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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.


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.


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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2 years ago

Born as a manufacturer, died as a coachbuilder

Celebrating 115 years of Carrozzeria Garavini, the brand sees its rediscovery and relaunch in the world of cars, design and elegance.

At Garavini, craftsmanship, manufacture and uniqueness come together to create works of art on wheels that go beyond the concept of a simple means of transport to become symbols of passion and refinement.

115 years after its foundation, the company has decided to start again with the Alfa Romeo 4C, in the 10th anniversary year of the model’s presentation, in collaboration with the IAAD in Turin. This partnership between the historic brand and the design institute represents an opportunity to create a high-end sports car that combines outstanding Italian aesthetics with the best technologies.

Poltu Quatu immediately turned out to be the ideal location for the premiere of the project, thanks to the famous Concours d’Elegance which, as the perfect combination of worldliness, elegance and the joy of living the dolce vita, allows the meeting from all over the world of those enthusiasts who, more than anyone else, can appreciate the value and style of a vision such as Garavini’s.

The project takes its inspiration from the 1930s Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 by Garavini, the star of the Italian Dolce Vita and the birth of the classic car movement in Italy. The Garavini Perenne represents an extraordinary sports car that combines the Italian tradition of elegance and style with innovation and high quality craftsmanship. Garavini’s tribute to the model, the 4C, which, with its debut 10 years ago, decreed the real relaunch of Alfa Romeo, is no coincidence: symbolic value, as happens in all valuable initiatives, has a decisive weight in the conception and realisation of unique products.

The soul of the project is Luca Babbini, a young entrepreneur with experience in research and development for various industries, in particular the automotive industry. Babbini’s path, which started at IAAD and has been refined through subsequent collaborations, has always been linked to a passion for luxury, not so much as a material passion, but derived from the emotion that an object or an experience conveys.

“When I crossed Garavini’s path,” explains Luca Babbini, Garavini Design Director, “with family origins and values that can be traced back to mine, I thought it was a sign: the awareness of this affinity has allowed us to give life to a new chapter, a reality in which passion for craftsmanship, luxury and family heritage come together. The Garavini Perenne will be an opportunity to enhance the Turin area but in an international key, thanks to the freshness and desire to do that only a young team, such as that of Garavini and that of the IAAD master’s degree course in Transportation Design, can guarantee.”

On 8 July on the occasion of the Poltu Quatu Classic, a preview of the concept on which the students of the IAAD master’s course in Transportation Design are working, reasoning and declining the Garavini values of elegance and attention to detail, aimed at creating a modern classic with a first series of 15 examples, which aspires to become a timeless model, a source of inspiration for the present and the future. The lines are classic, inspired by a sporty use that smells of fresh air and speed. Driving pleasure is at the heart of the design with a set-up dedicated to usability on the road as well as on the track.

Again Luca Babbini: ‘The valorisation of young people is a key aspect of the project: it always seems, in the common narrative, that unreachable challenges and moments of continuous crisis await us, but the future is full of opportunities and style and beauty are not a closed chapter. The creation of new classics is the true ambition of a project, which looks to the future aware of its past but with the confidence that it can still make a difference. The Turin area, then, is rich in excellent craft realities with which to create synergies and develop a true pole of high craftsmanship. There is nothing to stop us from looking beyond the automotive field and broadening the declination of our values with incursions into other sectors… in short, there is a lot to build on, and the Garavini lifestyle begins today with Garavini Perenne.

The result of this partnership is a high-end compact sports car with a sculptural aesthetic design. Garavini is committed to satisfying a discerning international audience that appreciates the art of automotive design and Italian craftsmanship. The ability to excite both long-time enthusiasts and new customers is a challenge Garavini sets itself, aiming to create a fascinating and successful future for the brand.

The Garavini Perenne will be released in 2025.