This is a Fiat Moretti Sportiva from 1968 – it’s one of only 300 or so that were made in total, and today it remains a largely unknown yet undeniably beautiful sports car from the era with surprisingly affordable running costs.

The Sportiva was based on the running gear of the Fiat 850, a small and affordable rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car built by Fiat. Later versions of the Sportiva had the more powerful 982cc engine, and thanks to the model’s low weight and independent front and rear suspension it was a significant performer in its displacement class.

Fast Facts – The Fiat Moretti Sportiva

  • The Moretti Motor Company was founded in 1925 by Giovanni Moretti. It was initially a motorcycle manufacturer and the company quickly proved successful. By the 1920s they diversified into the microcar genre, using their pre-existing motorcycle engines.
  • During WWII Moretti began to produce a series of electric trucks and electric cars, these used none of the diesel or petrol that was strictly rationed at the time, and as such they proved popular and sold well.
  • After the war the company began producing conventional cars, and Giovanni Moretti came to an agreement with his old friend Gianni Agnelli, the head of Fiat, which gave him favorable terms to use Fiat chassis, running gear, and drivetrains in his automobiles. This allowed him to cut costs significantly and remain in business.
  • The Fiat Moretti Sportiva was a child of this agreement with Agnelli. It was based on the chassis and running gear of the Fiat 850, but it was clothed in an impossibly beautiful body penned by Dany Brawand.
  • The Moretti Sportiva was rear-engined and rear-wheel drive just like the Fiat 850, and it offered excellent performance in its displacement class thanks to its low curb weight of only 1,500 lbs (680 kgs). Approximately 300 would be built between 1967 and 1971.

Symbiotic Savior: Agnelli and Moretti

If it wasn’t for the close friendship between Giovanni Moretti and Gianni Agnelli, head of Fiat, the Moretti Motor Company would likely have not survived to the beginning of the 1960s. This friendship resulted in an agreement between Moretti and Fiat to use Fiat chassis and running gear under Moretti’s cars, with highly favorable terms.

Fiat Moretti Sportiva

Image DescriptionThe styling of the Fiat Moretti Sportiva was completed by Swiss designer Dany Brawand who had formerly worked at Ghia, and was head of the Moretti Styling Centre in Turin, Italy.

Of course, it wasn’t a deal only done to save Moretti. Gianni Agnelli was known as a brilliant businessman and his deal with Moretti bears this out, as it resulted in a series of beautiful sports cars carrying the Fiat name, powered by Fiat engines, and all at no cost to Fiat who actually made a profit on each powered chassis they shipped to Moretti.

The first Fiat Morettis began to appear in 1961 based on the Fiat 1100/103 H. Sporting versions of various Fiats soon began to appear with beautiful bodies designed and built at Moretti, including the influential Moretti Fiat 2500 SS Coupé.

The Fiat Moretti Sportiva

The Fiat Moretti Sportiva would debut in 1967 but it had been first shown to the public at the Turin Motor Show in 1965. A year later at the Turin Motor Show of 1966 the Fiat Dino Spider was introduced, and perhaps coincidentally but undoubtably fortunately for Moretti the front end of the car shared more than a passing resemblance to the Sportiva.

The design of the Moretti Sportiva had been completed by Swiss designer Dany Brawand who had earlier worked under Giovanni Michelotti at Ghia.

By the mid-1960s Brawand was the head of the Moretti Styling Centre in Turin, Italy and in this role he was responsible for many of Moretti’s most memorable cars including the Moretti 124 Coupé, the Midimaxi, the Panda Rock, and of course, the Sportiva.

Fiat Moretti Sportiva 3

Image DescriptionWith a curb weight of just 1,500 lbs (680 kgs) the Sportiva is a lightweight by any measure. Many owners have modified them for more power, resulting in spritely performance.

The underpinnings of the Moretti Sportiva all came from the Fiat 850. A relatively staid but affordable two-door compact car that Fiat had put into production in 1964, which was essentially a development of the earlier Fiat 600 from the 1950s.

The Fiat 850, and subsequently the Moretti Sportiva, had independent front and rear suspension, four wheel drum brakes, and a rear-mounted 850cc engine producing 47 bhp at 6,000 rpm which was all sent back through a 4-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels.

Later versions of the Sportiva would receive the later 982cc engine producing 61 bhp and front disc brakes. The car would be produced as a two-seat coupe initially, followed by a two-seat convertible and a four-seater. The two-seat coupe was the S2 model of which approximately 52 were made, and these are widely considered the most desirable today.

Many Sportiva owners have upgraded their cars over the years, typically with larger Fiat engines, some with engines that have been modified by Abarth, and produce significantly more power than stock. Through the Sportiva was never the fastest car it was never really designed to be, it was an elegant sports car in the sub-1000cc class, perhaps the most elegant available in the world at the time.

The Fiat Moretti Sportiva S2 you see in this article is currently being offered for sale out of Calabria, Italy with 70,000+ kms on the odometer. This vehicle retains its matching numbers engine however it has been increased in displacement to 1000cc and given lightweight aluminum pistons to boost performance.

Fiat Moretti Sportiva 10

Image DescriptionThe engine in this Sportiva was rebuilt recently, it now has a displacement of 1000cc as well as lightweight aluminum pistons, offering significantly more power than it had in stock condition.

It rides on original Borrani wire wheels fitted with new Michelin AXS tires, it has silver paintwork over a tan interior, recently redone chrome work, and the underside of the car presents in excellent condition with no sign of corrosion – rust being a major killer of Fiats from this era.

If you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid you can visit the listing here on Car & Classic.

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Images courtesy of Car & Classic

Published by Ben Branch -