Inside the FCA Heritage Hub

Close up on Fiat, Chrysler, and Alfa history

It’s always big news when a current car manufacturer steps up its heritage efforts. The latest to do so is FCA – that’s Fiat Chrysler Alfa, if you’re still reeling from the various ownership changes of the last decade – which has been steadily ramping up the efforts of FCA Heritage, the organisation that looks after the historic side of Fiat, Lancia, Abarth and Alfa Romeo.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Now it has opened the FCA Heritage Hub, located in the former Officina 81 site in Via Plava, part of Turin’s huge industrial area of Mirafiori. The Hub’s 15,000sq m building was once used to manufacture gears, driveshafts and bearings; now, on the original concrete factory floors, are more than 250 Fiats, Lancias and Abarths. In case you’re wondering, Alfa Romeo is well-represented 95 miles away in Milan, at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

It’s more car collection than true museum, with an appealing informality and relaxed atmosphere. The vast building has been sympathetically restored, using the historic mustard and green paint colors on the walls and the metal columns that it featured when it opened in 1968, but there’s no been no attempt to disguise its origins – and it’s all the better for that.

The centre of the building is devoted to eight separate displays, each containing eight cars, while down the left side of the building are around 100 Fiats and Abarths, many of them design studies, concepts and prototypes. On the right side are a similar number of Lancias, from the very first to the most recent, rather less-attractive Chrysler-based models.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Post-Covid, the FCA Heritage Hub will open for pre-booked tours, though general admission may become available as the Hub becomes more established. It’s also designed as a meeting and collaboration area for FCA employees, clubs, historians and visitors, hence the long benches down the centre of the building.

Photo: FCA Heritage Hub

The eight central displays will be changed on a regular basis, with cars swapped in and out of the company’s 600-strong collection. FCA Heritage’s workshop, less than half a mile away from the Heritage Hub, will feed into this, and is expected to gradually work through some of the more important cars, some of which are looking a little knocked around after years in storage. The workshop, by the way, has now started taking in customer restorations and ‘certification of authenticity’ work, the latter mostly aimed at rare Abarth models. As for those eight special displays, they include the following:

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Archistars, which focuses on motorcar architecture, for mould-breaking designs such as the Lancia Lambda and Flavia, and Fiat 500 Topolino, 600, Panda and Uno.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Concept and Personalised Cars, including the Fiat 130 Familiar and Panda Rock Moretti, the Abarth 2400 Coupé Alemanno by Carlo Abarth, the Lancia Astura Farina and the Flaminia Coupé Loraymo.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Eco and Sustainable, starting with the X1/23 of 1974 and the Ecobasic of 1999, both of them all-electric, and ahead of their times.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Epic Journeys, with the Fiat Campagnola AR 51 that drove the length of Africa from Cape Town to Algiers in 1952 in a record 11 days, the Fiat 1100 E which in 1953 completed the first single-driver around the world tour, covering over 72,000 kilometres, the Fiat 124S which in 1970 reached the North Cape in 50 days from Cape Town, the Fiat 131 Abarth Diesel that won its class in the 1977 London-Sydney, and the Lancia Delta HF Integral Group A winner with Miki Biasion and Tiziano Siviero of the Safari Rally in 1988. Historic rally enthusiasts will be pleased to see the record-breaking Cape Town to London Fiat Panda of the late Philip Young and Eagle E-type’s Paul Brace.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Records and Races, which starts with two cars from 1908, the Fiat S61 and the 12HP “Alfa” Sport, alongside a Formula 1 Lancia D50, three Abarth recordbreakers, and two Endurance race champions: Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo and LC2.

Photo: Alessandro Venier

Small and Safe, heralding maximum safety and reduced dimensions, shown by the 1933 Lancia Augusta, the 1939 Lancia Ardea and prototypes such as the 1968 Fiat City Taxi, and the ESV 1500 and ESV 2000 models.

Photo: FCA Heritage Hub

The Rally Era, covering the Lancia Fulvia HF 1600, which won the 1972 Monte Carlo Rally, the Stratos HF, the victorious Delta HF and the Fiat 124 Abarth Rally and 131 Abarth Rally.

Visiting details will be updated on www.flheritage.com.