6 UNEXCEPTIONAL ITALIAN CARS IN EXCEPTIONAL CONDITION
Walk around any classic car auction and amid the gleaming exotica and priceless rarities you can often find the more mundane and everyday. And, actually, it's these less glaringly obvious finds that can stand out as true value-for-money in today's overcrowded classic market.
Take, for example, a humble Fiat Uno base-model parked alongside a Ferrari F40, both in matching concours condition. An automotive unicorn whose posters were more common in 80s' and 90s' bedrooms than even MFI bunk-beds, the value and importance of the F40 has remained so consistently high that it was never likely to suffer the indignity of a boy-racer fitting a set of TSW Venoms to it. The Uno though - a simple utilitarian mode-of-transport designed solely to get you from A-to-B as inexpensively as possible - has no discernible right to have survived untouched for over two decades. As such, it's the little Fiat that could be viewed as the rarer and, we'd argue, the more interesting find.
With this in mind, here are six of the 'extraordinarily ordinary' Italian cars we've crossed paths with over the past ten years or so here at italicar.
1993 FIAT TEMPRA 1.6 S IE
An entry in an ACA Classic Auction in 2017 we very narrowly missed out on, this unassuming family saloon car might never rank up there with Italy's finest pieces of automotive design, but we're unlikely to ever find another like it. Under 60k miles, four original hubcaps still in place and the oh-so-90s livery of flat-white paintwork with bright blue upholstery. The only thing which could have improved its time warp properties would have been a Suede cassette in the stereo.
1984 LANCIA DELTA 1.3 LX
Mention Lancia Delta and most will automatically assume you're talking about some gravel-disturbing homologation rally special, but the underpinnings for all those WRC victories was a superbly practical family hatch. Many years ago we spied a local 1300 LX in white (not pictured) with swathes of the greyest of plaid cloth drowning the interior, and a very reasonable handwritten price tag sellotaped to the window. We were truly distraught when someone finally answered the telephone number and told us it had sold that very afternoon.
2003 ALFA ROMEO 156 1.9 JTD
Actually currently in stock at the time of writing, this Alfa Romeo 156 has to be nearly unique. Of all the countless 156 models which have passed through our hands, this is only the second one we've ever seen with steel wheels (and the correct OE hubcaps!) and the bizarre leather-less steering wheel is an absolute first for us. The truly entry-level spec makes this so obscure, you wonder who on earth filled out the original order sheet but, fifteen years on, it's a large part of its charm.
1991 FIAT TIPO 1.8 DGT
Another ACA Classic Auction, another unfeted Italian car we were disappointed underbidders on. I absolutely fell in love with this car; under 60k miles from new, digital dash, a service history file as thick as the black plastics on the bumper and that angular Abarth body-kit fitted direct from the factory. Luckily, our mood was lifted by buying a glorious 155 2.5 V6 in the same sale.
1999 ALFA ROMEO 145 1.6 TWIN SPARK
Although the 145/146 range might now be garnering some attention and values have increased from the doldrums they sat in a couple of years ago, it's still mainly the 2.0 Cloverleaf / TI that the spotlight rests on. Which we think is unfair, because cars like this 1-owner, low mileage 1.6 we sold a few years back offer just as much fun and have precisely the same quirky styling.
1993 LANCIA DEDRA 2.0 IE
I suppose no right-hand-drive Lancia could ever claim to be truly ordinary, but if any model comes close it has to be the Dedra. And this one we sold just over a year ago was a base spec' powered by the 2.0 8v Lampredi twin-cam engine. The sublimely smooth drive was anything but ordinary, mind, and absolutely no journey could be considered less than luxurious when swaddled in the thick, beige alcantara.