than ten are thought to survive. Beautiful, unusual, “matching numbers” and with a clear history, there can be no doubt that this car is a wonderful discovery …