1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Sedan (LHD)
|Body Work||Convertible Sedan|
Italian industrialist Edoardo Bianchi, equally famous for his bicycles and racing motorcycles, returned to automobile production in the late 1950s after a lengthy hiatus, providing upmarket transport aimed squarely at the middle-classes emerging from the ashes of World War Two. Based on the ubiquitous Fiat 500, Autobianchi’s Bianchina debuted to the public at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan on September 16, 1957 initially in Berlina (saloon) guise, followed by Cabriolet, Trasformabile (convertible), Panoramica (station wagon) and Furgoncino (van) versions. Using the 500’s platform, the Bianchina retained the same rear-engined layout, the air-cooled twin tweaked for more power and the Trasformabile, designed by noted industrial designer Luigi Rapi, was finished to a higher standard. The only Autobianchi sold with rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors, the Trasformabile featured a sliding fabric roof perfect for sunny climates. An abundance of chrome and jazzy two-tone paintwork reflected the American influence permeating European design at the time and the Bianchina remains a stylish, chic machine today. Sold in three distinct series – first (1957-1958), second (1959-1960) with more power and third (1961-1962) with the larger 499cc engine - an estimated 10,000 Trasformabiles were built in total but only a handful have ever reached Australia.