Italian cars have a reputation for quality and speed. They are a status symbol for the upper class, and have a stellar reputation in the world of racing. Some cars are known by the manufacturers, such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Others are known by their own names, like Gran Turismo, Diablo and Ypsilon. Here is a list of the top seven Italian cars produced by the best Italian car manufacturers.
Alfa Romeo Spider
The Alfa Romeo Spider was first manufactured as the Giulietta Spider. It was created at the request of Max Hoffman, a famous importer to the US in the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, Alfa Romeo exported the Spider and other models to the US, and the Spider was featured in the film classic “The Graduate” starring Dustin Hoffman.
The Spider has gone through some changes over the years, but it has always been a rag top modeled after Romeo’s Brera. In addition to the Spider, Alfa Romeo is known for the MiTo and the Giulietta. They are also famous in Grand Prix racing for motorsport sponsorship and manufacturing.
Ferrari has been around since 1929, but they mainly manufactured racing cars. In 1947 they created the first sports car that was street legal called the 125s. The 250 GTO was the first of their supercars line, designed to be sleek, fast, and expensive. Ferrari is a symbol of class and speed, and many wealthy car enthusiasts believe that Ferrari’s are a status symbol.
Although those who aren’t as familiar with cars recognize the Ferrari name and symbol of a rearing horse, there are several different models. The California Grand Tourer with a V8 engine and the 458 Italia are the latest popular models. Ferrari is still well-known in the racing circuit, especially in Formula One, where it is famous for its racing cars.
Fiat has been around since 1894 and is known for several models of Italian cars, including the newer Fiat 500 and Punto Evo. In 2009, they were the world’s ninth largest car manufacturer and they were Italy’s largest manufacturer of automobiles. They are best known for their supermini vehicles that are fast and great on gas. The Punto Evo comes in three different models: 3-door, 5-door and van. They are only sold with diesel or gas engines with 5 or 6-speed manual transmissions.
Fiat has formed relationships with General Motors, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Lancia. In 2009 they acquired 30% of ownership in Chrysler, and as of 2011 own 53.5% of the company.
Like with Maserati and Ferrari, many recognize the Lamborghini name but may not know the different models they sell. The Diablo was the sports car that made Lamborghini famous, especially in the US. The Countach is another popular car produced by Lamborghini, but these two models were replaced by the Gallardo and Spyder.
Lamborghini began in 1963 and is actually known for its farm equipment. Its founder was a sports car enthusiast and was determined to make improvements in what he saw as deficiencies in the Ferrari line. Despite its struggles and financial hardships, Lamborghini is still known as a luxury sports car manufacturer.
The Ypsilon is one of Lancia’s newest superminis. It is a 5-door hatchback and is produced with the Musa, and Delta, other vehicles in the small family car market. Lancia has been around since 1906 and became a part of the Fiat Group in 1969. It is known for naming its cars after letters in the Greek Alphabet.
Maserati Gran Turismo
Maserati is a well-known manufacturer, but has actually been owned by several different companies over the years, including the French car company Citroen. It was founded in 1914 and, like many Italian car manufacturers, began creating racing cars for motor sports.
It became a part of the Fiat Group in 1993. The Gran Turismo is a Grand Tourer and has a V8 4.2 liter engine. Its many sports models are well known in the racing world, especially in Europe.
Pugani is the elite in sports cars and has many vehicles that are custom made for its rich clients. This company is younger than many of the other top Italian car manufacturers; it has only been around since 1992. The Zonda has a V-12 Maserati engine and was modeled after the jet fighter design. This vehicle was inspired by, and created for, car enthusiasts in Europe.
Italian cars are best known in the Formula One and Grand Prix racing arenas. Their manufacturers have gone through many difficult times, including ownership by the Italian dictator Mussolini during World War II. They have survived these changes and hard economic times to be considered the best of the best in the sports car industry. They are the status symbol of the young, the rich and the powerful and the envy of many sports car enthusiasts. Many American sports cars have strived to duplicate Italy’s success but never quite made it.