Even if it never reached widespread use, the Sahariana proved its worth in operations against its natural opponent, the British Long Range Desert Group (SAS). No complete example has survived to this day.
The AS 42 Sahariana was developed by SPA-Viberti using the same chassis as the AB 41 armored car , including its four-wheel steering. The Sahariana had enough space to accommodate up to four fully-equipped men, though the mission crew seldom exceeded three or four.
Prototype testing showed promising results, and series production started immediately. The unit that gave the AS 42 its baptism of fire in November of 1942 was the “Raggruppamento Sahariano AS” (AS stands for Africa Settentrionale, North Africa).
The good results achieved by the “Raggruppamento Sahariano AS” quickly led to the formation of at least four more “Compagnia Arditi Camionettisti” (loosely translated as Jeep Scouting Company): the 103rd, 112th, 113th, and 123rd.
After September 8th, 1943 a few Saharianas stayed in Northern Italy with Mussolini’s Repubblica Sociale Italiana; it is known that seven fought on the Eastern Front in the ranks of the 2nd Fallschirmjager Division. The end of the war didn’t mean the end of the AS 42’s service; some cherry red painted Saharianas were employed by the Italian Police up to 1954.