1971 Autobianchi Giardinera


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1971 Autobianchi Giardiniera Estate Car
Chassis no. 270445

Originally a bicycle manufacturer and arguably best-known as a maker of fine racing motorcycles, Edoardo Bianchi built his first automobile in the early 1900s. A wide variety of models was manufactured over the next 30 years, though by 1940 the firm was concentrating on motorcycles and commercial vehicles. Car manufacture resumed in 1957 under FIAT auspices, Autobianchi's debut model being the Bianchina, based on FIAT's new 500. Positioned up-market from the FIAT, the Bianchina debuted as the Transformabile coupe, with full-length folding sunroof, and showed clear signs of American influence, its size excepted, exemplified by two-tone paintwork, whitewall tyres and plentiful chromework. In 1960 the newly introduced and more powerful FIAT 500D engine became standard equipment on the Bianchina range which was augmented by two new models: a Cabriolet and the Panoramica estate car that used the FIAT Giardiniera's space-saving horizontally-opposed engine. A fourth version, the Quattroposti saloon, arrived the following year.

FIAT had added the Giardiniera (gardener) estate car to its Nuova 500 range in the spring of 1960. Built on a longer wheelbase than the saloon, the Giardiniera featured a single side-hinged rear door and carried its engine horizontally beneath the rear load platform, thus increasing luggage space. Testing a Giardiniera in 1961, Autocar was mightily impressed: "The Italians match their affinity with micro-motoring to a happy flair for making little cars really well, and within the limitations of its body dimensions and engine power the Giardiniera is a real masterpiece." The miniature station wagon was found capable of carrying four adults and 127kg of luggage (alternatively, one adult and 200kg) while returning impressive fuel economy. The maximum speed achieved was exactly 60mph (96.5km/h). From the spring of 1968, Giardiniera production was transferred to Autobianchi, finally ceasing in 1977.

First registered n Modena, Italy, this charming Giardiniera was restored in 2010 and is described by the vendor as in excellent condition throughout. The car is offered with the original owner's manual and service/guarantee document, ACI papers, Belgian Carte Grise (historic), Belgian Contrôle Technique, and its original Italian libretto.