Skip to main content

Fiat sets up first studio in Downtown Chicago

There are some new Italians in Downtown Chicago as the first Fiat Studio in the central core of the urban metropolis is up and running strong. Four other Fiat showrooms already exist in the Chicago area, but this is the first downtown.
Posted: August 23, 2012 - 5:06PM
Author: Don Bain


The new Fiat Studio is located at 645 West Randolph Street, just off the Kennedy Expressway, and anchors a contemporary 17-story condominium high rise, so you could say they have a resident group of potential clients comprised of their target demographic – young urbanites - right overhead.

The Fiat Studio is family owned and operated by Antonio Scalzo, president, and his son Carmelo Scalzo, vice president.

"I heartily welcome FIAT of Chicago to our growing network of FIAT studios," said Timothy Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America. "With its exceptional location and know-how, FIAT of Chicago will expand our customer reach in this critical market, as we continue to grow our brand nationwide with 178 studios across the United States."

The showroom will be the site of a Grand Opening Celebration momentarily, from 6 to 9 p.m. today, hosted by Fiat of Chicago and Chicago Social Magazine. The festive Italian themed evening will feature a fashion show, food, entertainment and a “pop-up” lounge, whatever that may be.

Antonio Scalzo is an Italian immigrant himself, having grown up in Calabria, Italy where he worked on Fiats and Alfa Romeos as a young mechanic. He came to Chicago in his early twenties, tirelessly working around the clock to realize the dream of owning a business.

Antonio fulfilled his American Dream when, in 1979, he purchased Suburban Auto Imports, a small FIAT dealership in the western suburbs of Chicago, growing it into the largest volume Fiat/Alfa Romeo dealership in the U.S.

FIAT of Chicago opened just a month ago and enjoyed a warm reception from the neighborhood, according to Carmelo Scalzo, who runs the day-to-day operations of the shop.

"We think the sky's the limit at this location," he said. "Our customers are excited not only about having a FIAT studio in their neighborhood but also about the return of the FIAT brand to the United States."

FIAT of Chicago features up to 25 Fiat models on its showroom floor and stocks another 50 to 60 vehicles, away from the sometimes blustery weather in the metropolitan center at the tip of Lake Superior.

The Grand Opening coincide with FIAT new advertising wraps on the Chicago ‘L’ Red and Blue lines that will carry over 21 million riders to their destinations during the next two months.

The graphic wrap takes up two train cars, depicting the Fiat 500 Abarth leaving Italy on the left and arriving in downtown Chicago on the right. Between the images appear the words, "The next wave of Italians has come to Chicago."

The wrap tie into the new broadcast commercial, Immigrants, that shows the spirited young cars plunging into the Mediterranean Sea for the long journey to America. We thought you might appreciate a look at the video below.

After watching it, we felt a sudden craving for seafood.

Best of luck to Fiat of Chicago in the new location. If you stop in after reading this, tell Carmelo Torque News sent you.


Chuck (not verified)    December 2, 2020 - 8:55PM

I am still looking for ANY information regarding two lost, 1979 fiat 124 spider 2000’s. I only want the the story to publish, and or to find out what happened to the cars.

The two identical silver fiats, with blue interior, and dealer installed luggage racks were picked up March 1st, to be used in the movie “Somewhere In Time,” and driven by Christopher Reeve. The cars were filmed in Chicago, then transported to Mackinac Michigan for filming. They were returned to the dealership to HOLD September 28(?). After the final cuts were made to the movie, the dealership was called to “Release” the cars..... No one knows what ever happened to these two beautiful movie cars! The final cuts to the movie were made in March of 1980.

The cars would have both had under 1000 miles on them when returned, with minor dents from cameras and lights. They could have been sold as used dealer cars?

Steve Hellererstein was the lead transporter who picked up the cars and returned them, but could not remember to whom or where they went. I have wrote one article and run adds looking in the Chicago area? Could you please help me find these to lost movie cars? Again, I only want the story. IF the cars are privately owned, after 40 years, the new owners may not even know what they have! Please Help if you can! C’