Italian Sedans that Have Turned Our Heads
Most of the time we think of Italian vehicles as the sports cars and the small but fun to drive city cars. We sometimes forget the automakers in Italy have created some of the most interesting and comfortable sedans as well as giving us two opposite ends of the spectrum. We can forget about the growling beasts that make their way on the track for now and the small but fun city cars and let these sedans have the spotlight for a moment even if most of them no longer are made for us to enjoy.
1953 Lancia Appia – This was a small but cool looking sedan that offered a design that featured suicide doors to allow easier access to the rear in a car that was small and gorgeous. This car was powered by a 1.1-liter V4 engine that made 48 horsepower and even though that doesn’t sound like much it was just enough for the Appia to be a ride you could cruise around on the country roads on the weekend in and enjoy the scenery around you.
1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlina – More of us are familiar with the Spider version, but there was a version of this car that had a hard roof that covered the fur doors and entire cabin to give us a car that carried passengers well even if it lacked the typical sex appeal that comes with the Alfa Romeo territory. This car was powered by the twin-cam four-cylinder engine that Alfa was known for at the time and helped to keep Alpha Romeo from heading into a sales decline after World War II.
1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Berlina – Because the Giulietta was such a successful car and so well loved the successor was made to be even better and came with a revised name. This was named as the RWD comeback car and even came as a race car which may have been the premise for what BMW eventually made into the M3. This original Giulia was a car that you wanted to drive even if it was a sedan and the model that gained the largest following was the Giulia TI Super.
1962 Fiat-Abarth 1500S – The original Fiat 1500 was a bit of a conventional car for us to admire, but when Carlo Abarth got his hands on it this car turned into something extremely special. Using the Fiat 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with two Weber carburetors the car was turned from your typical street sedan into one you could take to a race track and expect to have a great day of collecting trophies. This car is extremely rare and certainly a collector’s item today if you were to find one.
1963 Lancia Fulvia Berlina – This was the successor to the already successful Appia and it was a sedan that can be classified as ahead of its time. This car used a FWD layout and a narrow angle V4 to be a car that was admired and desired by many. Those who typically loved a RWD setup were easily turned to the Fulvia Berlina when they saw how well it performed on the dirt rally tracks of Europe. This car was one that helped continue the success of Lancia for many more years.
1963 Maserati Quattroporte – Maserati has had this name for many years and although it seems like a sexy name in English it really does only translate to “four-door” in Italian, which may be a bit of a letdown overall. This was the first four-door sedan from Maserati and it was powered by a 4.2-liter V8 originally and a 4.7-liter engine later. This engine was derived from a racing model to be an engine and have a car that carried the clout and power anyone would love in this gorgeous sedan.
1966 Fiat 124 – The 124 blazed the path for the Lada Riva which was one of the most produced cars of all time from Fiat. This little car was small and fun to drive even in the sedan form. It was a great blend between the space needed for a family to enjoy the drive and a city car that came it at the smaller size. This car was easy on the eyes even if it didn’t carry in a huge amount of power and it was one that many loved to have in their driveway.
1967 Iso Fidia – This car went by two names, the other being the Rivolta S4 and it was a beautiful four door sedan that appeared to have some of the most impressive sports features of any car. This was Giugario design that was powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine and claimed the title of the fastest four-door car in the world at the time of its production. That production run was short lived though as only 192 of these were ever made and they cost more than a Rolls-Royce at the time.
1985 Alfa Romeo 75 – This car was another that had two names, but in a more typical fashion. In Europe this car was the 75 and in the US it was the Milano. This was the last rear-drive car that was built before the Giulia that we are waiting to enjoy. There were two versions of this car you wanted to drive, the Turbo Evoluzione and the QV. The latter used the 3.0-liter V6 engine as its power plant, leaving nothing to the imagination as it tore up the streets.
1986 Lancia Thema 8.32 – This was a combination car that stuck out like a sore thumb or as one of the most impressive sedans of the time; you can decide. This car used a V8 that came from the Ferrari 308 but was set up in FWD by using a cross-plane crankshaft that had been built by Ducati. This combination made for an interesting car that many wanted to drive to feel the power of the massive engine sent to the front wheels.
2002 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA – Many of us argue that moving to front-wheel drive cars was the death of Alfa Romeo, but they seem to be alive and kicking. Not only has Alfa Romeo continued to give us amazing FWD vehicles they show us how these vehicles can be a match for some of the RWD models and the 156 GTA was a great examples with its 247 horsepower 3.2-liter V6 under the hood that made just as much power as the M3 of the time.
2003 Maserati Quattroporte – If you want to see sexy with four doors this is the car to look at and admire. Go ahead and step in for a spin and you will get to enjoy the V8 engine that came from the Ferrari 430 that makes use of a ZF automatic transmission for some of the best four-door driving you could imagine. This car was beautiful, sounded great and carried the name of Maserati with pride, sophistication and elegance.