This is the first English post on ViaRetro.com. The reason? Well, the subject is of international importance: Our Fiat 1500 Vignale Coupé is for sale, and the appeal of this extremely rare car really should be brought to the attention of more than just Danes. So here we go – a video report in English.
Italian style is revered all over the world, not least the automotive work of the late great masters of coachbuilding. In the fifties and sixties the industry blossomed, and many of the world’s greatest style icons hail from this period and this part of the world – today unfortunately carrying pricetags as large as their number of cylinders.
This little coupé is different – and then again not that different from the usual suspects: The bodywork is elegant, classy, pretty even – flowing gracefully with all the flair of a Michelotti on great form. His drawings were transformed into metal by Carozzerria Vignale, who did a masterful job of making it all work as a solid usable car, which seats four in comfort – and swallows their luggage too.
But here the exotic reading ends: Underneath the bodyworks lurks the dependable, reliable, useful, strong and wellbehaved underpinnings of the 1500 Berlina. The drawback maybe be the performance, but the upside that it is very easy to keep this car performing, day in, year out.
This Vignale coupé is in very good shape: Restored bodywise, I was told by the German seller Garage 11, in the late nineties by a Mercedes-workshop, and still very clean and solid with good chrome, paint and nice shutlines. It has been used since the restaoration though, and carries signs of this accordingly: There are a few small chips and scratches here and there, but nothing to distract from the whole being very presentable.
It is also kept in near original form, and I cannot believe that at first I wanted to fit Cromodoras and a Nardi wheel! Thank goodness that I did not, and the Vignale therefore still stands as a testament to the cool and spartan class with which it left the factory. The interior is basically black, bodycolour and chrome – with a splash of the original black and green rubber mats on the floors.
Mechanically all is just as well: The engine was rebuilt some years efter the bodywork, and after this basically completed the restoration of the vehicle it suffered the indignity of not being used. The engine has been freshly serviced and runs perfectly smooths, starts first time every time, pulls very well through nicely spaced gears – with fourth laid out as an overdrive.
So, a lovely car, all in all. And although I can’t figure out how many were built (please feel free to comment if you have an idea) it’s fair to say that you stand a good chance of being in the rarest car a most shows and meetings. I love this aspect of most people having never seen the Vignale Coupé version before, and find this a huge charm of the car.
And this one is for sale.
Why? Only because my co-owner and I have bought a Lancia Fulvia: About the same price, same colour and country, but something completely different again. Although we’d like to keep them both, we can’t – and the Fiat has to go. Basically we made the same mistake as the former owner: We simply didn’t drive it enough – and if we had the Fulvia would probably not be here today. Shortly before this video report I did finally get some miles under the tires, and for each one I enjoyed the Vignale Coupé more and more. It drives just as lovely as it looks, and I hope this comes through in the video.
The price for the car is 90.000 Danish Kroner, equivalent to 12.000 Euro or 16.000 USD. Considering the amount of Italian history this car carries in its genes I think that is a very fair price. I would love to see it stay in Denmark, but am realistic as well: For a car as rare as this chances might be better on an international scene. So have a look and contact me if you want to know more.
And another thing: Please also feel free to comment on the post itself. Many people have told me that I should really write in English, but this is the first time. Yes, the audience would be much larger, but so would the competition. A small fish in a big ocean or a large fish in a small Danish lake? And does it work at all, writing in a foreign language? Do the Danish readers feel left behind? Would it really be possible to write for an audience spread over continents – when my angle is very personal and out of Aarhus, Jutland, Denmark? Your thoughts are welcome whether in Danish or English.