Swivel Seats: 1958 Fiat 1200 TV Spider – Sold?

by | Jul 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

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September 1, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “ClassiFIND” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar

For women wearing shorter-length dresses, getting out of a sports car can become embarrassing if they are not careful.  In the late 1950s, women’s fashion consisted primarily of dresses, so Fiat engineers developed a solution: swivel seats.  By swiveling the seats, women could exit a car in a much more demure manner. Fiat’s 1200 Trasformabile, or “TV” for short, was the first sports car to feature swivel seats, and we’re just not sure why this concept never expanded beyond the Fiat flowed later by Chrysler Imperials in the 1960s and General Motors “Colonnade” hardtops in the 1970s.

Popular in Europe when new, the 1200 TV never caught on stateside. Consequently, this red 47K-mile restored 1958 Fiat 1200 Trasformabile for sale, first spotted on Craigslist in July 2023 in Cohasset, Massachusetts, is a stunning example we rarely see, especially on Craigslist.  In our typical quest for each feature car’s history revealed rival website PCar Market unsuccessfully auctioned this very car in March of 2023 when the high bid laded at only $37,500.  Visit that completed auction listing, and the pictures used in this Craigslist ad are carryovers from the unsuccessful spring auction.  This stunning car is yet another example of PCar Market’s inability to woo many bidders beyond its core Porsche focus.

Last offered for $42,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is right in line with this guide’s five-year results for all Fiat 1200 TVs produced between 1957 and 1959 sold at auction.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for in the past:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $35,000 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $57,000.

From 1957 through 1959, Fiat produced three distinct cars based on the company’s entry-level 1100 series mechanicals.  The first two were introduced in 1957 and replaced the TV (Turismo Veloce) variants at the top of the Fiat 1100 range: the 1200 Granluce, an upmarket small four-door sedan derived from the 1100, and the 1200 Spyder, an update of the previous 1100 TV Trasformabile 2-door roadster. The 1200 Granluce was discontinued in 1961 when larger Fiat saloons were introduced, while the 1200 Trasformabile/Spyder was replaced in 1959 by the 1200 Cabriolet. This was a new Pininfarina design, later developed into the 1200 and 1500 Cabriolets.

At the 1957 Turin Motor Show, alongside the Granluce saloon, Fiat also introduced the 1200 TV Trasformabile two-seater roadster. It was an updated Fiat 1100 TV Trasformabile using the 1200 engine, and it was called the 1200 Spider in export markets. Exterior changes from the earlier model were minimal and included new front and rear bumpers with taller over-riders moved further inboards. Inside there was a strip speedometer, and the saloon’s steering wheel replaced the wood-rimmed, aluminum-spoked one of the Trasformabile. A novelty feature was swiveling seats, which rotated outwards to facilitate ingress and egress.

The PCar Market YouTube Channel still features the start up and driving video of the 1958 Fiat 1200 Spider featured here:

With less than two thousand made and very few imported to the U.S., this 1958 Fiat 1200 Spider for sale appears to be a finely restored example. While the restorer took the liberty of adding steering wheel and wheel cover enhancements, the original bits will be included as part fo the sale.

If you are serious about buying this 1200 Spider, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their vintage Fiat Roadster featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1958 Fiat 1200 TV Spyder fully restored rare car of less than 2000 made and designed by Luigi Rapi of Pininfarina fame every part of this car was either restored or replaced needs nothing long-term ownership from 1967-2017 comes with books manual/ brochure original spare original title/ even the key fob/ original steering wheel and hubcaps included as well

Show or go: what would you do with this 1958 Fiat 1200 Spider? Please comment below and let us know!

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