Automobile manufacturers often have their own test tracks in order to develop new models in secrecy and test production vehicles. Some of these manufacturers include Ferrari with the Fiorano Circuit and Toyota with their version of the Nurburgring.
Back in the day, Fiat also had their very own test track located in Turin. In fact, the manufacturer didn’t have to go far. They just had to drive up to the roof.
In 1923, Fiat’s Lingotto factory was completed, and it was unlike any automobile factory to date. Why? Because the factory featured a concrete banked rooftop test track unlike any other that of any other factory, and it looks like a NASCAR-style speedway.
The factory also featured a unique spiral assembly line that moved up through the building rather than a traditional vehicle assembly line.
At the time, it was one of if not the biggest automobile factory in Europe. What's more, Fiat’s rooftop test track wasn’t just for show. In fact, the rooftop test track played an important part in the automaker's manufacturing process. As mentioned earlier, the Lingotto factory had a spiral assembly line. Raw materials and individual parts would start at the bottom and eventually become a Fiat vehicle as it made its way up the assembly line.
The newly assembled Fiat vehicle would then exit through the roof, and be driven around the banked test track for testing. If it passes, the car will then be driven down to ground level once again, ready to be sold.
The Lingotto factory was responsible for a large portion of Fiat’s production when it opened in 1923. Unfortunately, the Lingotto factory closed in 1982 due to the factory’s outdated manufacturing techniques.
Now, one would except the Lingotto factory to be either in a state of decay or even torn down considering it was closed nearly 40 years ago. However, that is not the case. A few years after the factory closed, the building was reimagined, redesigned and turned into a shopping mall, theatre, convention center, and even a hotel.
To this day, the rooftop test track is still intact and visitors can actually walk around the structure. Although no longer used as a test track, it is good to see that the structure has been taken care of and still lives on today.