Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 24-25, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
With its almost-Porsche-like looks, this Patriarca 750 Berlina is one of many specials built on the backs of small Fiat road cars. Post War Italy didn’t have an economy to support a lot of fancy car sales, so companies like Fiat focused on small, affordable cars for the masses.
But that doesn’t mean Italians still didn’t love motorsport. So people like Rodolfo Patriarca and Carlo Abarth took to modifying these cars for sport. This car was based on a Fiat 500C and has an 81 horsepower, 750cc straight-four tuned for racing by Giannini.
Built by Patriarca for gentleman driver Sesto Leonardi, the competition history for this car includes:
1950 Targa Florio – 3rd in class
1950 Mille Miglia – 1st in class
It continued to race through 1953, with at least one more appearance at the Mille Miglia. It’s wonderfully restored and eligible for many historic events. You can read more here and see more from RM here.
Fiat never built a car called the “750” but they did build one called the 600. Produced from 1955 through 1969, it was visually similar to the classic 500, but with a larger engine. There was also the van-like Multipla version, which was the basis for some wild designs. The normal 600 was also used as the basis for some cool coachbuilt cars. Fun fact, there was a version of the 600 called the “750” – but it was only produced by Zastava in Yugoslavia.
Vignale took the sort of tiny, round 600 and enlarged the engine to 750cc. In this guise, the straight-four probably made more power than the original 633cc engine. The body is the star here, though. It’s very stylish, sort of a mini-coupe that doesn’t resemble the base car at all. Vignale also built a two-door sedan and a convertible.
As far as production numbers go, there may have been as many as 40,000 750 Vignales built. That seems like quite a few, but then again Fiat built 2,695,197 600s in total, so it’s kind of a drop in the bucket. This one shows nice and it is completely usable. It should bring between $13,000-$15,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
The Giannini brothers opened a garage in 1885 and started servicing Itala cars in 1922. Shortly thereafter they got involved with racing which led them to a profitable business (that an offshoot of still exists today) wrenching on Fiats.
In the 1940s, the Giannini brothers were building some really solid engines. In fact, they set world speed records in a Fiat Topolino using their know-how. The car you see here was actually built by the Benedetti brothers of Florence and was bodied by Carrozzeria Lotti of the same town. The car was originally based around a Fiat 1100, but later the engine was swapped for a Giannini 750cc straight-four.
This car has period race history, including:
1952 Mille Miglia – 125th (with Carlo Chiti and a co-driver named Cioni)
The current owner has had this car since the early 1990s. It’s certainly one of a kind and even its name had to be created in order to tell what it is. It’s been completely restored and is likely eligible for historic events. It should bring between $270,000-$320,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Coys | Nurburgring, Germany | August 10, 2013
Moretti built a number of small sports cars using a 750cc engine. This is one of them – but it seems like everyone I come across has a different body on it. The body here was evidently designed by Giovanni Michelotti. I’m not sure who built it. It kind of resembles a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa – or at least that’s what I can see inspiring it. “Bialbero” refers to the engine being a “twin cam.”
1953 was Moretti’s first go at racing. Since the 750 was the larger of the two engines they used in their cars, it was a natural fit for the race tracks. This car was owned by the French importer for Moretti who raced it a little bit in Venezuela (where he was from), but he preferred Ferraris and saved them for the big events, like Le Mans.
He sold it to one of his countrymen, who raced it until 1960. The car returned to Europe in the 1980s when it was restored and it was restored again a few years ago. Morettis are rare, but this is probably the only one bodied like this (just guessing). It should sell for between $315,000-$370,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Coys nice auction lineup.
Offered by RM Auctions | Lake Como, Italy | May 25, 2013
Photo – RM Auctions
Turn-based Moretti built sports cars of their own design in the 1950s before moving on to becoming a specialist at re-bodying Fiats in the 60s, 70s and 80s before calling it quits in 1989.
The 750 was introduced for 1953. Giovanni Moretti wanted to build serious sports cars for competition and the 750cc straight-four in this car was the company’s ticket to its cars winning races in the hands of its customers. The 750 Sport was the base model of the 750 line, the Gran Sport being a lightweight version and they only ended up building a handful of Grand Sports between 1953 and 1954 – less than 25.
The body is by Michelotti. The other thing the Gran Sport (sometimes written as “Grand Sport”) has over its sibling other than lightness, is a little more power – a total of about 65 horsepower. It’ll do about 100 mph too. It’s tiny and it’s quick. And it’s apparently also sporting near-bicycle-like tires.
RM Auctions actually sold this exact car at their Monaco sale back in 2010, where it brought $151,200. The market is stronger now than it was then, so we’ll see what it brings this time around. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at Villa Erba.