A Certain Style – FIAT


I cannot be sure, but I believe this FIAT is a 1947 model. I was displayed at the 2105 Hyde Park Vintage show, though the plate it carries says it is Post-Vintage. There again I am baffled by the system of classification that governs the older motor cars.


Before I ever owned a vehicle there were only two categories; a. cars that I wanted to own and b. cars I didn’t want to own. In the former section was pretty near anything with wheels while the latter really only included the Tatra, the Reliant, and the Lightburn Zeta. I was only ever exposed to the danger of a Zeta once when there was an agency here in Hay Street that attempted to sell them. Even as a long-time afficionado of the kleinwagen, I could see no merit in the Zeta. I was appalled at the design and slightly affronted that anyone would think the public stupid enough to want them. I’ll bet they are worth a fortune now…


Eventually the classification broadened; c. cars I could never afford and d. cars I had enough money to buy. I learned early not to break my heart over the first type, and to apply the same logic to romance.


Nowadays I have gone through a number of motoring phases and have come around; e. cars that seem to have a practical size and f. cars that seem obscenely large.


But none of this allows me to sort out Veteran, Post-Veteran, Vintage, Post Vintage, Pre-Retro, Retro, Post-Retro, Pre-modern, etc. If the police licensing department needs to divvy them up for some real reason that is all very well, but if it is all just a lawyers fandango about insurance and catalytic perverters and such I wish they would all go hang.

Right. Back to the FIAT. Small engine, probably powerful enough to attain highway speed, but not autostrada takeoff. Surprising shift mechanism on the steering column. Spartan but stylish dash and good looking seats. Wood? in the interior. Humorous arrangement for opening the front doors from inside the car…but very stylish lift-up latches on the exterior. This is a car that would favour 2 people and deal with 4. An export money earner for post-war Italy, I would suspect that it was imported by Italian migrants for sentimental reasons, but certainly shows design merit notwithstanding.

If only the people at Lightburn could have taken the hint…



2 thoughts on “A Certain Style – FIAT

  1. Dick,
    Just to set you right on car classification. veteran is the oldest and runs from the very beginning until 31dec 1918. Vintage is from 1Jan 1919 until 31dec 1930. Anything after that date ie 31dec 1930 is post vintage. It does not change with time although you can get a car on concessional licence when it is 25 years old and you are a member of a recognized club and they are only used on club events..
    Cheers Barry.


    1. Thank you Barry. I knew there had to be some sort of reality to it all. Funnily enough, there doesn’t seem to have been the same division in photographic equipment- you sort them out in film sizes and construction but thee isn’t a dating system.


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