Evolution of The Fiat 2300s


The Fiat 2.3 Coupe was a bit of a mongrel; a mixture of this that and something else. It started life as the 1800 which was introduced in 1959; this was a very successful model which stayed in production until 1968. A larger version however, the 2.1, was introduced hoping that it would appeal to American buyers. It didn't. European buyers weren't impressed either.

Waste not want not however. The famed Italian coachbuilders Ghia took a look at it and decided that, if Fiat agreed, they would take the basic floorpan and create an attractive coupe from it, with a wraparound rear window to give good visibility and straight classical sides. They put the proposal to Fiat who like the idea and agreed to provide floorpans for it. The finished car was to be named the Fiat 2300S. Ghia owned a coach building company (sadly short lived) which had been set up to manufacture cars for fairly short runs and they were to assemble the 2.3S at their factory in Turin. It was first displayed to the world at the Turin Motor Show of 1961.

This was a fairly simple car mechanically; where possible Fiat preferred it that way since simple cars cost less to manufacture and tend to last longer; but the six cylinder 2279cc engine had been designed by Aurelio Lampredi, who had designed racing car engines for Ferrari, the Abarth racing car company had a hand in tuning the engine further, providing an additional carburettor, and the car was given four-speed automatic transmission, for the first time in a Fiat.

The Interior design could be best described as comfortable rather than luxurious; the car was after all aimed at middle management rather than plutocrats. It had power operated windows and other luxury fitments but it did attract some criticism because many felt that using vinyl for the seats instead of leather was an economy too far. However you can't please everyone.

This car was no sluggard. The pepped up engine produced 136 brake horsepower which gave it a maximum speed of around 120 miles an hour with acceleration from nought to 60 in about 10.5 seconds. However this motor was seemingly bullet-proof. There were other cars available at the time which could hit 120and more but the 2.3S was meant to be a grand touring car of the old school; and it could cruise all day at a hundred mph. Perfect for the long distance executive or junior diplomat.

The 2.3 range, which eventually included saloon and estate models, stayed on sale until 1969.

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