1965 Autobianchi Bianchina Special Cabriolet Sport Jolly - Like Fiat 500

Sale price: $29000,00 make an offer

Technical specifications

Fuel Type:Gasoline
Interior Color:Cognac Wicker
Engine:Air Cooled
Number of Cylinders:2
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Current customer rating: current rating for this car (2)
based on 8 votes


Great history, featured in the book, “Vapor Trail at Twilight”. Dixon Downey founded a plastic manufacturing company in 1946 and was famous for inventing plastic boat bumpers, the first PVC pipe elbows and connectors, the first plastic tail lights for Buicks, and manufacturing the first Hula Hoops. He sold the company and travelled the world, and in 1968 bought a barge to traverse the numerous channels in France. He bought this Autobianchi because it fit on the barge and allowed him to motor through the countryside. There are many pictures of it in the book. He shipped the car to Florida in 1995 and had it restored in 1996. In 2010, he gifted the car to his grandson shortly before he died. His grandson sold it to Mark Loustau, who lived on Catalina Island, off the coast of California in 2010. Mark bought it because Catalina has a length restriction of 10 feet for cars. I bought it in 2011 and have had a ball with it. Car is for sale locally, so I reserve the right to end the auction at any time.

Recent cosmetic restoration that includes NEW:

Windshield and gasket
Wheels and whitewall tires
Sport exhaust
Jolly wicker seats
Rear chrome bumper extensions
Front chrome eyebrows
Mechanical refreshing
Newer Hartz cloth top

Runs and drives great. The paint is in good shape for being 20 years old. There are some chips and blemishes, but no dents or scrapes. The stock wheels and whitewall tires are also included. Subtly mounted are the license plates it had while in France. I also have all of the documentation inculding the shipping paperwork from France to Florida and receipts for all repairs since then. The CA registration was just renewed. Comes with commemorative Grey Goose Vodka wicker basket and fake French bread.

The same model car, but in boring white, sold two years ago at the Bruce Weiner auction for $34,500 and prices have been climbing since. This color blue with the cognac door panels and matching whicker seats really pop. Now is your chance to own one of the best and most drivable micro-car models available. I am selling it due to a family illness. Please email me through eBay if you have any questions or would like to see it. You can fly into LAX, Ontario, or Orange County Airports. Below is some more general information.

Manufacturer: Autobianchi SpA
Origin: Milan, Italy
Production: 9,000, only a handful left in the US
Motor: Fiat 2-cyl., 4-stroke
Displacement: 652 cc
Power: 25 hp
Length: 10 ft.

Founded in 1899 by Eduardo Bianchi, the Bianchi Company made vehicles for 56 years. These included full-size cars, tanks, and trucks with Mercedes engines. But the factory was destroyed during the war and he had been unable to recover. In 1955, Milanese industrialist Ferrucio Quintavalle organized a new company involving Bianchi, Fiat, and the Pirelli Tire Company, called Autobianchi SpA. Trucks would continue to be manufactured by the firm, and motorcycles would be manufactured by Eduardo Bianchi SpA.

Two years later, at the Milan show, the first car to carry the name Autobianchi arrived. The Bianchina Transformabile (Convertible) was one of the first adaptations of the 500 Nuova, using its chassis, engine, and transmission, but with a very attractively styled coupe body with a roll-back roof, reminiscent of the French Vespa 400.

In 1958, it was given a stronger engine and became available as a sedan, coupe, convertible, and station wagon. During this year, Giuseppe Bianchi, Eduardo’s son, sold the family holdings in Autobianchi to Fiat, and in 1963, Fiat gained full control. In 1960, just over 30,000 of these cars were built.

The 1960 Geneva show saw the debut of what was arguably the prettiest of all the models, the Bianchina Special Cabriolet. It was a little luxury car, with a luxury price, and it was immediately accepted by the fashionable jet setters as a second car or runabout. Designer Luigi Rapi drew a well-proportioned shape highlighted by a strong accent in the form of a side spear chrome molding. Interior fittings were more attractive. The indicators were fitted separately below the headlights, not on the bumper guards. The cooling slots on the side below the doors and the chrome borders below the body edge were eliminated. The windscreen was more angular. The model went through three series with minor alterations and improvements.

This Autobianchi Special Cabriolet is fitted with the more powerful Fiat 126 Sport motor, 4-speed transmission, brakes and suspension. This motor and drivetrain was installed by a Ferrari mechanic when the car was in France, giving a useful boost in horsepower from 21 SAE horsepower to 25 SAE horsepower and significantly more torque. Top speed rose from 56 mph to 65 mph, and is much safer with the larger brakes.

The cabriolet third series finished in 1968. The convertible (a coupe with roll-back roof) continued to be manufactured until 1970, while the sedan and station wagon ran until 1969. Notably, the special cabriolet, as demonstrated here, is rarer and, perhaps, even more attractive than the coupe.

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