Rare Rides: The Forgotten Moretti 750 From 1954
Today’s Rare Ride hails from a brand which ceased its operations decades ago. At its peak, it never produced more than a couple thousand cars a year. Said vehicles were largely confined to sales in Europe, and specifically within Italy.
Let’s learn about the brand behind this little red Moretti 750.
The Moretti brand was founded as a motorcycle company in 1925 by Giovanni Moretti. Initially producing motorcycles designed by other companies under license, it created some original designs, as well. After a short time building micro cars through the Thirties, Moretti switched modes to commercial vehicles after the onset of WWII. The brand offered small electric trucks, plus a tiny electric MPV which could hold seven people.
After the war, Moretti returned to passenger cars. By the early Fifties, the company had introduced its most successful lineup with the 750. From its single platform, Moretti derived sedans, coupes, race cars, commercial vehicles, and wagons. The 750 most often documented is the Gran Sport, which used its tuned twin-cam 750 cc engine and lightweight roof-free construction to race. Gran Sports took part in the Mille Miglia and 24 Hours of Le Mans circa 1956.
Less prestigious (but also less documented) is the 750 two-door sedan featured here. It has an unknown overhead cam engine and a passenger-friendly sedan shape. Because Moretti vehicles were designed from the ground up in-house, they were more expensive than offerings from Italian brands that produced cars on a larger scale. The high price translated into slow sales, and suddenly the company’s smallness became a big issue. Moretti changed tack again.
By the end of the Fifties, it was no longer feasible to develop new standalone models. To cut costs all round, Moretti cars switched over to Fiat’s chassis and mechanicals, but kept their own bodies. But coachwork was an expensive habit, and the small and expensive Morettis could not compete with offerings like the Fiat 600.
Perhaps it was time for another change in approach.
Moretti’s founder was close personal friends with Gianni Agnelli, wealthy industrialist and major Fiat shareholder. Through this connection, Moretti maintained contracts to use Fiat platforms for new low-volume cars. Several Fiat models were slightly revised in the Sixties and Seventies. Afterward, they closely resembled Fiat models, but still contained some unique features. Still, production continued to decline, from 2,600 cars circa 1967 to just over 1,000 in 1974.
Floundering, Moretti continued to offer niche products for the customer whose needs were not fulfilled by the multitude of standard-build Fiats. The end was in sight by the early Eighties, as the company was down to a single cabriolet version of the Fiat Uno. Moretti folded up shop in December of 1989.
Today’s tidy 750 is for sale in Italy for an undisclosed sum. Parts are surely not too difficult to source.
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I'm not familiar with Moretti 750 sedans, but their 750 Gran Sports were competitive small displacement racers with twin-cam engines. It is odd that there are no underhood shots with this listing, as the Moretti 750 engine is a thing of beauty. I wonder if this lumpy sedan has a different source of motivation?
Adorable! Love those neat little indicators hanging above the front tires.