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1968 Fiat 850-Special "Grand Prix" by Francis Lombardi

Carrozzeria Francis Lombardi was founded in 1947 in Vercelli by noted racing driver Carlo ‘Francis’ Lombardi. The company was originally involved in aeronautical design but soon moved on to building cars. From 1950 they focussed on coupes based on the Fiat 1100 and 1400. Station wagons complemented these models with wood-paneled bodywork based on the Millecento.

Lombardi also built six-seater limousines by extending Fiat 1400 and 1800 saloons for ministerial use. Famously, in 1963 they built a Fiat 2300-based limousine with a glass roof for Pope Paul VI in 1963 – this was the first Popemobile.

The carrozzeria’s greatest commercial success was the luxuriously appointed Fiat 500 ‘My Car,’ with an annual production of about 6000 cars. Its most significant model was the Grand Prix, which was also marketed until 1972 under various other names such as O.T.A.S. and Abarth Scorpione. Francis Lombardi also developed its own four-door ‘Lucciola’ versions of the Fiat 600, 850, and 127. Francis Lombardi focused on modifying cars and building coupes on Fiat and NSU platforms. In the 1970s, they made special versions of the Fiat 128 and Lancia 2000, The company closed in 1973, and Carlo Lombardi died ten years later.

Carrozzeria Lombardi built numerous cars based on Fiat chassis. The most elegant and sporting model was the Lombardi Grand Prix, with production starting in 1968. The Grand Prix was created on the Fiat 850 chassis, including the rear-engined configuration. The Grand Prix was fitted with the 850s 843 cc, four-cylinder engine that produced 34 hp. Lombardi claimed a top speed of 160 km/h for the 630 kg sports car. It was sold through Fiat dealerships and was covered by the standard Fiat warranty.



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