1953 Fiat 1100 Allemano Cabriolet

Fiat’s mid-sized 1100/103, dubbed Nuova 1100, debuted in 1953 as a thoroughly modern replacement for the 1100E, which itself had roots dating back to the pre-war Balilla. The Nuova 1100 was built on a new monocoque platform with a fully enveloped “ponton” body style. The Fiat was an attractive car in its own right, but Italians being Italians, many coachbuilders felt there was room for improvement and quickly began reinterpreting the design. Coachbuilding in much of the world was rapidly disappearing in the early 1950s, but in Italy it was enjoying a remarkable renaissance. As such, most of the major Italian coachbuilders introduced their own versions of the Fiat Nuova 1100 at the 1953 Salone di Torino, and Carrozzeria Allemano was among them, armed with both a cabriolet and coupe designed by the great Giovanni Michelotti.

Michelotti’s design was the subject of much appreciation at the show, with Auto Italiana writing “Finally the two magnificent ... versions of an original and beautiful 2-seater based on Fiat’s ‘New 1100’ with a very personalized front and lines styled by Michelotti.” In a review of the most important styling themes seen at the show, the Michelotti Nuova 1100 Allemano models were repeatedly featured and highlighted due to their distinctive design. One reporter also noted that they were priced at “a very tempting 1,800,000 Lire” or about $2,880 USD. The design was certainly elegant, very clean and unfussy in the signature style preferred by Michelotti and his carrozzeria boss Serafino Allemano. Perhaps the most notable feature of the body is the distinctive split grille that tapers to an aggressive point in the center. Some seven years before the Ferrari 156 F1 car and the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Bertone coupe that was inspired by it, Michelotti had drawn his own ‘shark nose’ for this handsome little Fiat.

These special Allemano Fiats were produced in a very small series through 1953 before being succeeded by a different Michelotti design in 1954. Research done to date has found a scant two coupes and four cabriolets originally produced, with only one coupe and two cabriolets known to exist today.

This example, chassis number 019195, was built in the fall of 1953 and received its Statement of Conformity on December 31, 1953. The first owner, Augusto Scalese, paid a stout 2,511,000L (or $4,016, about the same as a Cadillac Series 62!) and the car was registered on September 5, 1954 with the registration number NA 86282, a plate which it still wears to this day. The Allemano cabriolet remained in Scalese’s extended family for the next 5 decades, passed down through the hands of his son-in-law Fabio DeClescensio and daughter Lucia Marta until November 2010, when she sold the car to Paolo Marcheghiani of Bari, Italy from whom the most recent owner purchased the car.

Prior to restoration it was discovered that some slight modifications to the bodywork were made in the late 1950s to meet the ‘nuova codice stradale’, the most important component of which dictated rear lights with separate amber lenses. As was common in the time, 1959 production Fiat 1100 rear light units were used. In order to accommodate the larger lights, the rear fender line was modified and once fitted, a new bumper was made and fitted. A light restoration in the early 1980s saw the Fiat finished in an ivory color with a black canvas top and red vinyl interior. The original wheel covers were also replaced at this time, and for unknown reasons, a number of pieces of original badging were left off the car.

Since then, a thoroughly researched and meticulously executed restoration has brought this historic design back to its original and correct form, specifically through re-creating the rear fender line and the correct tail lights as designed by Michelotti in 1953. The side fender and trunk lid badging as seen on the car when delivered were re-created and returned to be fitted in the exact place as shown by the holes uncovered in the original panels when the car was stripped for restoration. The original style wheel covers were painstakingly re-created from new to finish the appearance. During the restoration preparation, the original color of the body, Azzurro metallizzato, was found and a remaining fragment of the correct original Bordeaux vinyl trim has been matched for the upholstery, returning this fabulous design back to the condition it was when Augusto Scalese first took delivery of his very special Fiat.

Today, the Fiat Allemano presents in striking condition, with the impeccable restoration remaining in beautiful order. Even before the restoration was completed, this very special automobile was invited to be shown at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in a special class of custom-bodied Fiats. From the 1100 c.c. engine to the luxuriously trimmed cabin to the detailed boot, it presents in jewel-like condition throughout. A rare and inspired design of Michelotti, this Nuova 1100 Allemano Cabriolet has international appeal and historical importance, and would be a welcome sight on virtually any concours field or tour in the world.

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