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Fiat 1100 TV Trasformabile – Italian heart, stateside style

Mention Fiat roadsters and many will think of the 124 Spider or the Dino, but there have been others, none more stylish than the Fiat 1100 TV Trasformabile…

n 1955, Fiat’s Carrozzerie Speciali department developed a two-seater roadster based on mechanicals from the attractive 1100/103 TV. It was an agile, lightweight and fast car that would also become popular with private team drivers.

The Turin-based automaker habitually chose the Geneva Motor Show to unveil its new models during the post-war period. The Fiat 1100 TV Trasformabile was no exception and debuted at the 1955 edition,  to expand the diverse 1100/103 range, first with the sporty TV (Turismo Veloce) version which featured a characteristic single fog lamp in the middle of the grille.

The Fiat 1100 TV Trasformabile is a fascinating two-seater spider designed by Fiat’s Carrozzerie Speciali department under engineer Fabio Luigi Rapi. Modelled on the American style roadsters favoured at the time, it featured generous chrome trim on the radiator grille in particular, bumper guards, a panoramic windscreen and whitewall tyres. On the inside, American influences were apparent in the dished steering wheel and two-tone reclining seats.

The sporty mechanics of the TV, which was endowed with a powered-up engine and independent front suspension with torsion bar, gave the Fiat 1100 TV Trasformabile excellent  speed and precision when cornering. The in-line four-cylinder engine with a cylinder capacity of 1089 cm3 delivered 53 hp at 5400 rpm, achieving a top speed of 145 km/h. A total of 142 units were built.

A two-door, two-seater, American style roadster that private team drivers also used in competitions.

Although not originally designed for racing, the 1100/103 TV was an attractive choice for private team drivers due to its brilliant engine performance, excellent front suspension and low weight, which was typical of two-seater roadsters.

Despite not winning any sports racing titles, it competed in the 1957 Targa Florio and most importantly the 1956 Mille Miglia, which qualifies it to participate with other prestigious classic cars in the relaunched Mille Miglia, also known as the Freccia Rossa (Red Arrow) race.

The rare, fully functioning specimen specimen belongs to the FCA Heritage Collection and is normally exhibited at the Centro Storico Fiat in Turin. In recent years the car has participated in re-enactments of the 1000 Miglia and the Cesana-Sestriere hillclimb, perfect settings in which to showcase the excellent condition and outstanding dynamic qualities  of this brilliant, American-inspired Fiat spider.

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