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          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Fiat Balilla

Fiat 508
EngineInline four-cylinder
Displacement995 cm³
Bore * stroke65 x 75 mm
Compression5,8 - 7,1 : 1
Engine controlOHV
Max. power14,7 - 26,5 kW (20 - 36 HP)
Rated speed3400/4400 rpm
PowerdriveFront engine with rear drive
TransmissionThree-speed (3. gear synchronised), four-speed (3./4. gear synchronised, 1934), freewheel (optional)
SuspensionRigid axle, leaf spring
DemperLever damper (mech. and/or hydr.)
BrakesDrums, hydraulically
Top speedApprox. 85 - 115 km/h
Manufactured1932 - 1937
Sales priceApprox. 11.000 Lire
VersionsVan, two- and four-seats convertible

The name 'Balilla' is given to the car of the population. It must be seen related to the national and fascist movements in Italy at the time. The name was given in 1746 a young Genoese, who as leader successfully fought against the Austrian occupying forces.

1930 is also the time after the stock market crash, difficult for car manufacturers. Salable in great quantities are just small cars only, financed by (Fiat) per hire purchase. The challenge for the engineers is the most cost-effective production. Frequently also a new design succeed in such economic hard times, which in this case ranges from the Fiat 1100 to the Fiat 124 and further.

The Fiat Balilla is a rock-solid construction with little specifics. This is already visible in the position of the engine and the conventional underbody. But the body affords an extra that will be taken up again still now at Rolls Royce and Mazda RX 8, because it has at the four-doors (fig. 2) no B-pillar. This is probably due to the short wheelbase and the little space for access to the rear seats. Above in figure 2 you see a Balilla of the second series from 1934, that has additional a trunk rear which is accessible from inside.

Extras with surcharge
Improved fabric covering inside
Chromed bumpers
Ornaments on door and window panes
Chromed headlamps
Running boards with chromed edge
Precious wood with trim strips
Curtains laterally rear
Rear stop lamp
Time clock, ashtray
Safety glass, also laterally
Parking lamps on fenders
Rear suitcase
Second spare tyre
Leather upholstery
Spoke wheels

Fiat itself has a restructuring behind at the time. It is now processed steel instead of wood in the body, the will welded to a car. More than 250 cars run of the assembly line in the factory Lingotto daily, more than 100,000 in the six years of production.

It will already electrically welded and the standardization of parts has found its way, by no means self-evident in vehicle manufacture that time. Hydraulic brakes and vibration dampers as well as a 12V installation make it something special. 10/13

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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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