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

An Interview With A Ferrari Artist

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)

1941 Cadillac Series 62

 

The Cadillac Model 62 such as the one shown here replaced the Model 61 in 1940 as the lowest model on Cadillac's list of offerings. Many believed the 1941 Cadillac Series 62 first embodied the ulltimate in style.

1941 cadillac Series 62 Coupe

1941 cadillac Series 62 Coupe

Standard V-8 Engines

The 1941 Cadillac Model 62 was a good seller. For the 1941 model year, Cadillac put it's efforts into one line of V-8 engines. This move replaced the V-16 engine which would never be produced again. Sales of V-16's had been lagging for some time and it made more sense to concentrate on one engine.

All 1941 Cadillac's produced were powered by a 346 cubic inch V8 engine. In fact, all Cadillacs were built with V-8's through 1948. When the new V-8's came out in 1941 Cadillac pointed out the many improvements over the 1940 engine which included a claim of more efficiency delivering 15 percent better fuel mileage than it's predecessor.

The 1941 Cadillac Model 62 had a low sleek body, a more slanted windshield and a curved rear window. The car had a C Body which was also used on the Buick Roadmaster. Of special note was the grille. The grille bars were heavier and there were fewer of them. In 1941 the one piece hood came down lower in the front and included side panels that extended sideways to the fenders. The grille would become even larger on the 1942 model.

1941 Cadillac Coupe

1941 Cadillac Coupe

Cadillac was always considered General Motor's prestige line of automobiles.The line stayed intact during the Great Depression years of the 1930's when some luxury automakers folded. Cadillac solidified it's image as America's luxury automobile by the end of the 1930's. General Motors did everything possible to promote Cadillac's image for engineering perfection and reliability.

This first generation of Cadillac Series 62 were only built from 1941 to 1942 due to the start of World War Two and the banning of civilian automobile production.

The 1941 models were available in a two door club coupe, a four door sedan and a four door convertible. Coachwork was performed by Fisher Body. The Series 62 offered Cadillac's only convertible sedan.

1941 Sales figures for Cadillac were excellent. The automaker built over 66,000 vehicles. It was a record year. This was just under Packard's numbers and about 10,000 less than Mercury. The 66,000 units built were much above 1940's figures of 43,000 cars.

1941 cadillac Model 62

1941 cadillac Model 62

1941 Cadillac Series 62 Specs

As mentioned above, the 1941 Cadillac Series 62 was built with a V-8 346 cubic inch engine delivering 150 horsepower and a top speed of 100 MPH.

Transmission options were a 3 speed Manual Selective Synchromesh or a  4 speed Automatic Hydra-Matic. Hydra-Matic was first introduced by General Motors in 1940. The 1941 Cadillac was the first model with a fully automatic transmission which first appeared in 1940 with Oldsmobile.

Vehicle weight came in at just over 4,000 lbs and the wheelbase was 126.0 inches. It's interesting to note that Cadillac built a Series Sixty-Seven with a 139.0 wheelbase. This was for buyers who really wanted luxury and size.

The new car price averaged around $1,700 which was quite reasonable for a Cadillac product. The Series 61 had sold for a few hundred dollars less. The Series 62 was the lowest priced Cadillac and not too much above the cost of a Buick Roadmaster. The Cadillac line was the next above the Buick offerings.

Links to additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll enjoy include:

1931 Cadillac V-16

1942 Chevrolet Town Sedan

1949 DeSoto Custom Coupe

1941 Cadillac hood extenders to the fenders

1941 Cadillac hood extenders to the fenders

 

The Five Generations of Series 62

The Cadillac Model 62 Series first introduced in 1941 are sought after collector's cars. Cadillac built the 62 series until 1964. The second generation of the Series 62 was produced from 1946 until 1947 and the third generation from 1948 until 1953.

The fourth generation of the Series 62 was produced from 1954 until 1958 and the fifth generation from 1959 until 1964. At the end of it's run in 1964, the original Series 62 came with a 429 inch engine that provided 340 horsepower. This was one big advance from the series 62 first production car in 1941.

During it's lifetime, the Cadillac Model 62 went through several name changes including the Series 6200 and the Cadillac Calais names.

See our article on Antique and Classic Car Serial Numbers

(Photos from author's collection)