The Italians love a bit of coachbuilding, and as such, will put a custom body on pretty much anything they can. Yes, the automotive history books will tell you that normally it’s the likes of Ferrari, Lancia and Alfa Romeo that get the bespoke treatment, but don’t think that’s where the buck stops. Frankly, if it’s got wheels, and if a coachbuilder catches sight of it, it’ll get a fancy new body. A case in point would be the car we have here. Underneath the flowing coupe lines, you’ll find the most unassuming of vehicles – namely a Fiat 600.
Of course, on top there is nothing left of the Fiat that once was. Instead, Italian coachbuilder, Vignale, designed a perfectly proportioned two-door coupe body. Vignale, founded by Alfredo Vignale in 1948, soon made a name for itself as a bespoke coachbuilder, and looking at this pretty little car, it’s not hard to understand why.
Vignale has a strong working relationship with Fiat, as it would often be called upon to build concept cars for research purposes or to be paraded at motor shows. However, it also worked on limited run projects like this Coupe. Allegedly styled by Giovanni Michelottie (or at least under his direction) the car was built in Grugliasco, Italy, before being sold and registered in Rome.
What is it?
What we have here is a 1964 Fiat 750 by Vignale. As we mentioned above, this car started life as a Fiat 600D, though there is very little of that left now. The engine, as the name would suggest, was taken out to 750cc and the body was completely restyled by the talented carrozziere at Vignale. This turned the car into a small, compact coupe that despite its small size, was big on style. From the subtle rear fins through to the haunched rear quarters with elegantly scalloped rear arch detail, through to the sharp, clean front end, this car had it all. A proper little looker, that’s for sure. And thanks to being taken out to 750cc, the rear-engined machine was something of a riot to drive, too. They say it’s not about having lots of power, it’s about being able to use the power you have, and the 750 was the embodiment of that.
Why is it a project?
Well, as is evident from the pictures, this originally Rome registered 750 has fallen on hard times. The years have finally caught up with it, and now it needs to be restored back to its once glorious condition.
The car looks to be reasonably solid in the pictures, with only some rot on the lower doors, sills and lower front valance. However, the reality of an old Italian is that there will probably be more to deal with inboard. However, don’t fret. The floorpan is all Fiat 600, and as such, parts are readily available. The metalwork you need to be salvageable is all on the topside, and from what we can see, it looks to be within the realms of possibility.
The vendor states that the engine turns, and looks to be in reasonable condition, all the interior is there, the glass is all present, as is the brightwork and other chrome. It’s complete, but in need of some serious love. The vendor also states that “the major hard to source parts” are with the car, which should go some way to preventing any headaches.
Five things to look for:
There is going to be some rust to contend with. Happily, given it’s such a small car, there might not be much. However, you need to check the engine bay, the floorpans, trunk, outriggers and rear floors thoroughly.
The car looks to be reasonably complete, which is nice given the rarity. However, you still need to check it all and make sure it’s of such a condition that it can be restored and re-used. If not, it’s going to be hard work to find replacement stuff.
The engine turns over freely, according to the vendor. However, still check it for leaks, look for anything that’s missing. Service parts are easy to find, but given the 750cc, a full engine won’t be so simple. So at least be sure this is something you can work with.
The vendor states that it’s all there and that it’s all in restorable condition. However, you still need to satisfy yourself. Coverings on the seats are simple to replace, but dash parts, seat frames, switches and other unique stuff needs to be there, really.
Yes, we know, broken record. But this car has come from Italy, so make sure all the paperwork is present and correct and as such, satisfy yourself that it can be registered on UK roads.
What should you do with it?
How it could look, after some elbow grease!
The Fiat 750 Vignale was, when new, white. As such, we would go down the road of a full restoration to original specification. There is little to be gained from modifying or otherwise altering a car like this, so originality is going to be the order of the day. And given it’s such a diminutive little thing, it would be rude to not go for a full strip down and nut and bolt rebuild. Make this little 750 the best it can possibly be. There are so few of them left that you could easily restore value into this car, should you want to save it and sell it on. You could even do it, then put it through Car & Classic Auctions – talk about service. We’ll find them, and we’ll sell them for you!