Introduced simultaneously with the 1800B in 1961, the 2300 replaced the 2100 and included most of the 1800'B' modifications (such as brakes and suspension) plus some extras. These latter included a 2279cc engine with 105bhp and a slightly redesigned exterior, most noticeably featuring twin headlights (rather than the single units on the 1800/2100) and a double chrome side-stripe. As with the preceding model, there was a Familiare estate version and a Berlina Speciale which had a wheelbase extended by 80mm. The latter kept the distinctive grille from the 2100 Speciale and also gained a single chrome stripe which extended as far back as the front door.
Mechanically the 2300 retained the basics of the 1800B, torsion bars at the front and leaf springs at the rear. The automatic clutch was also an option on the 2300, which also got the option of an overdrive. As in the 1800B, disc brakes were fitted on all wheels.
The 2100 had been used as the basis for a Coupe by Ghia, shown at the Turin Motorshow in 1960. Late the following year this car was officially released by Fiat, now based on the 2300. Two versions were made available, the 'normal' 2300 Coupe and the 2300S Coupe. The latter had two twin choke sidedraught carburettors (Weber 38DCOEs) and produced 136bhp. Incidentally, this engine was developed by Abarth. The chassis was built by Fiat then transported to Ghia who fitted their bodywork. The semi-finished car was then transported back to Fiat for completion. Production of the 105bhp 2300 Coupe stopped in 1964 since almost all sales were of the 2300S version.
1963 saw the introduction of another version of the berlina, the 2300 Lusso, which replaced the standard 2300 berlina and was also produced as a Familiare model. Numerous modifications were made, including (for the first time on a Fiat) the fitment of an alternator and 'lubricated-for-life' bearings. The options list grew to include power steering, an automatic transmission and a complex internal ventilation system. Various small changes were made both internally and externally, rubber overrider inserts being one of the more noticeable.
Production of the 2300 Lusso continued until 1968, as did the 2300S Coupe. Production figures for these models are rather vague, 155,000 1800Bs and 2300s (all versions) are claimed to have been built. Included in that total are around 3,500 Coupés (both versions).
The 2300 was used as a basis for various concept and limited production cars. See our pages on Ghia (who made coupé, spider and hatchback/estate versions), Moretti and Savio for details and pictures. Michelotti and Pininfarina also built one-off coupés based on the 2300S.
It should also be mentioned that a Fiat 2300 berlina took part in the 1963 Safari Rally. After 5,300km it was one of only seven of the original eighty-four cars to finish, taking fourth place overall and second in class.
Driveline longitudinal engine at front with rear wheel drive Engine 2279cc (78x79,5mm) ohv straight-six with 105bhp @ 5,300rpm
in 2300S Coupé 136bhp @ 4,000rpm
Suspension front : Independent, torsion bars and telescopic dampers plus anti-roll bar
rear : solid axle with telescopic dampers and coil springs
wheelbase : 2650mm (Speciale : 2730mm)
track (front/rear) : 1345mm/1307mm (Coupé 1350mm/1312mm)
Brakes front : discs
rear : discs
handbrake : cable operated on rear callipers
Gearbox 4 speed manual plus optional overdrive
3 speed automatic (optional)
'Saxomat' automatic clutch (optional)
Steering worm and roller Kerb weight Berlina : 1285kg; Familiare : 1345kg; Speciale : 1320kg; Coupé : 1324kg
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There are not many of the big saloons left, but the coupé is both easier to find and more desirable.
A few things to look for when considering buying a 2300 Coupé :
1. Headlamp reflectors have a tendency to rust.
2. Check for corrosion around the A-pillar and inner wing, water gets trapped inside the secions.
3. The three-piece rear screen can let water in and cause corrosion below.
4. Check the brake pedal, both with and without the engine running, the booster is a weak point.
Other small things to check (which can be difficult or costly to repair) are the presence of all the interior trim, especially chromework, the wheeltrims for presence and damage and the timing chain for rattling.
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