FIAT 128 Moretti Targa: A Breath of Fresh Air in the Utility Segment
In the annals of FIAT’s rich heritage, the 128 and 124 models stand out with an array of sports variants, both from the automaker and independent designers. Of these, the Moretti Targa, an open-air iteration, captures a unique essence. This derivative of the coupe was a brainchild of the Turin-based coachbuilder Moretti, endorsed and offered by FIAT’s extensive dealership network.
Comparing the motoring tapestry of Italy with its German and British counterparts reveals a fascinating trend. While the UK and Germany pride themselves on a myriad of distinct and independent brands, the Italian automotive realm often orbits around the behemoth: FIAT. This Turin titan’s influence is undeniable, with several Italian automakers finding their fate intertwined with FIAT’s strategic decisions.
Noteworthy acquisitions under FIAT’s banner include Alfa Romeo in 1987, Ferrari and Lancia in 1969, and Abarth in 1971. This conglomerate supported countless smaller workshops, providing them with chassis and mechanical components for various modifications. This collaborative spirit is evident in the FIAT 1100, whose foundation supported several custom sports cars, mirroring the adaptability of the 500, 600, 127, 128, and 850 models.
These models, though often mechanically enhanced, saw complete overhauls in their bodywork. This led to exquisite creations from giants like Pininfarina and Zagato, as well as from smaller gems like Moretti – a Turin establishment that evolved from producing motorcycles and commercial vehicles in 1925 to pioneering their own bespoke models.
By the late 50s, Giovanni Moretti faced challenges with the financial feasibility of producing unique chassis and engines. Leveraging his ties with Gianni Agnelli, Moretti secured a supply of base models from FIAT. Although this ensured Moretti’s autonomy, it effectively made them a specialized subsidiary, crafting enticing iterations like the FIAT 128 Targa.
FIAT 128 Moretti: The Pinnacle of the 128 Series
FIAT’s 128, launched in 1969, was envisioned to be what it became – a sensation from South America to Europe. As a successor to the venerable 1100 and a more economical alternative to the 124, the 128 was crafted to mobilize the masses without sidelining the desire for unique models.
FIAT’s intent was to captivate the youth, evident in the sporty 128 Rally of 1971. While its mechanics mirrored the sedan, its shortened chassis in the Sport Coupé and 3P models boasted potent engines for athletic prowess.
Answering the call for sporty renditions of affordable models, the 128 filled a void between the 850 Coupé and the premium 124 Sport. And from 1969 to 1976, the most elite of them all was the Moretti, available as a coupe and the rare, enthralling Targa, reminiscent of Porsche’s Targa-Florio successes.
Beauty and the Underpowered Beast
With Moretti’s focus on FIAT transformations, their creations, though forged at the Monginevro site, were perceived as official FIAT offerings. Consistently, Moretti introduced their unique spin on new FIAT models soon after their debut, resulting in the captivating FIAT 128 Moretti in 1969.
Crafted by Dany Brawand, inspired by Giovanni Michelotti, its design was a sight to behold. Yet, its mechanical prowess felt lackluster with a modest 1-liter 1S engine pushing out around 128CV. This disparity between its athletic aesthetics and underwhelming performance was a hurdle in its market reception. Coupled with its lofty price tag – almost twice that of the practical 127 – it’s no surprise that fewer than 80 Targa units found homes, as confirmed by Giovanni Moretti.
While the coupe enjoyed a warmer reception overseas, embracing its exotic allure despite its timid drive, efforts to invigorate it with a more robust 1290cc engine in 1975 felt too little too late. By 1976, the FIAT 128 Moretti bid adieu, cementing its place as one of the rarest gems in the 124 and 128 lineage.
This rare Moretti 128 Roadster was registered in 04.1971 in Switzerland and found it`s way to Germany in 2015. The Car was registered as a classic VEhicle and is ready to drive.
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