|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 2279cc|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual (see text)|
Fiat’s stylish 2300 is an all but forgotten Italian GT car from the early 1960s, featuring elegant styling by Ghia’s stylist Tom Tjaarda, better known for the later Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 (which shares many of the same design cues) and De Tomaso Pantera. Hugely expensive when new, the Fiat used a modified platform derived from its 2100 saloon siblings and shared that car’s running gear, albeit tweaked by Abarth for stronger performance. Designed by former Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi, the short stroke 2279cc six-cylinder was breathed on with a more aggressive camshaft profile, 9.3:1 compression ratio and either a single twin-choke downdraught carburettor or, in the case of the 2300S, a pair of twin-choke Weber 38 DCOE carburettors, mated to a four-speed gearbox. Stiffer dampers and an anti-roll bar firmed up the suspension and improved the Fiat’s handling, while Girling disc brakes all round proved more than adequate at arresting the stylish Fiat’s pace. The 2300’s two-plus-two cabin is a quality affair more reminiscent of Aston Martin or Maserati, from the Nardi wood-rimmed steering wheel to full instrumentation. The luxurious cockpit features comfortable bucket seats and full carpeting, while the boot was decently sized as well. Sometimes described as a ‘poor man’s Ferrari’, the 2300 remained in production from 1961 until 1968 and roughly 7,000 examples were built. However the number of cars to reach Australia is tiny due to the high price - it was more expensive here than an E-type Jaguar when new – and so locally delivered examples rarely come on the market. With prices of its contemporaries now all pushing (or well beyond) six figure sums, the Fiat remains one of the last affordable Sixties GT cars and offers superb value for money in today’s market.