It’s part Dr. Frankenstein, part Andy Granatelli. A place where old Fiat 500s are reborn, given new life, and prepped for new owners without the rust that many have worn for decades.
Meet Fabio Spelta of Affari Sbullonati
“The rust is my friend.” That’s the mantra of Fabio Spelta, one half of the team (with David Di Rocco), who own and operate Affari Sbullonati (“Unbolted Business”), an end-to-end Fiat rescue and rehab shop about an hour outside of Rome, Italy.
Italy’s Dedicated Fiat ER
It’s Fabio’s job to find old Fiat 500s that have seen better days… or been given up for dead… and have them hauled, towed, or pushed into the shop. That’s where the real magic begins.
How the Magic Happens at Affari Sbullonati
Each car is torn down to the ground, and decisions are made: what to keep, what to trash, and what needs to be replaced with something new. Measurements are made, pieces and parts are sent out to be remanufactured, and it’s all reassembled and repainted, making old cars look remarkably new.
Between 1957 and 1975, nearly four million of these little 500s rolled out of Italian factories. The Cinquecento is as iconic as pasta and Vespas… an integral part of Italian culture. Thousands of these classic Fiats have survived countless governments, untold abuse, and the creeping rust of time.
Many of the old two-door cars are reconfigured to look like the classic Fiat Jolly, the open auto with the fringe on top. Roofs are cut down, doors removed, and seats replaced with wicker benches and buckets. This one is headed to Monaco.
Affari Sbullonati’s Impressive End Results
The finished products are impressive. You’d be hard-pressed to find any flaws. They look showroom-sharp, with new interiors and exteriors, reworked or replaced motors, and all the little details taken care of. Bellissima!