Ernest Arthur Douglas Eldridge behind the wheel of his record breaking Fiat SB4 Mefistofele, 1924 Ernest Arthur Douglas Eldridge behind the wheel of his record breaking Fiat SB4 Mefistofele, 1924

Fiat Motor Cars

example Fiat successfully Sold

1967 Fiat Dino 2000 Spider
1967 Fiat Dino 2000 Spider

Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino

Gianni Agnelli, Conte Biscaretti di Ruffia, Conte di Bricherasio, Avvocato Goria Gatti and Michele Ceriana, the Marquis Ferrero of Ventimiglia founded the Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino società per azioni - F.I.A.T on 11 July 1898. One year later, they bought the Ceirano GB & C factory including the patents of their highly succesfull - Welleyes - autocar designed by Aristide Facciolo.

Visionary Agnelli was a former cavalry officer. He was rich, and not without abilities both in business and engineering. He had the intelligence and the intuition to see that the future of the motor car in Italy, as elsewhere, was not tied to the luxury market, but to the mass production of a type of vehicle which would always be utilitarian while offering as much refinement as the fortunes of the people would allow.

Since talented engineer Facciolo was now on Fiat's payroll after the Ceirano takeover, he further developed his watercooled rear-mounted boxer-twin 3½ HP design into Fiat's first model with coachwork by Marcello Alessio of Turin. 24 cars were made from 1899 to 1900 and today at least four exist.

When the directors insisted that Faccioli should design a new model with the engine at the front instead of at the back, Faccioli resigned, and was replaced by Enrico, who in 1902 brought out a 1.2 litre four-cylinder model which was very similar to the recently introduced Mercedes.

The years up to 1914 saw a succession of four-cylinder models between 1.846cc and 10.082cc, as well as sixes of 7.408cc and 11.034cc. However, Fiat did not essay a popular mass-produced model until 1912, when the 1.846cc - Tipo Zero - was launched.

Post-war came the Cavalli-designed 501, with a four-cylinder 1.5 litre engine, of which more than 45.000 had been built by 1926. Alongside this, Fiat produced very few examples of the hyper-luxury V12 6.8 litre SuperFiat, of 1921-23; the 4.8 litre six-cylinder Tipo 519 was listed until 1929.

In 1925 came a more modern light car, the 509, with an ohc 990cc engine, of which over 90.000 were sold up to 1929. The other principal models of the late l920s were the 1440cc Tipo 514, the 2516cc Tipo 521 and the 3740cc Tipo 525, the latter two being six-cylinder models.

A major step forward came in 1932, with the introduction of the Tipo 508 Ballila, a 995cc ohv four developing 25 bhp in touring form, 36 bhp in its rare and desirable sporting form. It was license-built in Germany by NSU, in Czechoslovakia by Walter and in France by Simca.

The backbone-framed 1500 of 1936, with its aerodynamic bodywork and Dubonnet-type ifs, led later that year to the immortal - Topolino - Tipo 500, with its four-cylinder 570cc engine mounted ahead of the radiator; this tiny two-seater continued almost unchanged until 1948.

At the outbreak of WW II, Fiat's best-selling models were the 500 and the 1100, or Millecento, while the biggest model then available was the 2852cc six. Little of novelty appeared in the immediate post-war years, until the advent of the over-square 1400 four-cylinder in 1950. The last of the Topolino, the ohv 500C, was replaced by the new 633cc rear-engined - 600 - in 1955; this unit-construction saloon sold a million by 1960.

A twin-cylinder - Nuova 500 - appeared in 1957, with a 499cc ohv power unit. Over 3 million examples of this model were built before it gave way to the derivative 126 in 1972. In the same vein as the 500 and 600 was the 850, with a rear-mounted four-cylinder in-line engine.

In 1966 came one of Fiat's most popular models, the 124, with engines of 1197cc and 1438cc, which formed the basis of big license-production deals, especially in Eastern Bloc countries.

A dohc 1608cc four, the 125, appeared in 1967, alongside the 1481cc 1500L, the six-cylinder 1795cc 1800B and 2279cc 2300; the Dino Spyder and Coupé with the 1987cc Ferrari-built dohc Dino V6 had been launched in 1966.

In 1969 Fiat took over Lancia and Ferrari; Abarth was acquired in 1971. That year, Fiat launched the 127, with a 903cc - and later 1.049cc - ohv transverse four; the 128 is another front wheel drive model, with 1.116cc and 1.290cc power units.

The successor to the 124, the 131 Mirafiore, was available with 1.297cc or 1.585cc engines in various stages of tune. There was also a dohc 1.995cc Abarth version, with a five-speed gearbox, developing 140 bhp and capable of reaching almost 145 mph in racing guise.

A conventional - middle-class - car, the 132 had dohc four-cylinder power units of 1.585cc and 1.995cc: Fiat also introduced in 1973 a series-production mid-engined sports car, the X 1/9, with a 1.290cc power unit and wedge-style design.


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6 HP - 130 HP
28-40 HP Targa Florio
Taunus Corsa
S Aerodinamica
S Coppa d'Oro
S Mille Miglia
S Siluro
C Mille Miglia
Spinto Monza
SM Coppa Florio
SC Coppa Florio
Sport Compressor

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