Originally a bicycle manufacturer, and probably best known as a maker of fine racing motorcycles, Edoardo Bianchi built his first automobile in the early 1900s. A wide variety of models followed over the next 30 years, though by 1940 the firm was concentrating on motorcycles and commercial vehicles.
Car manufacture resumed in 1957 under Fiat auspices, Autobianchi’s debut model being the Bianchina, based on Fiat’s new 500. Positioned up market from the Fiat, the Bianchina debuted as the Trasformabile coupe, with full-length folding sunroof. The Bianchina showed clear signs of American influence, its size excepted, exemplified by two-tone paintwork, whitewall tires and plentiful chromework.
In 1960 the newly introduced and more powerful Fiat 500D engine became standard equipment on the Bianchina range, which was augmented by two new models: a Cabriolet and the Panoramica estate car that used the Fiat Giardiniera’s space-saving horizontally-opposed engine.
A fourth version, the Quattroposti saloon, arrived the following year. This Autobianchi Bianchina Cabriolet is the same model as that used in the original “Pink Panther” movie starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling inspector Clouseau. Restored some 5-7 years ago, it is reported as running great and driving well, and is offered with Certificate of Title.