What about this then, for all you people that have the temerity to suggest that Fiat are better known for their perceived lack of reliability, news has arrived up on the top floor of the Towers that the oldest Fiat in the UK, the 1899 Fiat 3½hp, took to the roads last Sunday as part of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Blimey.
One of the earliest surviving Fiats in the world, the 3½hp took to the road to take part in the event’s 60-mile drive, from Hyde Park in London down to Madeira Drive in Brighton, as part of the notorious heritage trial on 5th November, 2017.
It’s been explained to MotorMartin that, owned by FCA UK Ltd and on permanent display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, this Fiat 3½hp can seat two adults in comfort, plus two children facing the driver, in a vis-à-vis layout. With a horizontal two-cylinder engine producing 697cc and a three-speed (no reverse) gearbox, it can reach a top speed of 21mph while returning a very respectable 35mpg.
This year marks 121 years since the inaugural London to Brighton run which celebrated the passing of the Locomotives on the Highways Act. This saw the abolition of the need for a motorised vehicle to be led by a red flag carrying man and raising the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph.
A bit of history I think, Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (FIAT) was founded by a group of Turin investors in July 1899 and began assembling cars in a temporary factory. The new founded company absorbed two smaller businesses, including a bicycle manufacturer which had a prototype car, called the ‘Welleyes’. The first dozen or so cars manufactured by Fiat in 1899 were derived from this prototype. A new purpose built factory started producing cars from March 1900 and from this Fiat grew to be an industrial giant and one of the world’s largest motor manufacturers.
Saturday 4th November also saw the Regent Street Motor Show marking the 60th anniversary of the iconic Fiat 500 with a special display staged by the Fiat 500 Club. It depicted the evolution of the original supermini, showcasing rare models including the Giardiniera estate and the 500 Saloon.
Where will you go?