1913 Fiat Torpedo
Year of manufacture1913
1913 FIAT 12/15hp Tipo 1A Torpedo
Chassis no. 23117
Engine no. 1212
Founded in Turin in 1899 by a group of aristocratic motoring enthusiasts, FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) built its first car in 1900 and by the outbreak of WWI was out-producing all of its British rivals. After a succession of small twins and fours, medium and large-capacity models including a number of leviathan racers dominated the FIAT line-up in its early years. Then, in 1908, the firm introduced the 'Taxi', a modest, 2.2-litre, four-cylinder model that would point the firm in the direction of its future prosperity. Intended, as its name suggests, for urban public transport, the Taxi was introduced at a time of economic downturn that made its commercial success all the more welcome. The Taxi's successor was the Tipo 1, a 1.8-litre four built between 1910 and 1912 alongside the otherwise identical 2.6-litre Tipo 2. After only a couple of years the duo were superseded by more powerful 1A and 2B versions, but whereas the former retained its original engine, the latter's was enlarged to 2.8 litres.
One of 1,368 Tipo 1A cars manufactured between 1913 and 1915, this example has been owned by collectors for many years and was acquired by the immediately preceding owner in 1992. Restored in 1993 and maintained since then (new wooden wheels were fitted in 2008), it is one of only five of its type remaining in Europe and one of the oldest FIATs that is still driven. The car has participated in several rallies in France and the rest of Europe, and has appeared in several movies including 'Arsène Lupin' (2004); 'The Tiger Brigades' (2005); 'Séraphine' (2007); 'Coco before Chanel' (2008); and 'The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec' (2010). It also featured in Gazoline magazine's April 2001 edition. A copy of the latter is available, and the car also comes with a French Carte Grise and the invoice for the new wheels.