FIAT 1500 Cabriolet Model HistoryFIAT (Originally an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino) started building passenger cars in Turin, Italy in 1899. Over the next century, they grew immensely, branching out into many other industries, inluding trains, planes, marine engines, and civil engineering projects. Through a series of acquisitions and partnershops, they grew their market by manufacturing and selling cars in many other countries, around the world.
During the 60s they were the 4th or 5th largest car maker, behind the “Big Three” of Detroit. FIAT’s bread and butter has always been economy family cars. However there have always been sportier cars in the model lineup as well. At various times in its life, FIAT has had active racing programs.
The type 118 cabriolet cars was the result of a joint venture with the design studio Pininfarina (well known for their work with Ferrari). The mechanicals were adapted from FIAT’s popular 1300/1500 family sedan, and the bodies were built at Pininfarina.
The result was an inexpensive but sporty roadster that was well-regarded by reviewers of the time. In general, these cars were not particularly fast, but handled well and had style to spare. (For those looking for more performance, the 1500S and 1600S, with exotic OSCA twin-cam engines, were also available.)
The history of the type 118 FIAT cabriolets of the 60s can be tracked to the type 103 FIAT “Nuova 1100” sedans, first introduced in 1953.
Here is a timeline of these models up to the 1500 Cabriolet:
|FIAT||1100||103||1089cc||36 (41) @ 4400||1953-1956||picture|
|FIAT||1100 Familiare||103||1089cc||36 (41) @ 4400||1954-1956||picture|
|FIAT||1100 TV (Turismo Veloce)||103||1089cc||50 (55) @ 5400||1954-1956|
|Pininfarina||1100 TV Coupe||103||1089cc||50 (55) @ 5400||?||picture|
|FIAT||1100 TV Trasformabile||103||1089cc||50 (55) @ 5400||1955-1956 (571 total)||picture|
|FIAT||1100 (Saloon, Familiare)||103 E||1089cc||40 (45) @ 4400||1956-1957 (115,000 total)|
|FIAT||1100 TV (Turismo Veloce)||103 E||1089cc||56 (61) @ 5200||1956-1957|
|FIAT||1100 TV Trasformabile||103 E||1089cc||56 (61) @ 5200||1956-1957 (450 total)|
|FIAT||1100||103 D||1089cc||43 (48) @ 4800||1958-1960 (150,000 total)||picture|
|FIAT||1200 “Gran Luce”||103 G||1221cc||58 (63) @ 5300||1958-1960 (400,000 total)||picture, picture|
|FIAT||1200 Trasformabile||103 G||1221cc||58 (63) @ 5300||1957-1959 (2360 total)|
|FIAT||1100 De Luxe (Lusso)||103 H||1089cc||50 (55) @ 5300||1959-1960 (227,000 total)||picture|
|FIAT||1100 (Export, Speciale)||103 H||1089cc||55 @ 5200||1960-1962 (272,067 total)||picture, picture|
|FIAT||1100D (saloon, famliare)||1100D||1221cc||55 @ 5800||1962-1966 (332,000 total)||picture|
|FIAT||1100R (saloon, famliare)||1100R||1089cc||53 @ 5200||1966-1969 (341,000 total)||picture|
|FIAT||1300/1500 (saloon, famliare, 1500L)||1961-1967|
|FIAT/Pininfarina||1200 Cabriolet||118 G||1221cc||58 (63)||1959-1963 (11,000 total)||picture, more info|
|FIAT/Pininfarina||1500S Cabriolet||118 S||1491cc||80 (90) @ 5800||1959-1962 (80 total)||picture, more info|
|FIAT/Pininfarina||1600S Cabriolet||118 SA||1568cc||1962-1963 (3089 total 1600S)||picture, more info|
|FIAT/Pininfarina||1500 Cabriolet||118 H||1481cc||(80)||1963-1965 ||picture, more info|
|Pininfarina||1500 Coupe||1481cc||1960-1967 (2,210 total)|
|FIAT/Pininfarina||1500 Cabriolet||118 K||1481cc||75 (83)||1965-1966 ||picture, more info|
|FIAT/Pininfarina||1600S Cabriolet||118 SB||1568cc||90 @ 6000||1963-1966 (3089 total 1600S)||picture, more info|
|Pininfarina||1600 Coupe||1568cc||1960-1967 (300 total)|
saloon = sedan estate, familaire, family = wagon trasformabile = convertable 118-cars total production is somewhere between 22,630 (source?) and 47,000 (Sedgewick).
In 1967, the product line began to switch to the 124 platform, with the 124 spider replacing the cabriolets, the 124 sedan replacing the 1300/1500, and the 128 sedan replacing the 1100/1200. These new product lines sustained FIAT through the 70s, until they pulled out of the US market in the early 80s.
In 1962, the 1200 Cabriolet was introduced. This car shares much of the drivetrain and suspension design with the 1200 sedan, introduced
The front suspension and engine arrangement is quite familiar, using the same basic subframe layout.
Sloniger. FIAT Guide. New York: Sports Car Press, 1960.
Norbye, Jan P. The New FIAT Guide. New York: Sports Car Press, 1969.