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Barchetta near the Ponte Umbertino

Barchetta (Italian pronunciation: [barˈketta]) is an Italian word commonly translated into English as "little boat". The term originally referred to a small skiff used for recreational purposes. It is also applied to some items of clothing, as well as being used in automobile styling, where it describes a class of open-top, two-seat sports cars.


Barchetta Station, Volpajola


The root of barchetta is barca, the Italian word for "boat". In Italian "small boat" would be piccola barca.

The use of the diminutive suffix -etta, the feminine form of -etto, confers the sense of something small or tiny with a connotation of endearment or affection towards the object.

The plural form of barchetta is barchette.


In French the equivalent term is barquette. The root word barque, which in French refers to a boat with three or more masts, is combined with the diminutive suffix -ette. In common use, barquette may refer to a shallow container or tray. Its use when describing an automobile is similar to that of the Italian term.


A cappello a barchetta refers to a military side cap similar to a bustina. It may also refer to an out-moded three-cornered hat somewhat similar to a tricorne with a less pronounced brim.

A tasca a barchetta or "barchetta pocket" refers to a breast pocket in a men's suit jacket or blazer cut and trimmed in the curved shape of a boat.[1]



1949 Ferrari 166 MM barchetta

When applied to an automobile, barchetta describes a small car that is open-topped, without provision of a removable or foldable top for weather protection.[2][3] Instead of a full windshield, the barchetta has a low-rise transparent wind deflector that may be a single full width piece, be divided into two sections, or omitted entirely. With an emphasis on performance, unnecessary trim and equipment is kept to a minimum.

The barchetta has full-width enveloping bodywork, in contrast to an early spider corsa, which may have cycle or wing fenders.[2] Later (non-corsa) spiders added more heavily padded seats, interior carpeting and a full windshield, items not found in the more spartan barchette.[4] Some later cars still called barchette were more well-appointed, following the trend of the later spiders and convertibles.

Origins and use

Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina

The first car to be called a barchetta was a Ferrari 166 MM shown at the 1948 Turin Auto Show.[5][6] The car was designed by Federico Formenti at Carrozzeria Touring.[7] Giovanni Canestrini, editor of the Italian sporting newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, applied the term to describe the new car's original bodystyle.[6] The name barchetta has been associated with the open 166MM model ever since.[5]

Ferrari built other models also called barchetta, including versions of the Ferrari 212 Inter[8] and the Ferrari 250 MM Vignale.[9]

Other manufacturers began to use the name as well, such as the Maserati brothers' O.S.C.A. MT4 barchetta of 1948,[10] the 1953 Moretti 750 barchetta,[11] and the 1966 Abarth 1000 SP racing barchetta.[12]

The label was also applied retroactively to cars that had been built before the launch of the Ferrari 166MM, such as the 1943 Stanguellini Ala d'Oro.[13]

More contemporary barchette have included the 1991 track-oriented Maserati Barchetta,[14] the Fiat Barchetta of 1995–2005, Ferrari's 2001 550 Barchetta Pininfarina built to mark Pininfarina's 70th anniversary,[15] the 2003 Lamborghini Murciélago Barchetta Concept, that entered production under Roadster nameplate;[16] the 2001 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Barchetta recreation,[17] the 2007 Bertone Barchetta Concept[18] and the 2018 Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta.


  1. ^ Icasiano III, Aurelio (6 September 2018). "The unbreakable connection between Naples and the suits it makes".
  2. ^ a b Haajanen, Lennart W. Illustrated Dictionary of Automobile Body Styles. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina, and London. ISBN 978-0-7864-3737-5.
  3. ^ "Ferrari's Race Cars: An Exclusive Exhibition In Padua". 16 October 2019.
  4. ^ "The Roadster: Siata 208S". 17 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b Anderloni, Carlo Felice Bianchi (April 1998). "BARCHETTA...A MYTH" (PDF). Registro Internationale Touring Superleggera magazine.
  6. ^ a b Davis Jr., David E. (March 2002). "Ferrari's Dreamboat" (PDF). Automobile Magazine.
  7. ^ "Il Designer Dimenticato". Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  8. ^ Ahlgrim, Steve (October 2015). "1952 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta".
  9. ^ Zal, Pawel. "1952 Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Barchetta".
  10. ^ "Part 80: O.S.C.A." 16 November 2017.
  11. ^ "La Storia Della Moretti" [The History of Moretti].
  12. ^ D., Nick (20 April 2016). "1966 Fiat Abarth 1000 SP".
  13. ^ "The flight of the Stanguellini "Ala d'Oro"".
  14. ^ "Barchetta". Archived from the original on 2021-08-04. Retrieved 2020-02-06.
  15. ^ Kacher, Georg (1 September 2001). "2002 Ferrari 550 Barchetta".
  16. ^ "Lamborghini Murciélago Barchetta". 1 February 2004.
  17. ^ D., Nick (23 April 2016). "2001 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Barchetta".
  18. ^ Cole Smith, Steven (1 March 2007). "Bertone Barchetta Concept".
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