1937 Fiat 1500
Lot 342
Offered with an entry to the 2013 Mille Miglia,1937 FIAT 1500 Cabriolet Chassis no. 16755 Engine no. 153624
Sold for £79,900 (US$ 134,217) inc. premium
Lot Details
Offered with an entry to the 2013 Mille Miglia
1937 FIAT 1500 Cabriolet
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia

Registration no. 697 YUM
Chassis no. 16755
Engine no. 153624


  • The FIAT 1500 was an all-new design that was first shown to the public at the Milan Motor Show in November 1935. Automotive engineers had begun to pay greater attention to aerodynamic considerations and the 1500 was an outstanding example of this newly acquired knowledge applied to passenger car design. Developed in a wind tunnel, the 1500's striking-looking body featured a raked back radiator grille intended to reduce aerodynamic drag, though this would be replaced by a more conventional, upright grille in 1940, no doubt at the dictates of fashion. Beneath the skin there was a tubular backbone chassis boasting independent front suspension, the latter making its first appearance on a FIAT car. The 1500's engine was a 1,493cc overhead-valve six that shared its 65x75mm bore/stroke dimensions with the contemporary four-cylinder Tipo 508 and produced a maximum of 45bhp, which was transmitted to the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox. Top speed was in the region of 70mph. The 1500 was also manufactured after WW2 and by the time the model was deleted in 1948 some 42,500 had been produced.

    FIAT offered open models as well as the standard saloon, and the 1500 chassis was popular with independent coachbuilders, that offered here featuring convertible coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin. Carrozzeria Ghia had been founded by Giacinto Ghia in 1919, soon establishing a reputation not just for luxury coachwork but also for bodying competition cars. Despite its founder's death in 1944 and wartime damage to the factory, Ghia resumed its place at the forefront of Italian coachbuilding after WW2, providing the training ground for many of Italy's rising-star designers: Michelotti, Boano, Frua and Savonuzzi all making a contribution to its continuing success.
    Chassis number '16755' was brought to South Africa in 1946 by the Italian Consul General, who had purchased it new in 1937. Around 1964 the car passed to one Theo Weyers and during his ownership was converted from left- to right-hand drive. The FIAT's next recorded owner is Alan De Meuter (from 1972) from whom it was purchased by Leonard Schneider in 1978, at which time it had been off the road with a blown cylinder head gasket for four years. Although in need of total restoration, the car was intact and complete.

    The FIAT's renovation was entrusted to the late Russel Wolpe, who carefully dismantled the body and made a new timber frame, the original being beyond salvation. Requiring extensive repairs, the body panels were refurbished by Nick Hendricks, who also remade the radiator grille and bumpers, while Noel Price re-upholstered the interior in leather and made a new convertible hood with inner lining. Greyvensteyn Engineering of Bloemfontein rebuilt the engine and the finished car returned to the road in 1997, the restoration project having taken some five years to complete.

    The FIAT came to the UK in 2011 and has had only one owner in this country, being used for local tours, trips to the pub, etc. Recent works include a service and a cut/polish of the paintwork. Currently MoT'd and taxed, the car is described as in generally very good condition and running very well, though the interior would benefit from a re-trim. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry restoration invoices, a photographic record of the rebuild, Swansea V5C document and a copy of an article in the South African Crankhandle Club's magazine outlining the car's history. Believed the only surviving FIAT 1500 with a Ghia body, this possibly unique car is eligible for the Mille Miglia and has an entry in the 2013 event.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this car has been registered with the Mille Miglia and does not come with a guaranteed entry to the event.
  1. Sholto Gilbertson
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 5809
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5802