Autobianchi was an Italian automobile manufacturer, created jointly by Bianchi, Pirelli and Fiat in 1955. Autobianchi produced only a handful of models during its lifetime, which were almost exclusively small cars, with the biggest being the short-lived Autobianchi A111, a small family car. The most famous Autobianchi models include the A112 released in 1969, a small hatchback very popular in Italy for racing, and which ceased production in 1986; as well as the Y10, which was the first car to use Fiat's new FIRE. The Primula was the car with which Fiat introduced the particular front-wheel drive arrangement of engine, transmission and differential (final drive) that has become prevalent in its cars today.
The first car to be produced by the new company was the Bianchina, whose name was a tribute to Edoardo Bianchi's first 1899 car. The Bianchina was based on Fiat 500 mechanicals – with its two-cylinder, air-cooled engine mounted in the rear – but featured a completely new stylish body designed by Luigi Rapi, who was in charge of Fiat's special body unit and helped to set up production in Desio.
Five years after the debut of the Bianchina, at the 1963 Turin Motor Show, a completely new Autobianchi model debuted: the Autobianchi Stellina. A two-door spider based on the Fiat 600D's chassis was distinguished by its fibreglass body, designed by Tom Tjaarda. It was Italy's first car with such a body. The vehicle was only produced for two years (1964 and 1965) and only 502 Stellinas were made. Nevertheless, the model was an important step in the development of new technology for Fiat and the rest of the automotive industry. Its lofty price-tag of almost a million lira further emphasized the elevated status of the Autobianchi brand within the Fiat empire.
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