Chassis 178 was built in late 1982 with being first registered to Fiat Auto Spa on 26th January 1983 on its first plate ‘TO Y70772’. Having been assigned to the Jolly Club the car was finished in its striking white, orange and green Totip colours ready for the Italian Championship.Its competition debut came at the 67th Targa Florio Rally with Carlo Capone and Luigi Pirollo. Despite being a round of the European Rally Championship the Targa Florio saw only 64 starters with Capone and Pirollo finishing a remarkable second overall fresh out of the box. Capone used the car again on the Costa Smeralda three weeks later to finish forth overall.
Capone now in his own back yard at the Rally della Lana, a round of the European Rally Championship running over 500 kilometres of asphalt stages in the Biella region. Capone went on to dominate the rally and finished ahead of future World Champion Miki Biasion who was in a sister Jolly Club 037.
After its dominant victory on the della Lana, Chassis 178 was entered in the Sanremo Rallye by Tre Gazzelle and painted in white and red sponsorship of the German cigarette brand, R6. Andrea Zanussi was making his World Rally debut, after several successful years with the Fiat 131 Abarth and 037 in the European Rally Championship. Despite getting off to a promising start, Andrea Zanussi and Sergio Cresta suffered a roll which happened to be captured by many photographers. The crew continued to the end of the stage but chose to retire later on.
In March 1984, Chassis 178 was sold to HF Grifone and re-registered to ‘GE 941679’. Here it was refinished in the famous blue and yellow livery with Olio Fiat sponsorship that you see the car in today. A return to Sanremo for the 1984 round with Fabrizio Tabaton and Luciano Tedeschini claiming their highest WRC finish to date, a fine forth overall.
In 1985, Chassis 178 was used regularly by Massimo Lugli, who had previously competed with a Lancia Stratos. Lugli competed in four rounds of the Italian championship and in 1986 finished second overall at the Tirrenia Rally, and Rally Dell’Emilia – Coppa Citta di Modena, partnered by Enrico Santini at both events.
April 1987 saw this 037 being bought by Raceprogram di Giovanni Claudio in Castellarano, Italy. 178’s final period rally was the 1987 Rally del Sestriere where it was driven by Luca and Rita Borghi, finishing 3rd overall. Famed rally car preparer Angelo Chiapparini bought this car in August 1990. At the time of his passing, Chiapparini owned this car and passed it to his wife, Gianna Luigia Croce, from whom the previous owner purchased it in 2004, before registering in the car in Monaco with the license ‘X 037’.
In 2018 the car has been restored back to the Olio Fiat HF Grifone colours and prepared ready to be rallied again. Hopefully we will be able to see this car out on the stages in the near future.