The Oldest Fiat in the UK
The oldest Fiat in the UK, is the 1899 Fiat 3½hp. It is one of the earliest surviving Fiats in the world. The 3½hp is still operational and took place in the 60-mile drive, from Hyde Park in London down to Madeira Drive in Brighton, as part of the notorious heritage trial last November.
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 motorized vehicle to be led by a red flag carrying man, and raising the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph.
The Revolutionary Prototype
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.
For more information on Fiat please visit www.fiat.co.uk or for further information on FCA Heritage visit www.fcaheritage.com.