It Wasn’t Just Ferraris You Know?
Last year, in Southern Germany, I came across an ‘Oldtimer Rally’ and I put a small gallery of photos up in December. There was a nice variety of cars, but what stood out for me was this little Moretti 750. Moretti was just one of a good number of small Italian manufacturers including Abarth, Stanguellini, Nardi and OSCA who produced small sports and racing cars in the post War period, and whose products are known, with affection and respect, as Etceterini.
There is no absolute definition of what makes an Etceterino, but it doesn’t mean any car not made by a major Italian manufacturer, so Fiat 500s rebodied as beach cars, fun as they are, are not Etceterini.
The days of starting a car manufacturing business in a lock-up are sadly past. In the UK we had, most successfully, Lotus, together with other credible low volume manufacturers such as Elva and Ginetta. There were also others who cobbled up fibreglass bodies of varying degrees of style and quality and popped them over an old Ford Prefect chassis, possibly incorporating the Ballamy suspension conversion which turned a front beam axle into swing axles, with a bit of extra power coaxed out of a wheezing sidevalve.
Those latter makers were hobbled both by their imagination and the mundane nature of the basic mechanicals available off the shelf in the UK. Many of them might originally have been inspired by the Italian industry. Resourceful though the back street UK makes could be, as a whole they take second place to the Italian industry. Many of their products are little jewels, Morettis were often described as baby Ferraris for instance, looking odd only when two fit and healthy late 20th Century adults are squeezed into the seats.
Moretti was no flash in the pan enterprise. It existed from 1925 to 1989, in its time producing motorcycles, microcars, sports cars, racing cars, delivery vans, estates and taxis. This is the sort of adaptability that caused Italian industry to thrive. The post war sports cars were produced entirely by Moretti, including the engines, such as a 748cc twin cam but, in the end, commercial realities meant that from the mid 50s they based their cars on mainly Fiat parts and engines, like most other makers.
There is a lot more about these cars on a recommended site http://www.etceterini.com