“The real pioneer”
The Autobianchi primula was introduced in 1964 by Autobianchi, which was partly owned by Fiat, Bianchi and Pirelli, until 1968, when it was finally fully integrated into Fiat S.p.A .
It was originally available with two or four doors, with or without a rear hatchback. From 1965, Autobianchi offered a coupé model, a more spacious 2-door fastback designed by Carrozzeria Touring. The Primula was manufactured in the Autobianchi factory in Desio, with production reaching 74,858 units before ending in 1970.
Autobianchi was used by Fiat to test innovative concepts which later found their way into mainstream Fiat vehicles.
The Primula was a prototype for Fiat's rack and pinion steering and is widely known for its innovative Dante Giacosa-designed front-wheel drive, transverse engine layout — that would be later popularized by the Fiat 128 to ultimately become an industry-standard front drive layout. Another noticeable feature is that there were discs brakes to the rear and front wheels.
The Primula's particular configuration of front wheel drive with a transverse engine, but with a gearbox on the end of the engine and unequal length drive shafts, rather than a gearbox in the sump like the Mini, became universal; as did its use of conventional steel suspension in almost all other cars with the exception of Citroen – usually MacPherson struts at the front and a "dead" rear axle. Therefore, the Primula is a car design of far greater significance than is often realized. It came second in the 1965 European Car of the Year awards, after another front-wheel drive car, the Austin 1800.
Initially, the Primula was fitted with the 1.221cc engine from the Fiat 1100 D (for the coupé it was uprated to 59PS / 58HP / 43,5kW, but in 1968 it was replaced with Fiat 124 engines—the berlinas received the 1.197cc 65PS / 64HP / 48kW engine from the standard versions, while the coupé was fitted with the more powerful 1.438cc 71PS / 70HP / 52kW unit.
The car featured here, is a 1968 two door Primula 65C, equipped with the 4 cylinder 1.197cc OHV engine. This engine had a Weber 32DBF carburetor and produced 65PS / 64HP / 48Kw at 5.500rpm and 94Nm / 69lb-ft at 3.400rpm. Power transmitted to the front wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox (same to all Primulas).
Dimensions are: Length 3.785mm, Width 1.578mm, Height 1.400mm, Wheelbase 2.300mm. Weight is 870kg.
The top speed was 141km/h, and it could accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 16,5 seconds. Average fuel consumption was 8,4lt per 100km.