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Video History
Video 2015 Doblo
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Video 2012 500 L
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Video 2011 Panda
Video 2010 Punto Evo
Video 2007 500
Video 2003 Panda
Video 2001 Doblo
Video 1999 Multipla
Video 1999 Punto
Video 1995 Barchetta
Video 1993 Punto
Video 1991 Panda
Video 1981 Panda
Video 1976 126
Video 1974 131 Mirafiori
Video 1972 126
Video 1972 132
Video 1972 X 1/9
Video 1971 127
Video 1969 130 Coupe
Video 1969 130
Video 1969 124 S
Video 1969 128
Video 1967 125
Video 1967 124 Coupe
Video 1967 Dino Coupe
Video 1966 124 Spider
Video 1966 Dino Spider
Video 1966 124
Video 1966 1100
Video 1965 850 Spider
Video 1965 850 Coupe
Video 1964 850
Video 1962 1500 GT
Video 1964 1500 C
Video 1962 1500
Video 1960 770
Video 1957 Puch 500
Video 1957 500 Nuova
Video 1957 1200
Video 1955 600/Multipla
Video 1952 8V
Video 1952 1900 B
Video 1949 1100 E
Video 1949 Topolino
Video 1939 508 C
Video 1934 Balilla Sport
Video 1933 Ardita
Video 1932 Balilla
Video 1927 520
Video 1918 52 B
Video 1912 12-15 HP Zero
Video 1908 Mephistopheles
Video 1907 130 HP
Video 1906 110 HP
Video 1903 16/20 HP
Video 1902 24 HP
Video 1902 12 HP
Video 1899 3 1/2 HP

          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


The Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino was established in 1899. Cleverly, to give an additional religious significance by stringing together the first letters in Catholic Italy. Fiat is the third person singular of the Latin verb 'fieri', which translates as 'will'. In the Old Testament it is called in the Latin translation of Genesis (1 Genesis 1, 3) 'fiat lux' what means 'Let there be light'.

Almost from the very beginning Agnelli, a former cavalry-officer and racer, inhibited a key position. For the first half of the 20th century, Agnelli and Fiat were as much intertwined as Fiat and Turino. Agnelli was more typically thinking in terms of industrial production than in terms of innovation. But maybe this was the competitive edge that led only Fiat to survive unlike numerous other italian competitors. The first vehicle was designed for four persons, facing each other while seated. The driver had to look over the persons sitting in front. They were less prone to become wet, because a foldable roof protected them somewhat. The small car had marvelous wooden rims with air-wheels. Its rear engine was comparably small with 600 cm≥, distributed on two cylinders. The engine performed 2,5 kW (3,5 HP) with water cooling. From the three-gear transmission, the power was transferred by chain to the rear.

It is not correct to say that Fiat only built small series cars. Sportive cars were built, too. In 1904 there is a vehicle with 12/18 KW (16/24 bhp) that looks quite sportive already, in 1906 the top speed mark of 200 km/h is reached, and in 1907 a victory with a racing car with 96 KW (130 bhp) could be celebrated at the French Grand Prix. In the 'New world' the Grand Prix was won e.g. in 1911. Fiat built engines with up to 22 litres displacement. For 20 years Fiat participated successfully in racing. 1954 there are try-outs with gas turbine vehicles.

Earlier than other European manufacturers Fiat introduced in 1919 modern manufacturing methods. It was not a problem for them to copy other cars (for example Fiat 501 - CitroŽn A). Yet, Fiat did provide innovations to the world of cars. For example with the Topolino ('small mouse') of 1936, outstanding for its compact building methods, independent suspension in front, and less than 5 l/100 km fuel consumption. The engine had only 570 cm≥ and its 10 KW (13 bhp) were sufficient to carry two persons and their luggage. Its third and fourth (!) gear were already synchronized. Perhaps this car established Fiat's reputation as a very skillful small car manufacturer. On the other hand, Fiat was very much able to build for example for the American market the 'Super-Fiat'. Already in 1912 it had 12 cylinders in a V-shape, hanging valves and a four wheel brake, supported by vacuum. However, the marketing of big cars was not Fiat's strongest point.
After the death of Agnelli, Vittorio Valletta led the factory successfully. He was succeeded by Agnelli's grandchild, named after him, Giovanni Agnelli. He gave up his somewhat easier life style for this. The company remained very successful way into the 80's, having finally the largest production capacity in Europe in terms of numbers. Fiat comprised more than 30 factories around the world with more than 150.000 employees. Success creates responsibility, not always to the benefit of a company. Nearly all Italian car parts producers were mercifully taken over by Fiat, which did not contribute to their economic success. In 2005 General Motors bought itself out of a partnership with Fiat.

In principle there is a time frame for rear- and a time frame for front-wheel driven small cars. The rear-driven vehicles are the ones with 500, 600, 770 and 850 cm≥ displacement capacity. They were all two-doors and the latter was supplemented by a Coupe. The Fiat 126 fits in with this design, but the larger 128 was a front-wheel driven car with four doors. The middle class was at that time formed by the 1100 and the 1500, and later replaced by the 124 and 125. They all had four doors and were supplemented by Coupes/Convertibles. The engines were in one special case even taken from the shelf of Ferrari. In Fiat's history there was more than one attempt of establishing an upper class model (e.g. the 130) with a lot of technology and by no means always a bad workmanship, but the established competition also in the own country always proved to be stronger.               Top of page               Index
2001-2015 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - E-Mail
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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