1953 Fiat 1100-103 Vignale Coupe
Being released in early 1953, it’s possible that Vignale’s 1100 Coupe was actually built on the previous generation 1100, which was still a body-on-chassis design. This would have made any comprehensive rebodying work easier than on a monocoque - and the Vignale job was certainly comprehensive.
In place of the boxy factory body, Vignale created a sleek coupe shape, with a low roof and pronounced rounded tips to the guards at each end.
Designed by Vignale’s Giovanni Michelotti (who would go on to much bigger and better things), the 1100 Coupe’s bonnet flowed to the grille, which was more like a pre-war design, in the upright style, while the headlights were placed low down and in oblong tunnelled openings (think Jensen CV8).
That bold, chromed grille meant there was no front bumper, just bumperettes either side of it. One period image of an 1100 Coupe shows an additional pair of bumperettes gracing the upper section of those projecting front guards.
Vignale applied several different bodies to the 1100. Most were coupes that also applied more exotic names than the original – ‘Desiree’, ‘Printemps’, ‘Charmant’ and the quite boastful ‘Wonderful’. There were a couple of wagons applied to the basic platform and even a taxi version. Some showed the 1100/103 origins, others were complete makeovers that, like the 1100 Coupe, left them barely recognisable as Fiats.
What’s interesting about the 1100 Coupe is that only two are believed to have been built in the style by Vignale.
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