Fiat, owned by Stellantis, is selling part of its historic Lingotto factory in Turin, Italy, in an effort to downsize its real estate assets. Inaugurated in 1923, the facility built numerous Fiat models until its closure in 1982, and a test track built on the roof made it famous around the world.
Italian website Motorcycle Online reported that digital services specialist Reply has purchased some 215,000 square feet of the complex with plans to turn it into an office building. There’s no word yet on how much Fiat has sold the space, but most sources agree the company will retain ownership of the test track. And the building itself isn’t going anywhere: Reply will move in, but it won’t tear it down and rebuild it.
The test track that made Lingotto famous wasn’t just a gimmick: it was an important part of the manufacturing process for decades. Raw materials entered the building on the ground floor and cars made their way through several stations spread over the five floors before landing (in one piece) on the roof. They were then driven for about half a mile before being sent out of the complex. This sped up the production process because road testers could test new cars without leaving Turin, and Fiat could test prototypes without worrying about being spotted by spy photographers. The song was also featured in the 1969 film The Italian job†
Fiat is not the first Stellantis brand to leave its historic home. For the same reasons, Peugeot left its headquarters in central Paris in 2017.