Could the Pick of the Day be the ultimate beach cruiser? The car in question is a rare and tiny 1958 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformable, whose name seems longer than its wheelbase.
“Transformable” signifies the open-top version of the Bianchina, with a sliding fabric roof that pulls back from the windshield while the body sides and windows remain in place. This Special version was the rarest of that model, with its Fiat-derived 479cc 2-cylinder engine boosted to 21 horsepower from the standard 18 and sporting a 2-tone paint job.
The scant horsepower was not a major issue since the car weighs just 1,120 pounds. The Bianchina was based on the platform of the ubiquitous Fiat 500, and the Transformable was designed by Lugi Rapi, according to the Laguna Beach, California, dealer advertising the diminutive craft on ClassicCars.com.
Laguna Beach does indeed seem like the kind of place where you’d spot such a charming minicar. Although in Italy, where the Fiat 500 was vastly popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Bianchina Transformable would have fit in just about anywhere.
“This unique car represents the mid-century Italian design and was presented to the public September 16, 1957, at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy,” the seller notes in the ad description. “The car is finished with brilliant red and creme paint, black Hartz cloth top and saddle-tan interior, suicide doors, rollup windows, and the correct bias-play whitewall tires.”
By the numbers, the Bianchina has a 72-inch wheelbase, is 119 inches long and stands 52 inches tall. The inline-4 engine is located in the rear and linked with a 4-speed manual transmission. Besides the Transformable, the car was offered in 1958 as a 2-door sedan, a cabriolet with a full convertible top, Panoramica station wagon and Furgoncino commercial van.
The asking price for this Bianchini is $42,500, which dollar-to-pound might seem like a lot, although for a minicar collector – of which there are many – this could be valued as a little gem. And as a California coastal cruiser, priceless.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.