Great Small Fiats

Fiat have built millions of vehicles since 1899 but the company is perhaps best known for its ability to produce small, economical, characterful cars. 'Great Small Fiats' traces this concept from the birth of the 500A 'Topolino' in the 1930s up the current Panda and a hint of the proposed Nuova 500. Each of the selected models are described in detail from their conception through to current ownership in the hands of collectors and enthusiasts. The chapters include practical information on buying and running a small Fiat and restoration advice for the older cars. Also included are Fiats built under licence outside of Italy and the Fiat-derived 'etceterini' coachbuilt and competition cars.


In deciding which models to choose for inclusion in this book selected from Fiat's huge inventory, the author concentrated on three criteria - greatness, size and emotion. Where size is an easy parameter to qualify, greatness is more complicated because it is a combination of of both the manufacturer's and the public's opinion. A car that is highly regarded by the public may not have been a commercial success and vice verse. A truly great car is one that works well for both parties. Emotion may be considered to be an element of greatness in that the public's 'love' for a car is a fantastic benefit for a manufacturer and must be treasured. Fiat have made the mistake of 'improving' an icon on several occasions only to find that public opinion went against them. Fortunately Fiat has been magnanimous enough to respond by giving the car buying public more of what it wants. As long as they continue to do so then Fiat's reputation as the world's greatest small car manufacturer is set to continue.

The author chose the Topolino as the starting point as the car fulfils all the criteria and it was the first Fiat built in the late 1930s to satisfy the Italian public's new-found desire for mobilisation. The old conventions of car production were turned upside down with the arrival of the 600 which revolutionised car production techniques and maximised on passenger space and performance at minimal cost. These principals continued via a succession of models which include the 500, 850, 126, 127 through to more recent models like the Cinquecento and Seicento.

Running in parallel with these 'cheeky' Fiats, this book covers a range of slightly larger cars that were built in huge numbers. Though rather staid in appearance, the 1950s Millecento was family transport for millions of Italians covering three decades, four when the Indian-built cars are included. Similarly the 128, Panda and Uno were 'the' Italian small cars of the '70s, '80s and '90s. Nuova Panda carries the banner to the present day.

About the author

Trained as a photographer in the Royal Air Force, Phil served for 20 years, mainly in aerial reconnaissance and combat photography. He then worked for eight years in the BBC as a film engineering manager at Ealing Studios. Author of three motoring books based on Fiats, Phil became editor of Italian Cars and Ferrari World Magazines and later created Auto Italia Magazine, the world s leading publication on Italian cars.

eBook details

eISBN: 978-1-845846-96-1 • eV number: eV4696 • Published: May 2014 • Language: English • Digital edition: First Digital Edition. Base eBook price: £12.99 / $20.99 / €17.99 (vendors may set their own prices, so actual prices may vary).

Original book info

V4133 • Paperback • 25x20.7cm • £7.50 • 176 pages • 853 colour and b&w pictures • ISBN: 978-1-845841-33-1 • UPC: 6-36847-04133-5. Price subject to change, P&P extra.

Click to see the original print edition.

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