Motor City

30 July 2016

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Lot 173

1958 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile Series I

  • Chassis no. 110N 013578
  • Engine no. 110.000 150705

Sold for $36,300


21 hp, 479 cc rear-mounted air-cooled two-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 72.4 in.

  • Rare Series I Transformabile
  • Upscale version of the more common Fiat 500
  • Comprehensive restoration to show quality
  • An Italian motoring icon


In 1885, 20-year-old Eduardo Bianchi set up a bicycle-making business in Milan. Before long, he was making motorized three-wheelers and then, before the turn of the century, four-wheelers. In the 1920s, Bianchi was third behind only Fiat and Lancia in Italian car production.

In 1955, following a business alliance with Fiat and Pirelli, the company name was changed to Autobianchi. The reorganized firm focused its operations on a series of upscale Fiat 500 variants. The first vehicle that was produced under this new venture was the Bianchina. Even though it was based on the Fiat, it offered luxury features that were not found on the standard 500. The first body style to roll off the assembly line was the transformabile, or semi-convertible, which would remain the only body style available until 1960. Ultimately, only 10,000 of these examples were produced.

Bursting with an abundance of sporting character, the Bianchina offered sturdy Fiat 500 mechanical components with luxurious levels of trim for the era. The understated yet captivating Bianchina was further enhanced by a series of mechanical upgrades, including a lowered suspension, which contributed to a sportier ride. The Bianchina was quite a capable performer, with a top speed of 60 mph and an estimated range of nearly 300 miles. Fuel economy reportedly approached an impressive 50 miles per gallon. With its limited-production cachet, the Bianchina was quickly regarded by enthusiasts as the “rich man’s Fiat.”

This sporting little Bianchina has been expertly restored and presents very nicely in red with a contrasting white convertible top. The minimal and tidy interior is finished in matching two-tone vinyl over black carpeting and offers surprisingly ample room for the driver and passenger, and a couple of kids in the back seat. The chrome bumpers and detail trim are in excellent condition, as is the engine bay and front trunk, which features a delightfully small spare wheel and tire.

This is an excellent example of one of the world’s most attractive microcars. Bursting with an abundance of sporting character, it is ready to be enjoyed by its new owners. It would make for a wonderfully fun ride to the local beaches up north, where finding parking would be a breeze.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more