Fiat Barchetta

Pronounced 'bar-KET-ta', the Fiat Barchetta was introduced in 1995 and it lasted for a decade. A roadster produced by Italian manufacturer Fiat, the name Barchetta means ‘little boat' in Italian. The project name was Tipo B Spider 176 and was developed from 1990 until 1994. The designer behind the Barchetta was Andreas Zapatinas, Alessandro Cavazza along with other car designers at the Fiat Centro Stile under supervision of Peter Barrett Davis. The prototyping was carried out by Stola.

At the 95th Anniversary of Bertone, he presented the ‘minimalist yet sophisticated' Barchetta concept car in celebration. In February of 1995 the production on the Barchetta began and continued until June of 2005 with just a brief pass near the end of production. The Bertone Barchetta is an open-topped strictly two-seater sports vehicle that is reminiscent of the Italian racing vehicles of the 1950s. The Barchetta is based on the floorplan and mechanicals of the Fiat Panda 100 HP.

The vehicle bodies were welded at ILCAS in Sparone Canavese and the final assembly was done in Chivasso by the coachbuilder Maggiora. Even though the car was marketed and sold in two right hand drive markets; the UK and Japan, Barchetta were limited to left hand drive cars only. The Mark 1 Fiat Punto was the basis for the Barchetta. For the first time in a Fiat production vehicle, the Barchetta featured 1747 cc DOHC engine that was fitted with variable camshaft timing. The engine of the Barchetta has 131 Ps and 164 lb/ft of torque.

Weighing 2,328lbs without the AC, the Barchetta was capable of achieving 62 mph in just 8.9 seconds and had a top speed of 118 mph. The Barchetta lineup included a variety of sub-models that came with different features though the Barchetta remained basically the same. One of the largest external updates was made by adding the third brake light. This had been first introduced by Fiat on the Lido and Riveria in 2000 and sub models from then on.

In 2003 the Barchetta was updated for it's re-introduction in 2004. A variety of small updated were made both inside and on the exterior. The largest change in the update was the updated front spoiler and rear bumper. In 2002, Maggiora suffered bankruptcy and Fiat relocated production of the Barchetta to its Mirafiori plant and 2 years later resumed production. The Fiat Barchetta was discontinued in June of 2005.

By Jessica Donaldson

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