1969 Fiat 1100 R 1.1
Back in time
Start motor renovated.
A classic design of the late sixties. Mine is Lancia-Blue (dark blue). Lots of chrome trimming. And especially with the whitewall tyres I mounted; a real eye catcher. It has an easily accessible four door cabin. Inside it has a tasteful dark red sky interior. The seats are of simple construction, and the driver's seat backrest is non-adjustable.
The passengers seat can be adjusted, and can be positioned in sleeping position. The dashboard is very simple with a speedometer, a meter which monitors the amount of fuel, and several warning lights. Furthermore, there are 4 tumble switches mounted; for turning on the headlights, the illumination of the dashboard meters, the fan (don't expect a tornado) and the windscreen wipers (which have one pace, and that is slow..). The Bakelite steering wheel still has the jungendstil FIAT logo. The backseat offers comfort for 2 adults.
When driving it first, you notice that the first 3 gears ratios are close to each other. The fourth gear is clearly an overdrive. The car has considerable torque, and one can accelerate in fourth gear from 50 until top speed, which is around 130. Not bad for a small car from this era. The gearbox is very clunky, and needs getting used to. Especially the first unsynchronized gear, which is not always easy.
The noise however at highway speed is too loud to be comfortable for long trips. Shouting is the only way to talk to your fellow travellers. The road handling is quite good, considering the age of the car. However when raining, one must consider that the brakes, although disk brakes in front, do not have the stopping power of today's cars. Keeping a safe distance from other cars will become your second nature...
The largest problem for any European car from the sixties, and especially Fiat's, is rust. There's a dutch saying that states that these (southern European cars) would already corrode in the brochure. Which was true due to the bad iron quality they used.
Due to their quality, there are very few FIAT 1100R left in Europe. In the Netherlands there are about 5 cars left of this type. Finding spare parts can be difficult.
Every time I drive the car, and I use it on a daily basis, it gives me joy. Not only because you build up a relationship with the car, but also because of the reactions of others. While driving, one constantly sees turned heads, raised thumbs, and children will be pointing at you. It gives people joy to see historic engineering on the road, and I am in a way, a mobile museum...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th June, 2012