While Fiat had historically been known for producing small, mass-produced and very affordable automobiles, the 1950s and 1960s saw a change in this image as sportier models were introduced and the Abarth-tuned Fiats accumulated racing wins around Europe. Although models as the 500 and 600 were integral to the company’s success, the 1100 series introduced uni-body construction and with the advent of the 1100 TV, a concerted effort was made at inexpensive sports car construction. It was in 1953, under the guidance of Fiat head designer Giovanni Zoboli, that Esparsa Comprenelli designed the 1100 TV (Turismo Veloce). Whereas Auto Sport referred to the 1100/103 Fiat sedan as “a Ford Consul with a touch of Hillman Minx in the grille,” the Turismo Veloce was all high style. The 1100 TV Cabriolet was available through 1958 and was characterized by such styling features as a split, recessed grille, roll-up windows, and a wraparound windshield.
This attractive 1100 TV has had just two owners from new. A complete, photo-documented frame-up restoration was completed two years ago and the car’s condition is reflective of this recent restoration work and its low mileage. A rare sight in American collector car circles, it has also been featured in numerous magazine articles over the past twelve years.
The Fiat is fitted with a highly desirable Nardi wood steering wheel and was recently treated to further cosmetic enhancements including whitewall tires, a new correct interior and a mechanical service and freshening.
The diminutive little Italian sports car is appropriately finished in red with a new black convertible top. The stylish interior was recently fitted with tan upholstery with red trim as well as door panels and carpeting, all of which are of the correct type and fabric. The Voiture Especiale designation is believed to be a reference to this particular trim package. The dash is likewise factory correct. Items of particular interest include the correct faux turbine knock-off wheels, which were recently polished, as well as the swivel front seats – an ingenious feature that allows for easier entry and exit.
Period French advertisements for the 1100 TV asserted the two-seat cabriolet’s ability to “accentuate the sporty character of the 1100 TV”. Indeed, with its lively performance and handling, it captured the zest of its more expensive Italian counterparts at Ferrari and Maserati and continues to offer the same driving pleasures with a very attractive and drivable styling package.
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