A Side Order Of Lingotto To Go – Hyde Park Part Three

I thought I knew all the different types of pasta – spaghetti, linguini, tagiatelli, etc. Today I discovered a new variety – this sort is shaped like a Fiat racing car.

Given the recent record of FIAT cars here in Australia – the FIAT 500 and some of the other cooking-quality sedans that have been briefly seen on the streets of Perth before retiring and expiring – you might be given to thinking that this Italian car maker is not one of the icons. Not a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But remember that long before F. or L. were feuding, FIAT was racing all over the world. They were also making fighter planes and giant locomotives.

This FIAT 502 may yet be on the ground for a closer inspection at future car shows – I am going to go to them to see if more can be seen inside it. The outside details scream of the period and promise a great deal of interesting design inside.

Oh, to see it in operation on a track…

I must look out the next Italian Car Show day here in Perth and hope. Wheel ’em Danno…


The Fire Belle

The owners of luxury motor cars must do a great deal of comparing and subtle bragging when they get together over the brandy and cigars. They probably assert ever-higher performance and engine size as well as going on about the electronic gadgets and the overly plush upholstery. And they probably skite about how expensive their cars are but how cheaply they got them for…the rich are like that.

None of them, however, can have a word come out of their luxuriously imported mouths that speaks louder than this little Fiat coupe.

Topolinos and Topolino bodies are no stranger to the hot rod world…indeed I have seen more of these tiny Italian coupes with racing slicks and violent exhausts than ever in stock form. The vintage Fiat Topolino is a charming mini car, and I should love to own one, but this Fiat has something special – an engine that no luxury cars could ever aspire to…It is wrapped around an American LaFrance fire truck engine.

Not a daily suburban driver, perhaps. Nor yet the sort of vehicle one would choose to travel across the Nullarbor with a caravan in tow. Probably poor on petrol mileage, and the radio would struggle keep up with the engine and road noise.

The engine is V 12 but apparently can be run on half of those cylinders. It has double of a lot of things – for reliability. I would advise that readers enlarge the notice board and get the info fresh.

Apparently it is over 500 cubic inches in the engine. Eeeeeee… And my complements to the designer who thought of the dog. perhaps they can find him a small fireman’s helmet in the future.

Note: Sydney was taken on the Fujifilm X-T10 with the 18 and 27 mm lenses plus the ef-42 flash. In the event, the flash was not needed much. That little X-T10 is getting to be the go-to for exhibitions due to the waist-level finder.

Mamma Mia, Atsa Spicy Meatball


Italian 72

Stop groaning – if the subject is a visit to the Italian Car Show you have to come to expect that sort of thing.

Italian 63

And to a certain extent you have to expect a lot of other stereotypes – Italians come in all shapes and sizes, as do their cars, but the ones that slot right into the stage Italian role are the ones you remember. We had ’em all at Mulberry on Swan; dour black mammas glowering at the world, big hairy men slapping each other, princesses showing off for the Romeos in the cut-off tee shirts. I didn’t hear a mandolin but I did see half a dozen Tony’s dressed in straw porkpie hats. I forgot to look at the Swan River that runs just back of the conference center – there may have been gondolas.

Italian 86

Okay, apart from this, there was a goodly variety of Italian ironwork on display – more high-end cars than small ones, too. I had hoped for more of the tiny FIAT vans or sedans but they were overshadowed by rows of Maseratis, Ferraris, and Alfa Romeos. There were a couple of Lamborghinis and a De Thomaso as well.

Italian 91

I am a fan of 50’s and 60’s cars, as my model collection attests. I was pleased to see several of these but I am a little puzzled that there were not more of the more popular sports cars. I remember at the time that my wife was looking for a sporty car ( Choices for her were a Ford Capri or an MGB. She chose wisely…) the FIAT 124 sports sedan seemed to be everywhere on Perth roads – it was the Subaru WRX of the time and all the Subiaco and Claremont Money Girls seemed to be driving them. Just the one to be seen at the show. Have they gone the way of the Mazda 121 that was ubiquitous 15 years ago – dissolved into its own chassis and vanished?

Italian 100

Never mind. The Italian designers of motor cars were wonderful and are wonderful still. If there was a little hiatus in their professional judgement and sense of style in the eighties or nineties it did not impact too much here in Western Australia. The damned government ( Note for North American and European readers: That is our damned government, not yours. You have Washington and Bucharest – we have Canberrra. Same thing, but…) put giant taxes on imported cars and components and all the local assembly plants for interesting vehicles shut up. The Italian, French, and German small cars got too expensive to buy. The British ones vanished like frost at noon. We were left with local assemblies or Japanese and Korean imports. Fine as far as it went, but it all started to get pretty bland.

Italian 75

Of course if you were a mining magnate or a Ponzi financier or an old-schoolfellow gynaecologist you could afford all the good cars anyway and a number of the fancier Ferraris and Maseratis appeared in that way. Other money came presumably from other sources and also equipped itself with the better Italian cars. So we had a number of them to look at at the show – there was even a good old big standard FIAT sedan from the 1920’s and a Hispano-Suiza roadster out from the museum.

Italian 52

I was delighted to see them, and the equally exotic two-wheeled vehicles. Again, I have no ambitions to a café racer or a superbike, but the little grey Ducati scooter was very appealing. I wish I had the courage…

Italian 20

Note to car show photographers: Fill in flash at noon in Western Australia is a must, but be careful with metallic paint on show cars. You can get big areas that white out if the flash hits them directly.