Turin, Italy – Hidden inside the heart of Mirafiori is the historical Fiat production plant, FCA Heritage. The department that deals with communication and promotions of FCAs activities on the history of the Group’s brands, founded the Heritage Hub exhibition.
Situated in the original building built in the mid-1960s to house mechanical workshops dedicated to the production of transmission parts, the exhibition covers 15,000 m2 of space showcasing over 250 vehicles produced by the Fiat, Lancia and Abarth brands, some of them never seen in public before. And trust me, there are few pieces that literally never left the R&D department.
Among all these cars, 64 are displayed in eight “transversal” theme areas, each of which contains eight models from different brands and periods:
- Small and Safe: houses a selection of models that combined maximum safety with minimum dimensions. In this section you will find some early but original automotive research for enhanced driving safety like the Fiat City Taxi (1968), a vehicle for public use with an unusual asymmetrical lateral flank, and the ESV 1500 and ESV 2000 models, both specifically designed to analyze safety and resistance in the event of a collision. (rubber was still considered the best protection in a collision).
- Epic Journeys: which celebrates cars that made famous and unforgettable road journeys like the ’77 London to Sydney epic travel undertaken by two women onboard of a Fiat/Abarth 131 Diesel.
- The Rally Era: reserved for models that wrote glorious pages in the annals of the world of rallies. If you are a Rally enthusiast you may find some really interesting cars like the Lancia 037, Delta S4, Fulvia HF 1600, the almighty Delta HF and even the legendary Stratos HF with the historical Alitalia Livery.
- Eco and Sustainable: Here you will find interesting concept studies focused on low consumption or low emissions. Some examples are the 1999 Fiat Ecobasic equipped with an innovative a 1.2 diesel engine or the Fiat Panda Aria (“Air”) showing off some fancy polycarbonate transparent body panels but equipped with a very efficient and clean dual fuel (ethanol+hydrogen) 900cc 2 cylinder engine.
- Style Marks: shows a series of “milestones” that left their visual mark on the history of motorcar design.
- Archistars: eight technical masterpieces that introduced significant innovations in motorcar architecture, in terms of functionality and manufacture like the Fiat 500 Topolino A designed by Dante Giacosa to the 600 – the family car par excellence in the years of the Italian economic boom and up to the Fiat Panda and Uno, two of the most important modern utility successes.
- Concepts and “fuoriserie”: special series and ultra-rare models, some unique one-offs, some utopian dreams. This thematic island therefore boasts some very different examples but two car definitively got my attention: the Abarth 2400 Coupé Alemanno by Carlo Abarth (his very personal car) and the precious Lancia Flaminia Coupé Loraymo
- Records and Races: the legendary racing cars with the most prestigious triumphs, record-breakers and heroes. Yes here again Lancia left its marks, on the Tarmac this time, with two Endurance race champions: the Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo and the LC2. Another car that worth mentioning is the Fiat Abarth 750 Record that in ’56, on Monza circuit, set the record over the 24-hour distance but also collected other 5 records in the following days on the 5,000 km, 5,000 miles and 10,000 km distance and 48 hours and 72 hours duration.
Amazing time travel, no doubt! But a big question arise now, can I visit this place? Well not at the moment… We haven’t been informed about an exact date yet, but there is a good chance the museum will be open to the public soon and all the hidden goodness will be shared with all FCA brands enthusiasts.
Words and Photos by Yaron Esposito