Parts Car? 1962 Fiat Pininfarina Cabriolet

There are few sights sadder than a classic Italian sports car that has developed significant rust problems. That has been the fate of this 1962 Fiat Pininfarina Cabriolet, and the owner is very candid about its condition. He would love nothing more than to restore this little gem that he inherited from his brother, but he has waved the white flag and concedes that its fate will probably be as a parts car. However, maybe someone out there would love to restore the little Fiat despite the potential cost. Regardless of which camp you fall into, you will find the Cabriolet located in East Nashville, Tennessee, and listed for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. This isn’t a car that will cost a million dollars because the owner is willing to listen to offers.

When you hear the words “Italian classic project car,” there is a better than even chance that the first thought that pops into your head will revolve around the question of rust. Sadly, this little beauty has more than its share, and it has exacted a heavy toll on the car. As well as the rust that is visible in the rockers and lower fenders, the tin worm has done its best to consume the floors. All of that could be repaired, but it has also found its way into the frame. That means that the Fiat has some real structural issues. Nothing is beyond repair if you throw enough money at it, and there might be someone out there who is willing to tackle a restoration. However, I think that it is more likely that the Medium Red Cabriolet will be dismantled. If that is its fate, that will be a tragedy. However, it does represent a fantastic source of parts if the buyer has another project on the go. It looks like most of the bolt-on panels are sound, and the glass seems okay. The soft-top has a tear, but the frame and bows are in a respectable state. Most of the external trim and chrome pieces are present, and while they don’t look that flash, they are certainly a restorable proposition.

I was hoping for some positive news from a mechanical standpoint, but the Cabriolet cannot deliver on that front. Under the hood is the original 1,221cc 4-cylinder engine that would have produced 62hp. This power found its way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. With such a small amount of power on tap, it is no surprise that the trip down the ¼ mile would have taken 20.9 seconds. However, when you sit as close to the road as you do in the Cabriolet, everything feels distinctly faster. The Fiat has been sitting for at least 30-years, and it has paid the price for this lack of activity. The engine is locked, while the same is true of the rear brakes. The buyer will need a trailer with a strong winch to load the car because it sounds like getting the rear wheels to turn freely is not going to be a five-minute job. The vehicle does appear to be mechanically complete, so there will be plenty of parts that the buyer could salvage once again.

I was so hoping that the Fiat’s interior would bring some good news, and while it looks dilapidated, at least it is complete. The gauges and wheel don’t look bad, while the dash still houses its original radio. The door trims look like they could be restored, and while the seats are shredded, their frames look to be okay. There are also plenty of smaller pieces like handles and trim that could be saved, so this interior is like a little Aladdin’s Cave of parts.

I would love to think that someone will grab this 1962 Fiat Pininfarina Cabriolet and return it to its former glory, but I believe that the chances of that happening are relatively slim. It seems that the owner has already investigated this possibility and has discovered that it is not financially viable. However, some enthusiasts out there will say “hang the expense” and restore classics like this regardless of the cost. If that happens, that would be wonderful. If it has to be sacrificed so another car can live, I am comfortable with that idea. Have you got one of these on the go as a project? If you have, it might be worth looking at this one for parts. It could be money well spent.

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  1. Phlathead Phil

    Perhaps the ‘Society for the Nonproliferation of Rust’ should be notified about the bumper issue?

    Like 2
  2. alphasud Member

    Poor little car! It will take a lot of work to make presentable and roadworthy. Question is are there any passionate Fiat aficionados other there to take on the challenge?will you ever recoup your losses?

  3. Fred W

    It’s a sad case, but at least maybe the seller isn’t delusional about what he will get for it.

    Like 1
  4. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    This one is right where it belongs, parked on the side of the road somewhere…but at least its out of the traffic lane.

  5. chgrec Member

    It would be tragic if this car is parted out….i have restored much worse but this one will be a labor of love since the upside likely won’t cover the cost unless most of the work is done at home. A great looking car when restored that some capable DIY’er would be proud to own.

    Like 1
  6. Tom Winkes

    Hey, Jay Leno!

    Like 1
  7. Martin Horrocks

    Unfortunately a lot of effort, time and money would give up a nice example of a not great car. How much would you want to drive it?

    It can provide some hard to find parts for other projects.

  8. chrlsful

    my very 1st car, the 1 that send me down 10 yrs of sm car purchases, restores/maintaninence, driving & sales (alfas, fiats, A.H. 3000) as a kid (16 – 26). All my buddies had the stang, 442, etc. I liked these. This model was a 1200 I think (they grew over the yrs). It could do 60 in 1st gear. Something that all ways amazed me. Felt pretty good when after 9 mo of work and 6 mo of driving an adult came from the mid west w/a box job, put some cash in my hand and loaded it up…’hooked’ for a decade of fun. ‘S not abt re-sale but free drivin till the nxt one. I enjoyed it early ’70s, now back “in retirement”~

    Like 2
  9. Kim

    The pedigree is there, the grill brought to mind Lancia. Oh I love my Italian cars but as my collection still has a couple that are yet unrestored, this one would not likely make it to the restoration point before I myself are beyond restoration. I hope someone younger than me finds that list for Italian classics.

    Like 1
  10. Mack

    Fiat PININFARINA? Man, at first glance, from the front, I thought it was a Studebaker Lark . . .

  11. PeterfromOz

    In the photo of the engine bay it looks as though the steering drag links are above the engine at the rear. In the very foreground looks to be the top of the steering box or something. Does anyone know what those links are and how they work?

  12. Bill McCoskey

    Steering linkage on the Fiat 1100 was unusual for it’s placement. It’s basically like many cars with a center pivot steering link, with a connecting link from the steering box to the upper center link pivot. The lower end of the center steering link is just above the clutch housing, and it has 2 long tie-rods down to the steering arms on the front spindles.

    Most cars had everything on the underside of the motor/chassis. The Fiat 1100 had all the parts up high. It also made the RHD/LHD situation much simpler. Just locate the steering box on the other side of the engine, with the same connecting link simply flipped 180 degrees to the steering box.

    Hope this description helps, I was unable to find an exploded diagram on the internet.

    Like 2
  13. PeterfromOZ

    Thank you Bill. I also note that the steering wheel shaft is positioned relativly flat which would allow the body designers to sit the car lower on the ground.

  14. Araknid78

    I had one of these with the 1600cc OSCA twin-cam. Great car. I actually traded it for my first 124 because I needed something more reliable, if you can believe that.

    Like 1
  15. Jeff L.

    What’s scrap iron worth by the pound?

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