Auction Blenheim Palace July 2015

Lot Details

Lot Number 186
Reg. Number TBA
Chassis Number 106835
Year 1955

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As redolent of La Dolce Vita Italy as the immortal Vespa scooter, the ‘beach car’ is most famously embodied by Ghia’s ‘Jolly’, unquestionably the best known of the many alternatives to the standard Fiat 600 offered by some of Italy’s finest carrozzeria. Designed by Dante Giacosa, introduced in 1955 and produced for fifteen years, Fiat’s 600 and 600D proved to be an outstanding success for the company, with some 2.5 million built.

The compact, rear-engined saloon spawned numerous variants, from sporting and competition versions by Abarth to the ahead-of-its-time Multipla people carrier, and, of course, the Mare ‘Spiaggina’.

A novel and quintessentially Italian concept that transformed these humble saloons from basic transport into conspicuous indicators of wealth, the Mare ‘Spiaggina’ was a ‘beach buggy’ before that genre was popularized by scores of Volkswagen-based specials. The Mare ‘Spiaggina’ found favour as courtesy transport for patrons of luxury hotels and golf courses or for use ashore after one had docked one’s yacht on the Italian or French Riviera.

Lacking doors and equipped with wickerwork seats, the Mare ‘Spiaggina’ was only practical as leisure transport, thus confirming its owner’s status as someone who could afford a car ‘just for fun’. Indeed, the Mare ‘Spiaggina’ was roughly twice the price of the 600 it was derived from.

This lovely example was built by the coachbuilder Canta of Tourin, who collaborated with the famous designer Giovanni Michelotti.email fiat historic register that confirms its originality.

The car on offer today was built on the basis of a Fiat 600 at the end of 1955. This car was discovered in a ‘barn find’ condition. It has various aspects which can be traced to the Cant coachbuilder like the dashboard-style Fiat 1100, and the rear fins that support the headlights also styled like a Fiat 1100, although there is no confirmation of this.

The car was found in Italy under an old porch where it had sat neglected for over twenty-five years; the body will need to be restored. A fun car which is as popular today as when first manufactured.

For further information or to arrange a viewing, please contact our sales department.



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