A classic Italian runaround photographed in Bruges, early 1950s.
The first photograph shows a FIAT 500 Topolino and several other 1940s/1950s cars parked on Belgian pave road surface, in 1952.
There are few notes on the back of this photograph, other than the fact that it was taken at Bruges, in Belgium, some time in 1952. The only car I've been able to identify is the diminutive FIAT Topolino ("little mouse") nearest the camera. The car alongside looks like an Opel.
It just goes to show that Smart, with their nippy little 2 seaters designed for inner-city living, were not the first to see potential
in building a tiny 2 seater coupe, for local jaunts. Everything about the tiny FIAT is pared back, designed for
lovers of all things minimal. The Topolino was launched in 1936, as an Italian People's Car, similar in
concept to the Volkswagen in many ways. Production of the "little mouse" would continue
until 1955, by which time the all-new FIAT 500 was ready for sale.
The earliest Topolinos featured a 4 cylinder engine, of 569cc, which could propel the tiny motorcar to 50 or so
mph. In 1948 the 500B was announced, itself a revised version of the original, and came with a new 569cc engine,
this time featuring overhead valves instead of the sidevalves found in the original Topo. The appearance of the revised FIAT
was all but untouched, bar a few tweaks here and there.
Visually things received a make-over with the FIAT 500C - that came along just a year later in 1949. This would be
the final incarnation of the Topo, until production switched to the new-shape 500 six years later. The 500C came
with a totally different look to it, and a host of updates to the running gear beneath the coachwork. The car shown above is one of the
earlier, 500 or 500B, variants. I'm sure a FIAT expert out there can tell me which one this is??!!
Another FIAT, this time dumped following WW2.
Les sent me this photograph a little while back, and it shows a Topolino looking very forlorn indeed:
"This picture shows a Fiat used by the German army in WW2, then captured and made use of by the Allies and finally dumped as surplus."
The search for interesting old photos continues, and in response Brian emailed over photos of his first few cars. Following on from a pair of Austin 7 Rubies, he purchased this next machine, a 1937 Fiat 500 Topolino, registration DOG 667. It's missing a rear hubcap, but otherwise looks to be in fantastic condition. However it hadn't always looked so smart, as his second photo (further down the page) proves. In time, the compact Fiat would be replaced by another comparatively scarce (in the UK at least) vehicle, an NSU Prinz. Thanks for the photos :)
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
The first of Brian's photos shows the Fiat after it had undergone significant re-furbishment. At the time of acquisition though, it was looking anything-but immaculate, and the following colour photograph demonstrates this most clearly. The paintwork was looking its age, and the crumpled offside wings were as a result of encountering a wall, en route from Anglesey to Harpenden, during an overnight trip most probably on the old A5. It's great to see these "before and after" photos from the 1960s.
Classic Italian cars.
View a collection of Italian car photos in the following video.