Films: This Fiat 1100 Charmant Vignale Is Like New

This Fiat 1100 Charmant Vignale Is Like New

When we first met with Daniele Spataro we were immediately enamored with his humble approach to collecting cars that much of our community has forgotten to the sands of time. How often do you run into someone who even knows how special a Fiat 1100 103 Vignale is, let alone owns one in as-new condition? We asked him to tell his story in our latest film, which you can also enjoy below.

My first vintage car was a Fiat 100 Turismo Veloce from 1955 that I restored by myself at the age of 18. Because of it I developed a passion for these cars. In time this passion brought me to collect some derivatives of the 1100, like the “Barchette Da Corsa”, “Stanguellini” the Volpini and so on.

I live in Sicily and here you can still find the famous “barn finds” In people’s garages and barns. I found several unique cars abandoned in barns, or in haylofts. To this day you can still find cars like that. The same happened with this unique car which is the 1100 Charmant Vignale derivated from the Fiat 1100 103. Only 12 were built, the body was built by Alfredo Vignale who usually only produced a set of 12 for each type. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, who was one of the most important and prolific car designers in the world. Michelotti found his right-hand man in Vignale. Michelotti would design the cars and Vignale with his artistry would complete the body work. This car was built in 1953, one of the first of this type produced, it is really fun car to drive, but the singularity of this car is that it is essentially brand-new.

I found it in Messina 4 or 5 years ago. Perfectly preserved, the odometer read 6,012KM since 1953. It was originally purchased by a wealthy lawyer in Messina, who picked the basic version and not the Turismo Veloce one because this version was more sober in body and accessories. So, since he was a discreet gentleman he picked this basic model but, when he ordered it he asked for some peculiarities, because he wanted this car’s custom details not be visible from the outside. In fact, he asked for Borrani spoke-wheels, an Abarth aspirator system with dual carburetors and a special exhaust system. A Nardi exhaust pipe, and a Nardi oil cup and high performance starting coil, a Nardi wooden steering wheel, speed gage and a radio with electric antenna. All these accessories, at the time, denoted a higher category car than this.

So although this car was only a derivate of the Fiat 1100 103 Normale, its optionals made it run like or better than a Turismo Veloce or TV. But in Messina in 1953, 1954, a custom car like this, even if subtle, obviously stuck out and people would point to it so, the owner being the discreet type, felt uncomfortable with the car. He preserved this car by parking it away, and bought a Mercedes Berlina, surely a more anonymous car.

But I really think he was in love with this Fiat because he preserved it by putting it on bricks in his garage, he drained it of all the liquids like the water from the radiator and the gas from the tank, lubricants from the shifter and differential, and there it remained until unfortunately the owner died and his wife decided to free up the garage. I heard about this car being for sale and I went to see it, I still remember the feeling of sitting in a car built 60 years before, but essentially brand-new. I only had to wax it, and that was it, it looked brand-new.

Not in a restored way, but like it was created yesterday from Michelotti’s pencil and from Vignale’s artistry, in 1953. Whenever someone asks me what kind of car I own I reply that I don’t own any cars, I am only the custodian, to preserve their future. These cars are like art pieces, you don’t possess them, you safeguard them.

Drive Tastefully®

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13 Comments on "This Fiat 1100 Charmant Vignale Is Like New"

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Landroving
Landroving

What an amazing find! The owner states he only had to clean it up, but I’m wondering if that clean up included all new bushings,seals, gaskets and other rubber based items as they surely would have dried out over that amount of time. I love how Vignale and the other Italian coach builders would make amazing versions of very plain and simple cars. It’s a shame that no longer occurs.

Boris Berov
Boris Berov

Great car! Looks amazing!

Sotirios Bakaimis
Sotirios Bakaimis

condizione ottima!!! disegno eccelente!!! great story & video!!!

Peter Lukáč
Peter Lukáč

That was beautiful! Love shape of that car..

Dennis White
Dennis White

Can you believe it’s a Fiat? The lost art of great coach building. I think a big difference with the in-house design today by Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa. Wonderful styling especially from the side view where the car looks like it’s in motion at a standstill. And who’d a thought white-walls would ever look this good on an Italian car!

Ennio Morricone is Italy’s greatest living composer irrespective the genre.

jim sink
jim sink

“you don’t own these cars you safeguard them”. Well put.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

Lovely story and wonderful car.

I enjoy especial Mr. Spataro’s understanding of the mental process of the original owner in ordering a discrete car with special features, like the exhaust, and the aspiration. And I find credible that he might then have found that the car was still a little too flashy for his social position.

At times I have gone through through the same calculations myself. I like cars with performance features, and I like them to look utterly unremarkable.

Daniel Silva
Daniel Silva

One of the most beautiful Fiat i have ever seen. Perfect!

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo

Beautiful story and car. Thanks Petrolicious.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
That sure is one cute little car and a heck of a find in that condition . But a suggestion Petrolicious seeing as how this is the 2nd video you’ve done on the isle of Sicily . Next time instead of pulling out the canned ‘ stock ‘ music … see about licensing a few bars from Sicily’s and in fact Italy’s greatest living composer . Composer / Cellist Giovanni Sollima . Trust me on this one and have a listen to his original music and especially his solo cello compositions . Music just waiting to be placed in a… Read more »
geelongvic
geelongvic

GS, I followed your suggestion and listened to music of Giovanni Sollima,, and I agree, delightfully satisfying and appropriate.

Regarding the Petrolicious Video. Custodian, also agree. Bravo.

hernando desoto
hernando desoto

Great idea. I turned Down volume on the film while keeping the Picture on screen and let this play in the background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldPf3yqq3-8
It worked nicely.

flaneur
flaneur

Gorgeous body. A little feeling of deja vu. Hmm… Lancia Aurelia, especially the view from the back. A moveable feast.

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