Never Seen One: 1977 Moretti Minimaxi

In our continuing adventures of delving into automotive obscurities, we keep an eye out for vehicles like this 1977 Moretti Minimaxi, which is up for sale right now, here on eBay or here on Hemmings in Miami, Florida. What is it, you ask? Let us fill you in! Read on to find out more.

In the 1970s, fuel economy was important to the major auto markets around the world. Small cars and trucks were rapidly changing the automotive landscape in the United States, and Europe saw a big jump in demand for rugged and fun vehicles that didn’t sacrifice too much in the way of the aforementioned fuel economy. A company by the name of Moretti was already working on that.

Moretti Motor Company was founded in 1925 by Giovanni Moretti, expressly to build motorcycles. Eventually, that led to commercial vehicles, and passenger units from 1946 until closing their doors in 1989. During its time, Moretti used both in-house designs and other peoples’ components, and the Minimaxi is an excellent example of a combination of an original body with existing running gear.

Specific to this car, it utilizes the underpinnings and drivetrain from a Fiat 126, which means a 23 horsepower, 596cc two-cylinder gasoline engine, rear-mounted and mated to a four-speed transmission, driving the rear wheels. Earlier Minimaxi used Fiat 500 components, but the 500 was discontinued in 1975.

We’re told by the seller that it’s been recently imported from Italy, has good paperwork, it’s in excellent condition and has been restored in some way (We can overlook the “restored” part, though, can’t we?) From the description, and a brief search, we can gather that perhaps fewer than 1,000 were ever made, but we at Barn Finds couldn’t find exact numbers for you on a short deadline. We are treated to a number of good pictures and even a video, so kudos to the seller for giving that to us!

Overall, I agree with the seller that this bright yellow machine looks to be in excellent shape, and when was the last time you saw one ANYwhere, let alone on the road or at a show? I’ve certainly never see nor heard of these until now. I don’t know about you, but I want it, even if the $13,000 asking price is out of my budget. What say you, good people of the automotive world?


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  1. William Fox

    Yikes! Get broadsided by a Dodge Ram in THIS coffin! No thanks.

    Like 1
    • Jimmy Novak

      I’ll have to ask that of my motorcycle-riding neighbor (leaving out the “coffin” appelation; he flinches easily).

      Like 2
  2. Lou Rugani

    When motoring still carried an image of civility.

    Like 2
  3. Jerry K

    Didn’t Tattoo drive one of these on Fantasy Island?

    Like 1
  4. Raymond J Lawson III

    This is the same one that was on Bring-A-Trailer in June 2019. It was bid to $7,500 and didn’t sell.

    Very odd that they would show a photo of the rear seat back cushion with such a pronounced droop to the right in the diamond pattern. It makes you wonder what else got overlooked.

  5. H5mind

    Cute, but not $13K cute. I would opt for a VW Thing instead for similar money.

    Like 1
  6. chrlsful

    fiat Santia? Salta? what wuz it? Aint this the same thing (an 850 coach-builder). They LOOKED 4WD (like the veedub Thing) but weren’t?

    Y did these things all come out at the same time?

    I really like the interior, would love to drop the doors’n windshield BUT – I don’t live in SoCo (Berkshire hills of WessMass). What would EYE do w/it?

  7. Kenneth Carney

    Good luck finding parts if you break something. When I moved to Florida in
    the mid ’80s, if it didn’t say Ford, GM, or
    Chrysler, you couldn’t get service on anything like this let alone parts. I still
    recall the horror stories of folks that
    bought Yugos and how they had to pick
    through the wrecking yards just to find
    tune up parts for them. I think the same
    rules would apply to this car too. Add
    that to FIAT’s poor build quality, and you
    have a loser. As a kid I remember seeing
    one parked by the roadside that had
    broken down after the owner drove it down a brick street and vibrated the
    engine out of the car! And we all know
    what FIAT stands for don’t we?

  8. dogwater

    What is that license plate should say I died in a head on…

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