The aquamarine speedster you see here is called the Stola Dedica. It was made in 1996 by the Italian metallurgical and engineering specialist Stola, a company that has been busy making prototypes for the car industry since 1919. Operating out of a former Fiat plant, Stola merged into the Metec Group in 2014, roughly a decade after building the mighty Maybach Exelero. Powered by a 690-horsepower twin-turbo V-12, this DaimlerChrysler concept was actually commissioned by Fulda, a German subsidiary of Goodyear wishing to test high-performance tires using the most outrageous show car it could think up.
This striking Stola is currently up for sale in the U.K., however, those looking for more accessible one-offs from this little-known brand need not worry. There’s the 1992 Fiat Cinquecento Cita, a subcompact roadster with the torsional rigidity of a wet sponge. Or, also from 1992, the Panda-based Destriero is yet another fun beach car likely fueled into existence by gulps of Martini Rosso. In 2006, Stola came up with the Fiat Panda Jolly, just in case you’d prefer the “new” Panda.
True connoisseurs, however, will raise a hand to declare that 1996’s Dedica is the Stola to get. Presented at the 1996 Turin Motor Show, as well as the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the Dedica was a front-drive Fiat Barchetta boosted into radical speedster territory.
Initially, Stola helped Fiat turn its Punto hatchback’s chassis into a sportier proposition for the affordable roadster, so it’s no surprise that for the one-off Dedica, the company went even further. Stola started out by ditching the 1.8-liter Fiat four-pot in favor of the Lancia Thema’s 2.0-liter turbocharged unit, which sent a healthy 262 horsepower to the front wheels. Brembo supplied vented discs with four-piston calipers, while the interior was completely revamped by Momo.
In the end, thanks to its Plexiglas wind deflector and 2250-pound curb weight, the Dedica offered a 170-mph ride for two passengers.
Stola did not stop there. Once again turning to Pininfarina’s Aldo Brovarone for an exterior design, the company created a Barchetta-based coupé for 1998 called the Abarth Monotipo. This concept may have looked like a futuristic Porsche 911, but it also featured a 260-horsepower Lancia turbocharged engine, a limited-slip differential, 18-inch O.Z. wheels, built-in air jacks, and a fully composite, glass-roofed body.
All things considered, Stola’s Abarth Monotipo may seem like the more usable car of the pair, but the Dedica speedster is the one you can buy today. Acquiring one-offs is always exciting, and this one happens to be road-legal, Lancia-powered, small, and cheerful. Perhaps it’s the perfect car for the driving season ahead.