1952 FAM Cabriolet Prototype
Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | August 16, 2020
Giuseppe Benelli, he of later motorcycle fame, joined forced with Giuseppe Beretta, he of gun fame, to move into automobile territory to help rebuild their respective companies. Benelli was actually in the firearm business at that point in time, and both men’s companies suffered after WWII.
Benelli designed the chassis, and the two men teamed up with Viscount Guglielmo Castelbarco Albani to form BBC. Benelli’s design featured a 21-horsepower, 750cc V-twin mounted ahead of the front wheels. It was air-cooled and drove the front wheels. The perfect economy car for a struggling post-war Italian economy. It could hit 63 mph, and that car still exists today in the Beretta museum.
Beretta bailed on the project shortly after it was built to return his focus on guns. Benelli soldiered on and built two more cars under the name FAM (Factory Auto Motoveicoli). The prototype, this car, debuted at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. Both cars still exist – sort of. One is a bare chassis with an engine. It’s in pretty sad shape; one of the wheels is plywood.
The other has no engine but has the body, as shown above. Both are offered here together as part of Bonhams Bicester motorcycle sale. The pre-sale estimate is $10,000-$18,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.