italian convertibles
The Nuova 500 N convertible was launched in 1957. Ph. Public Domain on wikipedia

Italy is a country of sunshine, beautiful weather and one the longest coastlines in Europe. It is the land of the Riviera and the Amalfi Coast, the Mediterranean Sea and Tuscan beaches, the fun of Rimini and Riccione and the beauty of Lakes Garda and Como. In other words, Italy is the perfect environment for a convertible car, which may be the reason why Italian car manufacturers have produced so many iconic convertibles over the years.

Two of the most iconic models are the Alfa Romeo Duetto and the Fiat Spider 124. Both are legendary cars, true icons of an era. Fiat, Alfa and Ferrari have always taken particular care and dedication to their convertible collections, always with great results.

First introduced in the 1960s, the Duetto underwent minor evolutions until it was replaced in the 1980s by the Alfa Spider. The structure of the car was left virtually unchanged for several decades and it has been a car that provided fun and great memories to many. The Fiat 124, on the other hand, lived two lives. Originally manufactured in the 1970s, it was a car that looked great, but was not known to be the best in terms of engineering and reliability. A few years later, Pininfarina redesigned the car and released it under its brand name, one of the few vehicles entirely design by him.  The car looked sharper, but never reached the success of its Fiat predecessor.

italian convertible cars
Italian convertible cars: the iconic Alfa Romeo Duetto. Ph. John Filiss on wikipedia

Of course, Fiat offered other convertible models like the Ritmo Cabrio and the Barchetta, which is the car that truly replaced the 124. Alfa, on the other hand, only produced convertibles on higher end vehicles. Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati’s high profile sports car convertibles were a combination of full convertibles an T-Tops, like the legendary Ferrari 308 and the Lamborghini Diablo. The Mondial was a great convertible presented by Ferrari in the 1980s, around the same time that Maserati introduced the Biturbo Cabrio. Today the Ferrari California is the direct descendant of that early generation of convertibles. These are cars that make people the world over dream and fantasize, wishing that they too could be driving into the Italian sunset on one of these cars.

Lancia also has a very strong tradition of convertibles, although the motoring house hasn’t produced any in recent years. Some of the best Lancias featuring the sky as a top are the Flaminia, the Aurelia, the Appia (all named after Roman roads) and the beautiful and classic Lancia Astura. In a mix of tradition and history that  was brought back by the new and fabulous Lancia Delta Cabriolet, a true gem that deserves all the respect Lancia has gained in over of century car production.

Manufacturers in other countries like Audi, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW also manufacture convertibles, of course. Italians love to drive models like the TT, 911, SLK, and the Z4 or 3. The majority of Italians love to drive, and love the power and beauty of a fast convertible.

Now, there are a few negative aspects of owning a convertible in Italy, usually related to security and insurance. The premium is a bit more expensive and sometimes leaving the car in an open area might trigger vandals to cut the roof of it out of jealousy. It doesn’t happen very often, but it is something to consider. Also, in most cities wild cats might spend the night on the top, scratching it or leaving unpleasant “leftovers.” These are minor things that need to be taken in account, but othan than these issues having a convertible in Italy is a true pleasure, especially in the South, where the weather is generally always mild.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *