The brand no longer exists, but the cars still linger in our collective memory. Not all that strange if you look at these two lovely examples. We are talking Autobianchi, that sadly ‘passed away’ in 1996.
In Dutch we have a saying that says where two religions share one pillow, there must be a pact with the devil. A saying that surely doesn’t reflect on Jan and Trudy, since they both drive an Autobianchi. Lets start this story with the lady of the manors’ Bianchina. What is it a lady does when she owns a car like this? Exactly, she accessorises. For Trudy this means she wears matching dresses whenever she takes the Bianchina out for a spin. Something that truly makes for a perfect picture.
The introduction of the Bianchina in 1957 roughly corresponds with the take-over of Autobianchi by the Fiat conglomerate. The manufacturer from Milan had been building bicycles and small cars under the Bianchi name (from founder Edoardo Bianchi) until 1938. World war 2 meant the end for the factory. In 1955 Pirelli and Fiat decide to revive the brand, this time as Autobianchi. At that time the development of the all new Fiat 500 is nearly completed, making it the ideal base for the Bianchina. Production capacity of the plant in Desio is limited, but Fiat simply prices the Bianchina into a more expensive car to emphasize on sale of the 500. Nevertheless the Bianchina sells reasonably well. In later years more body styles appear, of which the Bianchina convertible is just one example.
At the end of the sixties Autobianchi presents their successor for the Bianchina at the Turin Motorshow. It’s the A112, the Italian answer to the ever popular Mini Cooper. The A112 is relatively successful and remains in production until the mid eighties. By then the car has a reputation as a hot hatch with great handling. Alas, as so many cars of its era, it is very prone to rust, leaving very few survivors for us to enjoy today.
Jan’s A112 is such a lucky survivor. The car is very well preserved, something that does take quite some effort, but Jan loves to tinker about on his little car. Just like he does with the pristine Bianchina of his spouse. He refers to his own car as a ‘kart’, whereas Trudy refers to hers as a cutie that is lovely to drive. This way they both have got exactly what they desire. Ain’t that just marvelous?
Rob de Boer