1959 Fiat 1200 TV Roadster

1959 Fiat 1200 TV Roadster
Courtesy of Bonhams

In 1953, Fiat introduced their new 1100-103. The 1955 Trasformabile (Italian for “convertible”) is generally considered the work of Fiat’s design director Fabio Luigi Rapi.

Teasingly voluptuous, it had a forward-leaning stance. Divided mesh grilles at the front were complemented by a wrap-around windshield. The haunches were understated but set off with a broad, slightly diagonal molding. Trasformabiles were soon given the Turismo Veloce (fast touring) engine. There was an adjustable steering wheel and roll-up windows provided comfort in all weather.

For 1958, the TV option was effectively replaced by a larger 1,221- cc engine, which developed 55 horsepower in standard form. This is one of two examples that were acquired for this particular collection. As with many of the numerous Fiats in this stable, it was acquired because it was a particularly good and original example of its breed.

An original, U.S.-delivered car with odometer in miles, it was purchased by the current owners and promptly shipped to their home in Israel. In the mid-1980s, it was shipped to Milan, Italy, where it was restored over the course of a year and then brought back to New York.

In the current ownership for something approaching 34 years now, and with three decades since the restoration, the car has gained only light age, and remains extremely well presented. In recent years its interior has been refurbished, and a few detail features, such as door handles and the trunk push button, have been freshly rechromed. Moreover, it is has always been kept in a condition in which it could be readily used as and when required. When last inspected, the car was seen to run and drive particularly well, with spritely performance.