This morning’s Mystery Car proved a little tougher than I originally thought, and while there were some close shots, nobody came up with the exact answer, which is. . .
a Fiat Moretti Sportiva II!
The Fiat Moretti is the result of the friendship between Giovanni Moretti and Gianni Angelli, then head of Fiat. And while they never dated, their relationship resulted in Fiat supplying Moretti with chassis and drivetrain components for the latter’s specially-bodied sportsters.
Moretti had been a full-fledged automaker and race car builder before the war but never regained its previous glory post-fascism, and by the late 1950s they eventually stopped building complete cars, and instead relegated themselves to the roll of coach-builder. The company survived, hand to mouth, until their final demise in the mid-seventies. Prior to that, Moretti had to swallow his pride and ask his friend for help in keeping the brand alive. During their heyday, Moretti boasted that his cars were all Moretti, and didn’t share any parts with his rival. But, like many small European car makers, hestruggled with profits and labor, which doomed him to the inevitable partnership with Angelli, and final shuttering of the marque.
The Sportivas were build in a small volume by Moretti between 1967 and 1973, and none was ever officially imported to the U.S.. But, as with many beautiful and desirable cars, some tenacious folks have managed to slip a few in under the radar. These days, their pre-’75 age makes that a lot easier here in California, where this car happens to reside.
The Sportiva uses much of the Fiat 850 including its 843-cc, 47-hp four, which hangs off the back end. The later cars rocked the 55-hp 903, giving the coupe slightly less underwhelming performance. Based on the 850 Berlina, the Sportiva’s 1,500-lb weight really taxed the little engine, and the quality control of the cars made even Fiats look good in comparison. The car, however, does look good in comparison to pretty much anything else, and hints of Fiat Dino spider and Ferrari coupe can be seen in its lines.
Relegated to the history books and the garages of a few lucky collectors, the Morettis show up on occasion to the surprise and delight of car enthusiasts. And the next time one does, you’ll know what it is.
For an orgy of Moretti cars click here.