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1968 Fiat City Taxi Prototype

The City Taxi project started from an analysis of urban traffic conditions and the practical qualities of a public vehicle; he identified a set of basic requirements. It would have to be as compact as possible (but with a favorable ratio between overall volume and cabin space), offer good visibility, and at the same time be accessible, manageable, safe, and easily recognized. The prototype built in 1968 was presented to the public at the Turin Motor Show. Produced by Fiat’s Centro Stile, on the platform and mechanicals of the mass-produced 850 Special Idroconvert (equipped with semi-automatic gearbox and torque converter), it had a body with reduced overhang and asymmetrical sides. It had a large sliding door on the right giving access to the passenger seat, and a normal-sized door was provided for the driver. Its dimensions were: overall length 3250 mm, width 1450 mm, height 1600 mm.

The City Taxi remains one of the first cars specially designed to transport passengers and luggage in an urban context. It incorporated numerous innovative ideas: an extra tilt-up seat next to the driver; a system of straps to fix the luggage on the roof rack; a pocket for holding maps embedded in the roof; a padded deformable dashboard with a built-in radio-telephone and taxi meter; a windshield wiper with a double arm structure and vertical blade; a forced ventilation system and adjustable steering column. The prototype built had original and conspicuous orange paintwork.

Manzù’s research into new appliances and technical solutions, which began with the City Taxi, was paralleled by his studies of sports cars. He developed two projects that both went as far as constructing complete models but without the mechanicals.

Source: Enrico Leonardo Fagone -

Images: Fiat;;

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