Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fiat 2800: Italy's Answer to Mercedes

That's a glamorous (though not well painted) Italian lake district scene in the Fiat publicity image shown above.  And the car?

According to this Italian language Wikipedia article, Benito Mussolini proposed to Fiat that they create a model that would compete in terms of prestige with Mercedes-Benz.

And Fiat tried, with its 2800.  Nearly 630 were built over 1938-1944, about a third being military adaptations of the chassis.  Fiat 2800s were used by Mussolini, the Pope and some affluent Italians.

The English language Wikipedia entry is here.

Here is a 2800 four-door sedan.  The short, downward curved hood runs against the 1930s expectation that prestige automobiles have long, prominent hoods.  It does look a bit racy, which is what one might expect for Italy.  Aside from that, the front ensemble is in line with 1936 American styling practice, but is a little dated for 1938.

This side view shows that the sedan had an integral trunk and not quite something obviously tacked on.  The passenger compartment styling above the belt line is also obsolescent compared to some new 1938 General Motors cars, and obsolete in relation to most 1940-41 American car designs.

Some cabriolet 2800s were built.  Stabilimenti Farina made a few four-door versions, and might have built the two-door shown here.  (I can't determine who actually did the work.  It might even have been done by Fiat.)

This nice 1939 Fiat 2800 coupe was by Touring.

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