1959 Autobianchi

 

While the Autobianchi Italian car company was established in 1955 in a partnership with Bianchi, Pirelli and Fiat, there’s a lot of interesting history that goes back to the late 1800′s. in 1885 the first Bianchi workshop manufacturied velocipedes, ball bearings, wheelchairs, doorbells, and other items. This company has been around a long time in a variety of manufacturing pursuits.

1959 Autobianchi

1959 Autobianchi

The 1959 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformable Convertible shown in this article was made to be an economical little car. This is considered a very rare Italian micro car, that was produced from 1959 to 1961. Reportedly there were only about 10,000 of these convertible models ever produced. The Bianchina was Autobianchi’s first post war model and for the large part was based on the Fiat 500. The Bianchina Transformable was the only model available to buyers in 1959. Additional models from Autobianchi were introduced in 1960 including the Cabriolet Series I. The 1960 Cabriolet could deliver 21 horsepower.

Bianchi, founded in 1885 by  Edoardo Bianchi actually started building luxury passenger cars as early as 1899. The company originally was set up as a bicycle manufacturer of the late 1800′s and like several others moved into the new upstart automobile industry.

Autobianchi Convertible

Autobianchi Convertible

Just as was the case with Mercedes-Benz in Germany, most of Bianchi’s factories were destroyed during World War Two by Allied bombing. Also, in 1946 the company’s founder Edoardo Bianchi died and control of the company moved to his son Giuseppe.

After the war and due to the company’s and Italy’s dire financial condition, the former Italian car company Bianchi stuck with bicycle, motorcycle and commercial vehicle production and built a new factory just for that purpose. As a side note, bicyclists will instantly recognize the Bianchi name in regards to famous professional racing and mountain bikes. It was said that Picasso had a Bianchi bicycle in his studio.

About eight years later, the partnership formed in 1954 with Fiat and Pirelli allowed Bianchi to reenter the passenger automobile manufacturing business. There was much more financial strength with the new partnership.

1959 Autobianchi Bianchina

1959 Autobianchi Bianchina

Fiat, long Italy’s largest car manufacturer was back at it quickly in 1945 reportedly working on an eight cylinder engine.The control of Fiat which produced much of Mussolini’s war machines however was taken away from the Agnelli family because of their close ties to the former dictator. Control was eventually turned back to the family in 1963.

The first Bianchi post war car from the new Autobianchi was manufactured in September 1957.

Autobianchi Model Styling

After the merger with Fiat, the reorganized company Italian car company focused its operations on a long-running series of upscale Fiat 500 variants. The new partnership of Autobianchi took on this form. Fiat brought to the table the technical components and knowledge, Pirelli provided the tires, and Bianchi created the bodies and actually assembled the vehicles.

The design of the Autobianchi Bianchina is credited to Italian automobile designer Luigi Rapi. Rapi had worked for Fiat at the time of the merger and then transferred to Autobianchi. When you look at the Bianchi you can certainly see the Fiat in it’s design.

Autobianchi

Autobianchi

The Bianchina model offered sturdy and widely available Fiat 500 mechanical components plus luxurious styles of trim for the era.

The 1954 merger with Fiat was just what Bianchi needed to produce a quality car yet still have a good distinction between it and the Fiat models.

 

Below are links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you’ll enjoy:

 

Nash Metropolitan

 

The Micro Auto Freeway Car

 

1959 Autobianchi Bianchi Transformable Specifications

The 1959 Autobianchi Bianchi Transformable had a rear mounted inline 2 cylinder engine delivering 16.5 horsepower. . Transmission was four speed manual and the car offered four wheel independent suspension.

Autobianchi Covertible

Autobianchi Convertible

The 1959 Bianchi also offered four wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Weight came in at about 1,030 lbs and a wheelbase of 72 5 inches and the car’s total length was 117.1 inches.

Talk about getting great fuel efficiency, the 1959 Autobianchi could achieve around 42 plus MPG. At about the same time you could get about 37.5 MPG from the Nash Metropolitan. This type of fuel efficiency made these cars the perfect college car.Great fuel mileage and easy to maneuver in tight spots.

This is obviously a very easy car to fit in just about any parking space. Top speed would come in at about 60 MPH. All in all, the 1959 Autobianchi Transformable is considered one of the best examples in the world of a sturdy and reliable micro-car.

(Photos from author’s collection)

 

1906 Buick Model G

 

This 1906 Buick, an automobile brand known everywhere for quality, is one beautiful early automobile.

Buick was founded by a Scottish bathtub manufacturer by the name of David Buick. Joining Buick in 1899 in his enterprise were a Michigan bicycle merchant named Walter Lorenzo Marr and a French machinist named Eugene Richard. These three men were noted for devising an engine with valves in the cylinder head. The valves were opposite the cylinder head rather than the then common placement beside them.

1906 Buick Model G

1906 Buick Model G

The first Buick automobile sold reportedly was the 1904 Model B although a few prototype autos were built prior to that. The car shown in this article, the 1906 Buick Model G. During 1906 Buick also built a Model F which was a five-seater. These were the two Buick models available in 1906.

William Durant and Buick

It didn’t take long at all for William Durant, a very successful and wealthy carriage maker to see the innovation with Buick’s engineering. Buick, Durant believed, was the perfect starting point. Durant had wanted to enter the auto building business and decided to begin investing in Buick, a small start up company in 1903. By 1904 Durant took control of Buick. Durant wanted a car company and Buick was cash strapped at the time. This signaled the beginning of what would eventually become General Motors.

1906 Buick Two-Seater

1906 Buick Two-Seater

Durant hired a sales force to sell Buicks all over the U.S. As far as promoting his vehicles, Billy Durant was not fond of spending money on conventional advertising. Instead he often chose to parade his vehicles around town trying to attract attention. Buick also was doing well in the racing category claiming three performance records in 1905.This included the world’s record in a five mile race.

This in itself to Durant was the best advertising. During this very early automobile era quite a few people paid attention to auto race results. This stirred the buzz and this is what helped sell cars.

He furthermore had very good success attracting investment money from Wall Street, Flint Michigan banks and from carriage makers who wanted to take part in what they saw could be the replacement of the horse carriage.

1906 Buick Roadster

1906 Buick Roadster

Durant, the natural salesman, took Buick cars to the New York Auto Show and came back with over one-thousand orders. These were orders for a car company which had built a bit over thirty vehicles to date.

An excellent book about William Durant and the making of General Motors is The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors by author Axel Madsen.

Links to more AutoMuseumOnline articles you’ll find interesting include:

1903 Ford Model A

1913 Ford Model T Touring Car

 

1906 Buick Model G Specifications

The 1906 Buick Model G had a two cylinder engine with a total of four valves, two per cylinder. The engine could deliver 22 horsepower at 1,200 RPM. Displacement was 159 cubic inches. The engine placement was in the middle of the vehicle.

1906 Buick Model G rear view

1906 Buick Model G rear view

The car’s transmission was a manual two speed with rear wheel drive.

The 1906 Buick Model G had a wheelbase of 87.0 inches and was a two-seater. The fuel tank held 16 gallons. Vehicle weight was 1,850 lbs.

The 1906 Buick’s could be bought in colors of either ivory or purple lake blue. A variety of colors could be chosen for the leather seats.

A total of 193 of these roadsters were built. The 1906 Buick Model G sold new for around $1,100.

(Photos from author’s collection)