It is easy to get distracted by the adorable appearance of the Fiat 600D Multipla, but this quirky multi-purpose vehicle is also notable for its economical use of space. Introduced in 1956, the Multipla’s wheelbase is, at 78.7 inches, identical to that of the Fiat 600—itself only slightly larger than the Fiat 500 city car—upon which it is based. Thanks to the Multipla’s distinctive “cab-forward” layout, with the engine tucked away in the tail and the interior volume expanded all the way to the nose of the car, Fiat engineers made the most out of the compact platform.
Due to this ingenious packaging, the Multipla could haul a family in (relative) comfort, and should the need to move cargo have arisen, the rear bench folded down to provide a flat load floor. A six-passenger version using two pairs of single seats in the rear was also produced. Not a cubic centimeter was wasted: The Multipla’s spare tire tucks into the cabin just ahead of the front passenger seat, a tight squeeze enabled by a subtle hump stamped into the metal dashboard!
Nearly 130,000 Multiplas were made over a production run that ceased in 1969. Designed to be worked hard, and with many pressed into unforgiving taxi service, they are somewhat rare sights today—especially in the United States. This car, reportedly restored in 2015 by Signature Europe, sports an appealing mint green and white two-tone exterior is complimented by a green and brown interior. As a later, second-series “D” example, it benefits from a more powerful 767-cubic-centimeter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
A uniquely styled, utilitarian vehicle from a busy but optimistic era, this 1961 Fiat 600D Multipla would be a delightful addition to any collection. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az21.