Automobili Giannini, a name that brings back memories. Memories of highly tuned little racing monsters. Authentic Roman chariots of fire, growling like wild animals.
The CineCars community being able of accomplishing great things is no longer a big surprise, this we learned during the making of Le Pantere della Polizia Italiana, our first real documentary. The making of such a movie leading to new contact and leads did surprise us. Although not really. That’s just the way these things go. During the making of ‘Le Pantere’ FCA Nederland provided us with a very nice Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde to transport our gear. When Angelo van Schaik went to pick it up on a derelict industrial estate somewhere on the outskirts of Rome, he found himself at Giannini Automobili. Yes, the same Giannini Automobili that rocked the sixties with the most extremely tuned little Fiats. Coincidences like this just cry out for a CineCars portrait. So here it is, the CineCars film debut of our very own correspondent in Rome.
In the sixties of last century Italy counted two tuning companies seriously involved in tuning very ordinary cars. Usually, how could it not be, Fiat based. Nowadays Abarth is the better known party, mainly thru its direct link with Fiat, arch rival Giannini used to be the fastest in the day. Their race monsters based on Fiats little 500 were legendary in Italy and far beyond. This was the stuff Italian boys dreamt of. The example pimply young men modelled their first car after. Using affordable parts from Giannini’s tuning offer, trying to meet the original as closely as even possible within their means. An entire generation grew up with the Giannini name and the deep growl of that potent little air-cooled straight twin.
In the anonymous workshop of Giannini Automobili the colourful racing livery of the Giannini 590 GT’s stick out to the mainly grey mass of modern Fiats and Chryslers that keeps the company going. Yet we are here for these fat little flies, these potent little bombs that tickle our imagination. Now as they did then. It trembles, it crackles and growls away nicely. It doesn’t take any effort to understand the enthousiasm of the Giannini people. These little cars will charm even the biggest critic effortlessly. Two beefy carburettors, an open air filter, special cooling, exhaust and so on. The Giannini pack maken an ordinary ‘Cinquecento’ in to a very fast and potent car. We skip on the belittling of the car, a Giannini has to be taken in account seriously.
Of course the glory days of Giannini as a tuning company are way behind us, still like the company itself the dream is still very much alive. Giannini Automobili still owns the right to build these little Fiats under their own name. There are bodies, parts a plenty and foremost, the current owners at Giannini are very determined to bring new life to the entire project. An intention we can’t but celebrate.
Marc GF Zaan