If there's a cliché of the typical Italian, it's Renzo Rivolta. Spirited, impatient, full of ideas and enterprising. The businessman had become rich with refrigerators, got into the booming two-wheeler production after the end of the war and started the car company Iso Autoveicoli SpA in the early 1950s with the Isetta from his company in Bresso. With BMW taking over the license, the Italian smooch ball became a successful Bavarian model, but Rivolta wanted more.
Automotive tastes come in various forms and are often influenced by those around us. For many of us, once that interest is ignited, a lifelong journey begins. In Lou Jasper’s case, his late Uncle Joey ignited his passion for all things automotive. He recalls, “When I was about 5 years old, he pulled into our driveway in a ’71 ’Cuda. It had a 440 with a six-pack and I thought it was the greatest car.
Even among Italian car aficionados, we expect a few eyebrows to be raised over our choice of the humble Fiat 128 as one of the 12 greatest cars ever made in Italy. But permit us, if you will, to set out our stall. Launched in March 1969, we contend that the 128 was one the single most important popular cars of modern times. It was truly ground-breaking, marking the point when front-wheel drive family cars finally reached the point of maturity.
Safety as a marketing concept for cars? Well, Richard Heseltine reckons we have Ralph Nader to thank for that. This month Richard examines a concept vehicle that was a direct result of the sudden interest in vehicle safety after Nader’s campaigning…