From October 21st to 24th, the 2021 edition of “Auto e Moto d’Epoca” will be taking place at Fiera di Padova. The biggest event in Italy for classic motoring enthusiasts, it boasts 115,000 m2 of exhibition space, over 5,000 vintage cars and more than 1,600 exhibitors. The motor show in the Veneto region is also the largest market in Europe for the sales of vintage cars and motorcycles, original spare parts and automobilia collectibles.
One of the big names at the event will be the Stellantis Heritage department. Since 2015, its main task has been to retrieve, protect and enhance the tremendous historical heritage of the Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth brands, specifically in terms of the fleet of the more than 600 vintage cars that it owns. Direct from its priceless collection come three of the five classic models on display: the Fiat X1/23 prototype, the first electric city car prototype ever; the style model of the Abarth 1000 SP, a contemporary interpretation of the iconic 1966 Sport Prototipo; and the Fiat-Abarth 850 TC, the first Abarth to take on the initials that stand for Turismo Competizione.
Curiosity abounds over the juxtaposition of the 1974 Fiat X1/23 prototype and the New (500)RED: the iconic 500, electric and electric alone, created as a result of the collaboration between Fiat and (RED). Aimed at disseminating the shared message of care for the environment, for the planet and for its people, it was unveiled a few weeks ago at an exclusive event on the roof of the Lingotto complex in Turin. The evocative pairing of these two models – both with a red livery – is a true representation of “back to the future”, recalling 50 years of Fiat piloting of electric vehicles, specifically designed to promote electric mobility. After all, Fiat has always been at the forefront of world research into innovative and sustainable solutions.
Also in the spotlight are two classic cars owned by private collectors – a 1991 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione and a 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce. Just like the Fiat-Abarth 850 TC mentioned above, these two models have been meticulously restored by the experts at the Officine Classiche, the restoration and certification workshop at the Stellantis Heritage department. Work was done on the cars in their entirety, from the body and interiors to the mechanics and instruments, taking advantage of synergies with a wide range of technical departments at the Mirafiori plant.
Alongside the Delta Integrale, visitors to the motor show can also admire the bumpers and a selection of steel panels, reproduced specifically for this iconic Lancia model as part of “Heritage Parts”, a joint project between Heritage and Mopar® that offers a range of original spare parts for vintage cars. Essential to safeguard the collectible and financial value of classic cars, the spare parts can be purchased from the official sales network or online, from the Mopar® e-store.
Last but not least, the exhibition is rounded off with the exclusive Abarth 595 Competizione, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the initials ‘TC’, that made their debut in 1961 on the Fiat-Abarth 850. Today, the same historical denominations – Turismo and Competizione – are the hallmarks of two versions of the new Abarth 595, the Scorpion brand icon that perfectly embodies the brand’s two souls: style and performance.
Abarth 1000 SP (2009): a name that still makes the hearts of fans of the Scorpion brand miss a beat
Rightly considered a milestone in Abarth’s competitive history, in terms of style, performance and victories, the 1966 Abarth 1000 Sport Prototipo was a lightweight and powerful spider. Only a limited number of units were built, and would come in victorious all over Europe, helping to spread the brand’s fame.
A legendary car that has continued to inspire the designers at the Centro Stile Fiat & Abarth, so much so that its successor was designed in 2009. In turn, in 2021 – exactly 55 years after the debut of the historic model – the project was redeveloped and refined, resulting in the Abarth 1000 SP: a contemporary reinterpretation of the iconic 1960s Sport Prototipo medium-sized sports car, with an eye-catching silhouette and essential lines.
The presentation of this car aroused a great deal of curiosity, persuading the company to produce it in a very limited edition and to collect expressions of interest in purchasing one, right at “Auto e Moto d’Epoca”. For the first time, visitors to the Padua motor show can admire the style model of the modern 1000 SP, made in 2009 to be fully in line with the design of the original car, and to ensure continuity between the ’60s sports car and the concept car of the new millennium. Specifically, three fundamental design principles were respected, all previously seen in its forerunner. First and foremost, the lightness of its forms, its volumes and of course its weight. The second principle is aerodynamics: modern design technologies have made it possible to combine the iconic lines of the 1000 SP with an aerodynamic coefficient worthy of a contemporary sports car. Finally, ergonomics, aimed at improving the user experience, to optimize the vehicle’s control and agile driveability.
The Abarth 1000 SP also echoes the lines and aesthetics characteristic of the 1960s sports car. The sinuous body, with the soft surfaces of the fenders highlighting the position of the wheels, takes up the pattern of the spider with a central engine.
The rear geometries of the Abarth 1000 SP accentuate the ideal harmony between the lights and the exhaust pipes. The livery is strictly red and the characteristic air intakes appear all over, from the front bonnet to the cooling slots in its rear counterpart. The headlights also follow the minimalist scheme of the historic 1000 SP, with point lights on the nose and a single pair of round headlights to accentuate the car’s remarkable breadth when seen from behind. The Abarth 1000 SP thus maintains a very similar identity to its forerunner’s, courtesy of the meticulous work to update the historic, uncompromising Abarth 1000 SP.
The Fiat X1/23 prototype (1974), the first electric city car ever
Unveiled at the 1972 Turin Motor Show as a pilot project for a city car, the X1/23 was developed as a prototype equipped with an electric powertrain and lead-acid battery in 1974, almost 40 years in advance of the boom in electric vehicles. From a formal perspective, the bodywork featured minimal overhangs and a singular arched profile that incorporated the cockpit. A sturdy tubular section element framed the headlights and ran along the sides, acting as bumpers.
2.642 m long, 1.510 m wide and 1.340 m high, the design of the little compact two-seater city car was essential even in the interior – created according to ergonomic criteria and free of components that could potentially cause injury. The standouts included the characteristic single-spoke steering wheel, an instrument panel with all the main controls, and a large shelf under the windshield; the seats were made of a shell in synthetic material.
Conceived as a crushproof cage, the body of the prototype included strengthened doors to absorb any side impacts and large windows to ensure visibility in all directions. As the windows could not be wound down, it came with an air conditioning system for ventilation.
The Fiat X1/23 prototype was equipped with a small 13.5-hp engine – to propel the front wheels, powered by nickel-zinc batteries in the rear. The maximum speed was just over 70 km/h, with a range of 50 km on one full charge.
The Fiat-Abarth 850 TC (1964), at the origins of the Scorpion brand legend
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Fiat-Abarth 850 TC, the first Scorpion car marked “Turismo Competizione” and one of Carlo Abarth’s most famous creations. In 1961, he transformed a quiet family car into a manageable, lightweight and fast racing car that won numerous European competitions.
These were the years of the economic miracle, when Fiat took Italy onto the road with the 500 and 600. In both of these models, Carlo Abarth succeeded in producing manageable, high-performance cars that thrashed their competitors on European tracks, contributing to the establishment of the legend of the Scorpion brand. In February 1961, the brand’s founder made one of the most fortunate transformations in his career: the Fiat-Abarth 850 TC.
He took as a starting point the Fiat 600 D, fitted with a 767-cc 4-cylinder in-line engine, raising the bore to 62.5 mm, the stroke to 69 mm, and the displacement to 847 cc. The new pistons increased the compression ratio to 9:2:1 and – courtesy of the adoption of a new, more powerful camshaft, a 32-mm Solex carburetor, a new air filter, a different crankshaft, and an exhaust suitable for sports use – the engine achieved 52 hp at 5,800 rpm. The souped-up car could reach 140 km/h, so work was necessary on the braking system, where discs replaced the drums on the front wheels. The Abarth-tuned 600 would also soon be altered in its appearance: under – then in place of – the front bumper came the oil radiators; then to cool the increasingly powerful engine further, the tailgate was kept in a raised position using brackets, foreshadowing what would become the rear spoiler, another typical feature of the barnstorming Abarth.
Successes on the track followed soon after, especially in the endurance races that emphasized the performance of the 850 TC and its further evolutions, such as the 1000 and the Radiale, but also the reliability of the skillful work done by Abarth. As well as all the sporting prizes it won, the Abarth 850 TC was also praised for the elegance of its interior, featuring a Jaeger dashboard and three-spoke aluminum steering wheel.
From an industrial point of view, the construction of the 850 TC was made possible through the agreement with Fiat that provided for the production of a number of 600 D models specifically intended for the Abarth workshops on Corso Marche in Turin, where they were tuned up.
In particular, the model on display at this show was produced in April 1964 and has its own special history. The car actually belonged to the Guardia di Finanza (the Italian financial police), which used it to reconnoiter its prevention of and crackdown on smuggling. The vehicle was acquired by Heritage in “barn find” condition, so it required lengthy and laborious restoration, carried out at the Officine Classiche on the bodywork, mechanics, interior and instruments. To make the most of the restoration, the 850 TC is on display as a work in progress, showing parts normally hidden from view on which significant work has been done.
The refurbished Officine Classiche, where legendary vintage models are reborn
Late 2020 witnessed the inauguration of the new Officine Classiche – the Heritage restoration and certification workshop – where some of the services most valued by vintage car enthusiasts are carried out.
Expanded and completely refreshed in their external appearance and spatial layout, the Officine Classiche are an undisputed flagship for Stellantis’ Italian arm, and form an integral part of a much broader platform that offers educational, sports and cultural services and activities, designed and coordinated by Heritage at its Hub in Turin, an innovative headquarters set up within the historic Mirafiori industrial complex in 2019.
Let’s return to the refurbished Officine Classiche. Opened in 2015 on the former site of Mirafiori Workshop 83 on Via Plava, Turin, they now occupy a surface area of approximately 6,000 m2 – compared to the original 900 m2, and are equipped with 12 hoists, specific machine tools and a line for highly accurate finishes, which includes a cabin specially designed for the painting of individual components. The workshop interior was laid out and the equipment was selected in conjunction with specialists from Mopar®.
This is where all repair, restoration and certification operations are carried out on vintage Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth cars, belonging both to individuals and to the priceless Heritage collection. In total, from 2015 to date, dozens of restorations have taken place and around 500 certifications have been issued to car owners all over the world: from Japan to the U.S., from Costa Rica to Thailand, all the way to the Caribbean island of Antigua.
The accuracy and fidelity of each intervention is guaranteed by the use of the original production data and technical drawings of every model, kept in the company archives, and also by the unique experience of the FCA Heritage team of specialists. Indeed, the same team that cares for the company’s vintage collection is also available to private customers, with services ranging from simple maintenance to comprehensive restoration: from diagnosis and exterior restoration to repairs of individual mechanical and aesthetic components, all the way to complete final testing. The Officine Classiche also play host to work on “Certification of Authenticity”. After a detailed analysis of the classic car in question, and once the manufacturing data and technical specifications have been checked in the company archives, Heritage certifies the authenticity of the vintage car, thus raising its value. The certification process requires that each car goes through a rigorous control and evaluation process carried out by the in-house team of experts, carefully checking its authenticity and its components, and the functioning of the main mechanical parts. Certification of Authenticity is available for classic models from the Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth brands and – if the customer prefers – the analysis of the car can also be performed at the owner’s home or at one of the Heritage Points, located at the Motor Villages in Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Arese, Palermo and Rome.
“Heritage Parts”: an even wider-ranging line of spare parts for classic cars
One of the most fascinating Heritage projects is clearly “Heritage Parts”, the joint project between Heritage and Mopar® that offers collectors and owners a selection of original spare parts for vintage cars. Launched in late 2019, the scheme began with front and rear bumpers for the Lancia Delta HF Integrale and Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione, then continued with front and rear bumpers for the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, steel panels and a practical car care set with special products to take care of vintage cars.
The uniqueness of the “Heritage Parts” line lies in its ability to use original molds and materials, jealously guarded within the Group, guaranteeing the highest quality and the perfect fit for spare parts, as well as ensuring the cars can take to the road in full compliance with current type-approval regulations.
To follow the success of the first products it launched onto the market last May, “Heritage Parts” has expanded its offer with 7 specific steel panels for the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione: the bonnet, fenders and door panels thus become an integral part of the catalog of official spare parts for classic cars. The steel panels are produced using a mold obtained from a “reverse engineering” process, optimized with scans of the Lancia Delta HF Integral Evoluzione model belonging to the Heritage historical collection. The material used is low-carbon steel: the same alloy as the original component, improved with additional galvanization.
On top of these reproduced spare parts, many other original components have now joined the catalog. Available in limited numbers and subject to availability, they are intended for the Alfa Romeo GTV/Spider, GT, 147, 156, Brera, and Fiat Coupé and Barchetta models. More specifically, electronic control units, steering wheels, instruments and body parts, with bumpers, fenders, doors, tailgates, bonnets and model markings among them. All these spare parts are vital to safeguard the collectible and financial value of these “young-timer” cars. Given their limited availability, they could also become valuable investments for the future.
Products in the “Heritage Parts” line can be ordered from the Stellantis Authorized Network, or online from the Mopar® e-store.