BK Micro Car Collection BK GROUP - Helsinki
Founded by Edoardo Bianchi in 1885

Autobianchi Bianchina

Cabriolet - 1963

Autobianchi was an Italian automobile manufacturer,

created jointly by Bianchi, Pirelli and Fiat in 1955.

Autobianchi    produced    only    a    handful    of    models    during    its    lifetime,    which    were    almost exclusively   small   cars,   with   the   biggest   being   the   short-lived   Autobianchi   A111,   a   small   family car. Autobianchis   were   priced   higher   than   Fiat   models   of   similar   size   and   the   brand   was   used   by Fiat   to   test   new   and   innovative   concepts   which   later   found   their   way   into   mainstream   Fiat vehicles; these concepts included fibreglass bodies and front-wheel drive. The   most   famous Autobianchi   models   include   the A112   released   in   1969,   a   small   hatchback   very popular   in   Italy   for   racing,   and   which   ceased   production   in   1986;   as   well   as   the   Y10,   which   was the   first   car   to   use   Fiat's   new   FIRE   (Fully   Integrated   Robotised   Engine).   The   Primula   was   the   car with   which   Fiat   introduced   the   particular   front-wheel   drive   arrangement   of   engine,   transmission and   differential   (final   drive)   that   has   become   prevalent   in   its   cars   today. This   car   competed   with the Innocenti-built Mini, which was the inspiration for the drivetrain layout. Autobianchi   was   bought   by   the   Fiat   group   and   integrated   into   the   operations   of   Lancia.   The marque   survived   in   Italy   until   the   end   of   the   Y10's   production   in   1995,   but   became   extinct elsewhere when the model was rebranded as a Lancia in 1989.


Bianchi,   founded   by   Edoardo   Bianchi   in   1885   and   now   remembered   primarily   as   a   bicycle manufacturer,   was   also   active   in   passenger   car   manufacturer   from   1899.   Bianchis   were   in general   high-end   luxury   cars,   made   with   high   attention   to   detail.   The   company's   factory   in Abruzzi   was   destroyed   by   bombing   during   World   War   II.   Edoardo   Bianchi   himself   died   in   1946   in   a car   accident,   and   the   ownership   of   the   firm   passed   to   his   son,   Giuseppe.   Even   though   a   new, modern   facility   was   constructed   in   Desio   after   the   war,   economic   conditions   forced   Giuseppe   not to    resume    passenger    car    production,    but    rather    to    focus    on    bicycles,    motorcycles    and commercial vehicles. Bianchi bicycles are still manufactured. Bianchi's   general   manager,   Ferruccio   Quintavalle,   wanted   to   take   advantage   of   the   company's extensive    experience    in    manufacturing    cars    and    ordered    the    preparation    of    studies    and prototypes   of   possible   new   models.   Soon   it   became   apparent   that   resuming   passenger   car production   would   not   be   feasible   without   a   help   of   stronger   partner.   Therefore,   Bianchi   turned to   large   industrial   groups   Fiat   and   Pirelli   with   a   proposal   to   form   a   new   company   to   produce automobiles.   Thus,   the Autobianchi   company   was   born,   with   the   agreement   signed   by   the   three parties   on   11   January   1955   and   share   capital   of   3   million   lira,   33%   of   which   belonged   to   the Bianchi   family.   A   new,   modern,   purpose-built   plant   for   the   production   of   Autobianchi   cars   was erected on an area of 140,000 square metres in Desio. Each   of   the   partners   had   a   clearly   defined   role   and   interest   in   the   venture.   Fiat   was   to   provide the   technical   base   and   components   for   the   assembly   of   the   cars.   It   was   seeking   to   capture   the premium   niche   of   the   small   car   market,   at   that   time   occupied   by   coachbuilders   such   as   Moretti and   Vignale,   who   were   building   their   models   on   Fiat   chassis.   Pirelli,   which   was   to   supply   tires   for the    cars,    sought    to    expand    their    OEM    market    share.    Bianchi,    was    assigned    the    duties    of preparing   the   bodies   and   assembling   complete   vehicles;   a   step   towards   their   desired   return   to full passenger car production.


The   first   car   to   be   produced   by   the   new   company   was   the   Bianchina,   whose   name   was   a   tribute to Edoardo Bianchi's first 1899 car. The Bianchina was based on Fiat 500 mechanicals –   with   its   two-cylinder,   air   cooled   engine   mounted   in   the   rear   –   but   featured   a   completely   new stylish   body   designed   by   Luigi   Rapi,   who   was   in   charge   of   Fiat's   special   body   unit   and   helped   to set   up   production   in   Desio.   With   many   premium   design   and   equipment   features,   the   Bianchina emerged   as   an   upscale   minicar,   slotting   above   the   Fiat   500   in   the   market.   Marketed   as   a   "second vehicle   in   the   household",   and   a   luxurious   "recreational   vehicle",   also   being   targeted   at   affluent middle-class women, it mirrored the increasing affluence in Italian society. The   first   Bianchina   rolled   from   the   production   lines   in   Desio   on   September   11,   1957   and   had   the unusual   body   style   of   a   two-door   landaulet,   called   "Trasformabile".   It   remained   the   sole   body style   until   1960,   when   a   two-door   "Cabriolet"   was   introduced,   followed   by   a   three-door   estate version,   the   "Panoramica"   and   a   two-door   saloon,   the   "Berlina".   Finally,   two   van   versions   were launched:   one   resembling   a   two-seater   version   of   the   Panoramica,   and   another,   with   a   raised and expanded cargo section.


Engine 295 cc 2 cylinders Power 13 HP Top speed 85 km/h Lenght/width 2,29 m/1,38 m Weight 340 kg Car is based on Fiat 500 technics, also known by the name Autobianchi Eden Rock. The Cabriolet model is very rare. Sales value in international car auctions would be more than 20.000€ (2014).
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.