The latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage doesn't feature a supercar, but this tiny Italian microcar. We love it!
After World War II and the financial repercussions that came with it, the masses were looking for an affordable means of getting mobile again. The micro car was a popular solution for many nations, and Fiat’s 500 was a huge success in Italy and the rest of the wold. However, with everyone and their mother driving one, how do you stand out? This Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile was the answer, and its the latest car to feature in Jay Leno’s Garage.
What is an Autobianchi? The marque produced fantastically stylish models based on the affordable Fiat 500 from 1957. Powered by a 499cc two-cylinder engine, the Bianchina retained its base car’s frugality but brought bespoke bodywork and a dose of glamour typically associated with far larger vehicles.
This particular Bianchina belongs to Peter Lenkov, who has been the executive producer of Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I., and MacGyver. Lenkov has only just acquired his little slice of Italy, but he’s already quite fond of the right-hand drive microcar. It looks fantastic in its red and white two-tone paintwork, complete with whitewall tires.
Jay Leno, despite his vast collection of high-performance cars, states that he loves vehicles that are too slow to get you into trouble. ‘Imagine a car where you will never ever get a speeding ticket. You can live your live knowing, foot to the floor… Nothing. Never a problem’ says Leno introducing the little car.
Hitting the road in the rear-engined machine, Leno relishes the chic micro cars with Italian cries of ‘ciao, ciao’. The Bianchina looks great on the streets of LA, injecting a bit of character to the sea of white and silver automobiles.
Building speed with all 18-horsepower working hard, Jay said: ‘40mph feels like the end of the world in this thing.’ A worn clutch didn’t stop the car from putting a huge grin on the ex-chat show host’s face.
So there you have it, the Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile. The Fiat 500 for those who want to stand out from the crowd.