Fiat 1100-103 Sport Abarth by Boano

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1100-103 Sport Abarth by Boano





In 1953, the 1100 was completely redesigned as a compact four-door sedan, with a modern monocoque bodywork and integrated fenders and front lights. The new model was called the 1100/103 after its project number, and was offered (as usual at that time) in two different versions: "economica" (cheaper) and "normale" (standard). In October 1953, the car became available in a sporty version, the 1100TV (Turismo Veloce) with a third light in the middle of the grille and 51 PS (38 kW) rather than the 36 PS (26 kW) of the regular versions. It was also available in station-wagon version, with a side-hinged fifth door at the back.

Stanguellini, best known for its Fiat-based front-engined Formula Junior single-seaters, had its roots in pre-war European racing and became closely associated with the Fiat brand, thanks to constant modification and tuning on Fiat engines. While most efforts focused on competition applications, a limited number of road cars also bore the Stanguellini badge.

Nuccio Bertone's rise to the forefront of the Bertone organization was cemented in 1954 with the introduction of his sensational Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint at that year's Turin Motor Show. Bertone's association with that marque had attracted international attention with the first of the aerodynamically styled, visually sensational Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica (BAT) show cars, the Alfa Romeo BAT 5, introduced in 1953. This series would see a further two cars, the BAT 7 and BAT 9, introduced in 1954 and 1955, respectively.

In March 1955, the 1100/103 Trasformabile, a two-seater roadster, was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. Equipped with the mechanics from the 1100TV, the American-inspired design was the work of the special bodies division of Fiat (Sezione Carrozzerie Speciali). 571 of these first series Trasformabiles were built. In 1956 it received a more powerful engine (three more horsepower) and a modified rear suspension; 450 more of these were built. From 1957 the Trasformabile was equipped with the more powerful 55 PS (40 kW) "1200" engine (1,221 cc). Production of this model continued until 1959, with circa 2,360 of the 1.2 liter Trasformabiles built.The 1.2 also received slight changes to the front and rear design, with bigger headlights being the most noticeable difference. Carrozzeria Pininfarina had been offered its own two-door coupé on the 1100 TV. The car was first displayed at the 1953 Paris Salon, and the famed Italian coachbuilder would go on to build some 780 examples over the next three years. From around 1955 Pininfarina's graceful and well proportioned TV coupé featured a wraparound rear window (as seen on this example) similar to that found on some of the Carrozzeria's Ferraris of the time.

Between 1956 and 1960, the new 1100 underwent several slight changes in fittings and details, e.g. newly designed grille, more rectangular profile, dual color dressing, and eventually small fintails with spear-shaped backlights. A special version, the 1100 Granluce (i.e. "Large light"), no longer with rear-hinged-doors, launched in 1959, had both fintails and wider windows. As an option it could be fitted with a new powerful 1221 cc engine.

The Fiat 1100/103 was imported and sold by Premier Automobiles Limited (PAL). The older model was known as the Millecento and the one with the center light on the front grille as the Elegant. In 1958, the fintail model was introduced as the Select. It was followed by the Super Select in 1961. By 1964, the 1100D was introduced and it was assembled in India by PAL. This model has most of the parts manufactured locally. In India it was considered a sportier alternative than the Hindustan Ambassador.

Utilizing highly tuned mechanicals from a Fiat 1100 and a unique sheet-steel platform chassis, Abarth contracted the newly incorporated Carrozzeria Boano of Turin to craft the aluminum coachwork. Using a striking asymmetrical design penned by Giovanni Michelotti, the spider departed from styling norms of the period with knife-edged aerodynamics and low-slung flanks. A visual sensation in its day, it remains one of the most beautiful designs ever applied to a sports racing car.

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