Classic Car Capital
Man welding parts of Fiat

Affari Sbullonati: Where Forgotten Fiats Come Back to Life

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.Sign for Affari Sbullonati on metal wall

Sign for Di Rocco Automobili

Fabio Spelta pointing to rust on Fiat car

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.

Vintage Fiat cars parked outside

Front end of Fiat car covered by branches

Leaf on end of branch in front of blue Fiat car

Rusty inside of Fiat car

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.

Close-up on man's hands holding tweezers and picking at rust on Fiat

Disassembled rear end of Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

Open engine bay of Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

Car parts wrapped in tape in Affari Sbullonati shop

Man working on Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

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.

Man welding Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

Doors and tires of Fiat car lying in pile at Affari Sbullonati shop

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.

Blue Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

Rear of blue Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

Interior of Fiat car in Affari Sbullonati shop

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!

Want to test your language skills? Check out the official Affari Sbullonati website and learn more in Italiano!

Fiat tires near toolkit at Affari Sbullonati shop