A small car with a big history: 5 fun facts about Fiat
Everyone should have at least one Italian love affair.
We all know the famous Fiat slogan from the 1960s, but how much do you really know about Fiat?
We have the fun retro modern Fiat 500 in stock and it’s fast become a favourite on the floor. The revamped Fiat 500, released exactly 50 years after the original first hit the streets of Italy, has been a modern day success story.
So this week we were inspired to dig a little deeper into the history of Fiat. We came up with some surprising and interesting facts about Fiat.
Keeping it in the family
Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors led by Giovanni Agnelli. To this day, the company is controlled by the Agnelli family. The name ‘Fiat’ is the acronym of “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino” – the original name of the company. However, it also means “so be it” in Latin.
The first Fiat
Fiat caused quite a stir in 1899 when it released its first production vehicle. Just eight models were produced featuring a two-cylinder engine mounted at the rear. It produced just over 4 horsepower and had a three-speed manual transmission. The first Fiat was notable for its similarity in looks to a horse-drawn carriage and its lack of a reverse gear.
Fiat has won more European Car of the Year awards than any other manufacturer. It’s won the prestigious title a total of nine times. To put this in perspective, Mercedes-Benz has won this award only once whilst Fiat’s closest competitor, Renault, has won the award six times.
The first time Fiat won European Car of the Year was in 1967 with the Fiat 124. The most recent award went to the revamped Fiat 500 in 2008.
Share and share alike
You might think that Fiat just manufactures small cute cars, but Fiat has dabbled in carriages and railway engine, tractors, military vehicles, and aircrafts. During the second world war Fiat manufactured military vehicles and machinery for the Italian Army and, eventually, for Germany.
Fiat has also acquired and/or bought shares in many automobile companies, including Lancia, Ferrari, Maserati, Chrysler and Alfa Romeo.
Fiat constructors and engineers created the hugely successful diesel 1.3 litre Multijet engine, awarded Engine of the Year in 2005. Fiat diesel engines are used in many vehicles, including Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroen, Iveco, Lancia, Opel, Peugeot, Saab, and Suzuki. You might be “driving a Fiat” without even knowing it!
The original Fiat 500, released in 1957, was one of the world’s smallest production cars. The post-war market required economy cars and the Fiat 500, or “Bambina”, met this demand in spades. It was small, economical, and reliable. The Fiat 500 became one of the most popular cars in Europe.
Do you know any other interesting facts about Fiat? Post them in the comments below!