Italian Cars


Last Updated on September 23, 2019 by Francesca Bezzone

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

Italy is the 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,  of Rimini and Riccione and of the beautiful 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 fantastic convertibles over the years.

The Most Iconic Italian Convertibles: the Beginnings

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.

The Fiat 124, on the other hand, lived two lives. Originally manufactured in the 1970s, it 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, the car that truly replaced the 124.

The Most Iconic Italian Convertibles: Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati

Alfa, on the other hand, only produced higher convertibles. 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 Maserati introduced the Biturbo Cabrio.

In recent years, the Ferrari California  and the Ferrari Portofino have become 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 drive into the Italian sunset on one of these cars.

The Most Iconic Italian Convertibles: Lancia

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.

A mix of tradition and history  created the fabulous Lancia Delta Cabriolet, a true gem that deserves all the respect Lancia has gained in over of century car production.

Convertibles in Italy: is there a Downside?

Now, there are a few negative aspects of owning a convertible in Italy, usually related to security and insurance. The premium is a bit higher and sometimes leaving the car in an open area might trigger vandalism. 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 into account, but other than that, having a convertible in Italy is a true pleasure, especially in the South, where the weather is generally always mild.

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