In the 1950s, the Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino (FIAT for short) was Europes largest car-maker, globally trailing only the ‘Big Three’ US car-makers in Detroit. Fiat’s success was primarily due to its production of affordable family cars, whilst also maintaining a sporty line and even an active racing program.
By the late 50's FIAT where now looking for a replacement of the 1200 series and approached Pininfarina for its new model. The resulting 118 series Coupe and Cabriolet was a styling success with the Spider / Cabriolet model especially looking like a smaller but equally handsome version of the Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet. In addition to their own 1221cc and 1493cc single-cam engines, Fiat also contracted Maserati to create a higher performance model, using a road-going version of their MT4 racing engine with the resulting 'OSCA' twin-cam 1500cc version giving the new car 100 mph performance to match its looks.
Pininfarina assembled the Fiat 'OSCA' 1500S (type 118S) and 1600S (type 118SA) versions, identifiable by their non-function bonnet scoop, fitted rev-counter and 15" steel wheels throughout the model’s run, but the cars were always badged as Fiats and it is estimated that of the 34,000 Fiat Spiders and Coupes produced less than 1000 examples were built using the twin-cam OSCA engine. With its charming looks the 118 series remained in production until 1966 when the model was finally replaced by the equally stylish Fiat 124 Spider.
Absolute Classic Cars are delighted to offer this truly spectacular car, quite possibly the finest type 118S Fiat-OSCA 1500S Spider available. Original sold in Paris in 1961 this 1500S remained in France for the first 11 years and was then exported to California, where it resided with the same owner until 2015! Having seen very little use in the prevailing 43 years but now needing some TLC the car was sold, we believe due to the owner passing away, and the new owner set about commissioning a concours quality restoration.
In admiring this Fiat-OSCA 1500S Spider an on-looker could easily be transported back to the day this car was built, the level of detail is staggering and we could wax-lyrical that ever nut-bolt-wash, panel, moving part, seat, fixture or fitting has removed fully inspected and either replaced or restored. This car is new in virtually every detail and would happily see itself positioned amongst exotica at any respected concours event.
Finished in Grigio Chiario (Light Grey) with complimentary Nero / Grigio (Black / Grey) interior and a black mohair hood, the fit and finish on this 1500S are just beautiful with your eyes being drawn to all the delicate details such as the flawless chromework, the Nardi steering wheel, those floor hinged pedals, the detailed engine, the soft hue of the instrumentation, even down to how the wiring loom has been routed through the boot or engine bay...it's the little things that impress!
Mechanically the car has been beautifully sorted too. Twist the key and the burbly MT4 inspired engine settles into its idle. The long-throw gearstick selects gear easily thanks to a nicely weighted clutch and with a few revs we're off. The small capacity twin-cam, offering ~80bhp, will not set the world alight, but this really isn't the point, the driving pleasure, especially with the top-down, is, in the purest sense, an wonderful experience.
An exceptional example that has been subject to a top class restoration, stunning looks and undeniable rarity this Fiat-OSCA 1500S Spider is quite simply, 'la dolce vita'!