Rare Rides: The 1953 Fiat 1100 Allemano Cabriolet
If the Allemano name sounds familiar, it might be because we featured one of the coachbuilder’s two-door creations previously: a 1959 Abarth 2200. While that Rare Ride was a sporty and luxurious touring coupe, today’s Allemano is for a much more relaxed customer.
Presenting the 1100 Allemano cabriolet.
Fiat brought its small family car offering into modern times with the 1100. An all-new car, in 1953 it replaced the 1100E (initially called 508 C) which was in production since 1937. The new unibody car was much more of the times than its body-on-frame predecessor. As the model found quick success in its home market, it was also offered as an NSU and a Zastava. Its production soon expanded from Italy into West Germany, Taiwan, Yugoslavia, Morocco, Iran, India, Argentina, and Australia.
Always practical in its design, it was available with four doors in sedan and wagon format, and with two doors as an economical spider. All were equipped with either a 1.1- or 1.2-liter inline-four engine, and all shifted the minimal horsepower through a four-speed manual.
At the time, the Italian design firms kept right in step with new Fiat models, displaying their custom work alongside the standard 1100 when it was introduced at the Torino motor show in 1953. It’s worth noting that although Fiat did make a factory cabriolet, it did not debut until 1955. That means Allemano’s transformation was based upon a standard sedan version of the 1100.
Allemano put one of its most talented designers in charge of the 1100 project, Giovanni Michelotti. Through the early part of his career, Michelotti worked for most the big Italian coachbuilders and made his name in designing custom Ferrari bodies — 20 in total. He also did several Maseratis, the Triumph TR4, Stag, Spitfire, Dolomite, and the BMW 2002. A truly impressive portfolio of designs.
But back to 1100.
Michelotti preferred clean lines and distinctive silhouettes, which suited his boss, Serafino Allemano, just fine. The upright sedan body was exchanged for flowing fenders, a dash of chrome, and a distinctive split-grille pointed nose. The 1100 was completely transformed from its sedan beginnings; the interior was also redone in fine luxury class materials, and carried a much different air to the standard car.
It didn’t matter if the 1100 Allemano was successful, as so few were actually built. It was a single-year design, one which Michelotti replaced for the 1954 model year. The total run in ’53 consisted of two coupes and four cabriolets. Today, all that’s left are one coupe and two cabriolets.
This one-of-two cabriolet remained in the initial owner’s family for 50 years, and was sold to its second owner in 2010. This one has a light modification history from 1959 (Italian regulation), circa 1980 (light restoration), and a full restoration to original specification circa 2016. It was displayed wearing its fresh face at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours. This blue beauty sold recently; its value estimated between $275,000 and $325,000.