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The story of Moretti: from Manufacturer to Coachbuilder

The early years

Moretti ‘s adventure begins with the tearful story of a born child on 21 July 1904 in a hamlet of Reggio Emilia who remains orphaned of father and went to work at eight years at his uncles shop. He is 12 when he started to work at the Officine Reggiane.

After 4 years, his mother died so he decided to start a new life, he sold his  bicycle and moved to Turin to work in a Electric motorcycle factory founded by his fellow friend Giovanni Ladetto. In his free time Giovanni rounds up earnings by repairing motorcycles and bikes in a closet that soon becomes a shop. In 1926 he builds the first motorcycle with Moretti brand, followed by a successful series of three-wheelers with engines of the Bolognese CM and, in 1928, a quadricycle with a motorcycle engine.

Giovanni Moretti's first motorcycle, 1926

Moretti: the beginning

It was in the second half of the thirties when the first Moretti car was built: the Moretti 500, a small three-seater torpedo car with a 500 cm³ two-cylinder front engine and rear-wheel drive. At the beginning of the war, in 1941 the company becomes officially Moretti s.p.a and during the war, given the scarce availability of fuel, Moretti build an electrically-powered truck with a capacity of 30 q, which was sold under the name of Elettrocarro and, with the same type of engine, Moretti produced an interesting car designed for public transport. It was a small minivan called Elettrovettura which can accommodate up to seven passengers. Production of both vehicles was limited and no surviving specimens are known.

Moretti

After the war, Moretti oriented himselves towards cars with classic combustion engine and unveiled the Cita (small, in the Piedmontese dialect). It was a micro car whose production would begin the following year and which obtained a moderate success. At first it mounted an 250 cc air cooled twin cylinder engine, then a water cooled 350 cc.

The success

In 1949 the in-house engineers, Giovanni Ladetto, Moretti’s former employer, Augusto Blatto and the same Giovanni Moretti, added two more cylinders to the engine of the Cita and put in production the 600, which remains in the price list til 1952. A 750 cc was later developed, which replaced the 600. Moretti production was characterized by high quality and the possibility of obtaining the models in multiple body configurations which include, in addition to the berlina, also coupé, spider and stationwagon versions.

Moretti offered as high-range engine a 1200 Bialbero, which then becomes 1500, without however never finding a real productive outlet. Backbone of production was the 750, equipped with the robust four-cylinder engines with overhead camshaft, with which they maintained well their position in the market thanks also to the partnership with Giovanni Michelotti, who designed a wide rage of beautiful bodies.

Meanwhile, a limited series of 750 twin-shaft promotes the brand image with in the race business: in the Second Trans-African Rallye two Moretti 750s driven by Mario Vaglia and Paolo Butti started from Algiers on December 31, 1952 and arrived in Cape Town on February 20 1953 after 16,000 kilometers of desert, ranking first and second of the class 1100 e overtaking major cars displacement in the overall classification. Another race with a pioneering flavor is the World Raid of 120,000 kilometers across Europe, Africa, Asia and America made by Luciano Albiero e Giulio Piccoli from 14 June 1952 to June 12, 1955 on a Moretti 600 Giardinetta with its engine sealed by a notary to verify its robustness.

The Moretti 600 Giardinetta at the end of the raid around the world, 1952

In honor of the first African raid the 750 models of 1954 are called “Alger le Cap“. In 1956 they change its name becoming “Record du Monde 120,000 km ”, finally renamed in 1958 “Tour du Monde”. In that year the renewed 750 Tour du Monde, presented as a world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, seemed to be able to project Moretti as industrial car manufacturer

From manufacturer to coachbuilder

But the events didn’t take the excepted turn. The financial effort to start the production in the plant in via Monginevro and the model policy ambitiously articulated on too many variations of bodywork become obstacles that prevent success. Also the advent of the Fiat 600 and, later, of the Fiat 500, put Moretti cars out of the market due to the high costs of small series production and, at the end of the 1950s, this forced Moretti to surrender, which he renounces to the role of builder and seeked an agreement with Fiat to become one of the main coachbuilders for Fiat special versions.

Moretti

In 1959, the engineers of Via Monginevro rediscovered their skills as manufacturer building an very original 500 Giardiniera with front-wheel drive, which cannot be defined as “coachbuilt” nor a real Moretti. In fact, only the engine and a few other mechanical elements comed from Fiat, while the rest was designed, patented and built in autonomy. The small and practical front-wheel drive could find a vast market, if not little time after, Fiat had not presented its 500 Giardiniera, much simpler and less expensive with the rear engine. Luckily the failure of the 500 with front-wheel drive was largely offset by the excellent acceptance of the Fiat models with Moretti bodywork.

In the sixties, freed from the weight of the design and construction of mechanical parts, Moretti churned out an impressive series of models based on Alfa Romeo, Maserati and FIAT, always characterized by excellent levels of finish and assembly and, often, masterfully designed by Giovanni Michelotti who, for Moretti, designed about thirty models. Not to forget, one of the strengths of the coachbuilder: the organized sales network from Moretti when it was manufacturer.

Moretti production 1964

In 1964 Moretti S.p.A. expanded its headquarters and had 145 employees; the plant occupied an area of 9,000 m², while the annual production was of 1,500 units. The same year, the Fiat 850 replaced the 600 in the Moretti range, while the Swiss designer Danny Bravand, ex employee of Michelotti, was hired to design the new models. Among the most successful creations of Bravand was the 850 series Sportiva and 850 S2 produced in 1500 specimens. These sporty cars with an aggressive design re-propose on a reduced scale the lines with the inflated fenders of the Ferrari Dino.

The decline of Moretti

In the seventies the company drastically reduced the offerred range and changing the company name to Moretti Sas, limiting itself to creating special versions of the most popular FIAT cars, such as the 126 Minimaxi and 127 Midimaxi and the refined 128 Coupé and 128 Roadster models, valuable models. which will achieve some success in sales.

A short time later, the Panda “Rock” made its debut, another small car for free time that collects a good success flanked by the Fiat Uno “Folk” and the Ritmo. These models conclude the productive history of the company that has been led by the brothers Gianni and Sergio Moretti, sons of Giovanni.

The Fiat Uno Folk by Moretti

At the beginning of the nineties the story seems finished, but the coachbuilder Scioneri toke over the Moretti brand and kept it alive in order to use its well articulated commercial network.

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Coachbuilder
Coachbuilder
2 years ago

Born as a manufacturer, died as a coachbuilder

Classic cars have a universal appeal for collectors and people all around the world. In particular, the Fiat 500 is an iconic classic car model known for its charming nature and unique aesthetic. It is clear to see how popular the Fiat 500 is as the brand has sold millions of cars worldwide. With the Fiat 500 car continuing to turn heads even today, let’s explore how it has continued to stay relevant in modern society.

The Fiat 500 which is also known as the “Cinquecento” has truly cemented a place for itself in contemporary culture. Having been designed by Dante Giacosa and launched in July 1957, the Fiat 500 is hailed for its compact size and alluring appearance. Its practical nature also means that it can be easily parked which is perfect for those who are skeptical about their driving or people who are just learning to drive. However, it is also respected by experienced drivers who want to show off their prized possession.

The Fiat 500 has a long and rich history. Having been introduced in 1957, it paved the way for many small cars to enter onto the scene. Its compact size, less than 3 meters long and air-cooled, two-cylinder engine makes it the ideal choice for urban driving. However, it still boasts a sizeable interior meaning that drivers of this car can store their objects with no problem.

This model lasts 200,000 to 250,000 miles with proper care meaning that you can keep it for a long time without having to replace it. There are several things that can be done to lengthen the lifespan and reliability of a Fiat 500 car. For example, ensuring that your Fiat 500 has dependable tires is crucial for safety, performance, and overall driving experience. With this type of car, regular maintenance is necessary to ensure it performs to the best of its ability in the long run.

Over the years, there have also been several Fiat 500 models released, keeping car collectors intrigued. The 500 has produced a long line of Fiats, including models such as the 850 series and the 850 Spider. While it seemed for a while that the Fiat 500 car had lost its appeal, the appeal of the Fiat 500, was renewed once again in 2007 when Fiat introduced a modern version of the classic city car that incorporated the iconic design elements while meeting contemporary standards.

The cultural impact of the Fiat 500 is equally notable. It has made its way into art, clothing choices and culture. From appearing in films like “The Italian Job”, to being showcased in magazines, the Fiat 500 has made its way into every aspect of modern culture. The Fiat 500 is also regularly showcased on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok which has further accelerated the growth and popularity of this type of car. Even celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney have been associated with the Fiat 500s which has further integrated this type of car into contemporary culture.

Nowadays, with a modern interest in electric cars, the Fiat 500e has been released which is the electric version of the 500 that is eco-friendly. With a 42kWh battery, it can offer a range of up to 149 miles before needing to be recharged. This makes it ideal for travelling around towns or cities as well as going on short trips. The Fiat 500 brand is continuing to stay relevant by promotion subscriptions and car-sharing. Although there is plenty of rival car brands making a name for themselves in the world of electric cars, the Fiat 500 is a symbol of timeless elegance.

Overall, with an impressive legacy and a promising future, the Fiat 500 is a well-received car on a global scale. With its timeless appeal, the car is certainly going to be relevant for all generations to come.