Celebrating Turin’s Automotive History at the Heritage Hub

A thrilling display of Fiat’s collection

by | Dec 11, 2019 | Culture

Photo Credit: Myles Kornblatt

Celebrating Turin’s Automotive History at the Heritage Hub

A thrilling display of Fiat’s collection

by | Dec 11, 2019 | Culture

Photo Credit: Myles Kornblatt

Turin is often overlooked by vacationers who are more interested in Milan and automotive tourists who flock to Modena. But Turin is a city that deserves recognition, especially among auto enthusiasts. With the industrial clout of Detroit, Turin is home to the boutique designers that make Lamborghini and Ferrari famous. FCA Heritage is aiming to recognize the city’s contribution in the Heritage Hub. After all, Turin is the “T” in FIAT.

FCA Heritage Hub

The Hub resides on the site of the former Workshop 81 in Via Plava in Turin, one of Fiat’s famous manufacturing plants inside the Mirafiori complex. It features corporate offices, development workshops, and production facilities. At the edge of the complex, a massive 161,000+ square-foot former transmission plant was added into the exhibit space. Everything from the concrete floor to the roof pillars was preserved to highlight its industrial heritage.  

Roberto Giolito, an Italian automobile designer, is not only the head of FCA Heritage but also a significant contributor to the FCA legacy. Giolito was the design force behind the distinct Fiat Multipla and the retro-cool Fiat 500. The Hub is his way to showcase what Turin has given the world. But the facility is far from an extension of the tourist bureau. Instead, it’s a carefully curated space where the theme is the city that helped forge it all. 

Roberto Giolito

The window-filled factory roof provides a bright gallery to showcase the collection’s 258 cars. Fiat, Lancia and Abarth all call Turin their home, and so the Hub is especially keen on showcasing those brands. Marques like Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari are absent because they have their own hometown museums. The Hub complements those collections instead of competing against them.

A complete open floorplan with signage suspended from the ceiling allows the entire grounds to be visible from any part of the building. So while there are dedicated individual exhibits, entering the Hub feels like one overwhelming celebration of cars.

Long rows stretching each side of the room give gravity to the evolution of the automobile. The vast middle area is dedicated to eight themed islands. They include showcases for concept cars, vehicles that have made epic journeys, record-setting race cars, eco-friendly manufacturing, mechanical innovators and the history of safety vehicles.

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Fiat Dino Spider and Lancia Flaminia coupe

Since Italians are most famous for their style, it’s a no-brainer to have one area devoted to style trendsetters. Everything from the Fiat 124 Dino to the Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider can trace their roots back to Turin. Another area celebrates rally cars, and we all know enthusiasts are willing to travel the world to see Lancia’s celebrated Group B racers in-person.  

“Not a traditional museum space,” Giolito explains, “but an actual three-dimensional archive to which we are constantly adding, an incubator of ideas that can be admired by way of guided tours.”

1956 Fiat Abarth 750 record car and 1960 Fiat Abarth 1000 streamliner

Unfortunately, the FCA Heritage Hub is not yet open to the public. Mirafiori is still an active and secure complex for Fiat. Throw a lug nut from the Hub’s front door, and it could easily hit a product development vehicle. However, the collection was not designed to be a hidden secret.

The Hub is used as a gathering spot for everything from company functions, to restoration education. Still, that’s not too comforting to enthusiasts who’d love to see Turin’s best on their next vacation.  

Lancia D25 and Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider

The Heritage Hub adds value to Turin’s reputation as a car town, and Giolito is aware of the public’s desire to see this legacy. 

Giolito and his team are investigating ways to create a tour that could include Mirafiori along with established destinations like the world-class Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile (The National Automobile Museum) and Fiat’s former Lingotto factory — consisting of the famous rooftop test track. Seeing this celebration of great cars in Turin is not yet as simple as a trans-Atlantic flight and only the most passionate make the trip. 

 

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