Barchetta: Italian for Awesome.
Take this 1949(!) Stanguellini Barchetta Sport Colli 1100 currently in the inventory of Digit Motorsport in Arizona. In a method that Carlo Abarth would perfect decades later, the car is based on a Fiat chassis with an 1100 cc Fiat motor—both heavily modified by the Stanguellini crew in Modena. This is a pure Mille Miglia machine, with FIA papers tracing it’s history all the way back to it’s 1948 build date.
While there doesn’t seem to be any specific provenance placing this car at the Mille or Targa Florio, it’s hard to imagine that it never competed in either. 1949 was, after all, very early in sportscar manufacturing. It may only make a whopping 60 horses, but I imagine the thrill is every bit as visceral as driving the latest from Lamborghini or Ferrari.
I fell in love with the barchettas fully and completely at this year’s Continental Grand Prix at Autobahn Country Club at the foot of a Siata 300 Barchetta. I could barely tear myself away from it. Is there any barchetta of any make that isn’t magnificent? The Ferrari 166MM. The Maserati A6. The OSCA MT-4. The Siata I love so dearly. Each deserving of their own posts in a future installment of The Chicane. Hmm.. that’s a good idea.
The early Italian carrozzerias had it right, small engine, small body, beautiful lines.