The Barchetta was developed between 1990 and 1994 under the project name Tipo B Spider 176. It was designed by Andreas Zapatinas and Alessandro Cavazza under the supervision of Peter Barrett Davis and other car designers at the Fiat Centro Stile, and prototyping was carried out by Stola.
Production began in February 1995 and lasted until June 2005, with a brief pause due to the bankruptcy of coachbuilder Maggiora. The Barchetta was based on the chassis of the Mark 1 Fiat Punto. The Barchetta has 1,747 cc DOHC petrol engine fitted with variable camshaft timing, used for the first time in a Fiat production car, after being patented in 1970. The engine has 132 PS (97 kW; 130 hp) and 164 Nm (121 lb ft) of torque. The Barchetta weighs 1056 kg (2328 lb) without air conditioning and can accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds and has a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). It came in various trim levels which offered different features, for example, diamond cross stitch - patterned red leather instead of the standard black leather or fabric seats, alloy wheels instead of steel wheels, or fog-lights as an option. Arguably one of the biggest external cosmetic changes was made by the addition of the third brake light, first introduced by Fiat on the Lido and Riviera in 2000, and on sub models thereafter.
The Barchetta was revised in 2003, for its relaunch the following year, with some alterations inside and out. The most notable changes were the revised front spoiler and rear bumper. Production of the car eventually stopped in June 2005.
This 4 cylinder 1747cc engine has been build especially for the barchetta. It roots stem from the Lancia Kappa 1998cc 5 cylinder engine which was the base of a whole family of Fiat/Lancia/Alfa Romeo engines.
Fiat has a brand-new plant called F.M.A. (Fabrica Motori Automobili) in Pratola Serra (near Napoli), where every 10 minutesa new engine is build. It used to be the production line of the Alfa Arna, but has been converted into a engine production facility since October '93.