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Fiat 126 as bycatch

ER Classics Desktop 2022

It has been mentioned before: We regularly do the communication between French classic enthusiasts. For the French, the Netherlands is a kind of toy store because our classic range is wide, good and very attractively priced for them. Only the French who can afford something so beautiful do not usually speak English. Or Dutch.

Via a Jeep hood to a Fiat 126

We helped Dominique Bard with a Jeep. Things then started to get out of hand when Dominique went on a Dutch part hunt. Then you put contacts outside of every revenue model and you learn all about the CJ Jeeps while doing so. In any case, we were left with a French holiday address. At Jelle Blom we ran into a car (ootje) that actually only matched Jelle's more regular trade in terms of color: A sweetheart of a green Fiat 126.


That Fiat 126

The Fiat 126 (type 126) was a (tight) four-seater city car with the rear engine, which was introduced by Fiat at the Turin Motor Show in October 1972 as a replacement for the Fiat 500. The 126 had the same wheelbase and many of the same mechanical parts and layout with the Fiat 500, with a revised, slightly larger body designed by Sergio Sartorelli.

The newcomer had a little more interior space. The extra interior space was the result of two things: the relocation of the starter motor, which allowed the firewall / rear seat to be moved back about 10 cm, and the roof extension for more headroom. There were also some safety features upgraded, but such a small Fiat mainly remained a crumple zone of about three meters.

They came from everywhere. Well: almost

The Fiat 126 was produced until 1979 at Fiat's factories in Cassino and Termini Imerese - with a total production of 1.352.912 in Italy. The Fiat 126 was also manufactured under license by Zastava in Yugoslavia. In Austria it was briefly assembled by Steyr Puch as the successor to the successful Puch 500, with assembly until 1975 - and production of 2069 units.

The toppers: the Polski Fiats

Most 126s were produced in Bielsko-Biała, Poland, as the Polski Fiat 126p, where production continued until 2000. In many markets Fiat discontinued sales of the 126 in 1993 in favor of their new Cinquecento with its front engine. With a length of 3,05 meters, the total production of the 126 reached almost 4,7 million units. In Poland, the car became a cultural icon and was nicknamed Maluch, meaning “the little one” or “toddler,” which eventually became an official model name in 1997 when it appeared on the back of the car.

The Fiat 126 never enjoyed the popularity of the in Western Europe Fiat 500 as the rear-engined layout lost favor with front-wheel drive yet became one of the last and longest-lived rear-engined small cars to be produced in Europe. Survived only by the VW Beetle, whose production took longer. The 126 was the last small rear-engined car to be produced in Europe until the arrival of the Smart Fortwo.

You shouldn't do classic driving if you're in a hurry

In the meantime, the 126's are very endearing classics with a high user-friendliness. Of course they are city cars. But that did not prevent an acquaintance of us a few years ago from driving his Fiat 126 and his Lief to Austria. Inside door. About the roads that your TomTom or Garmin tells you if you tick 'avoid' at just about every road option. Yes. But as Wim rightly pointed out: "You shouldn't do classic driving if you're in a hurry." Also nice: A Fiat 126 is cheaper than a comparable Fiat 500. After all, December is already such an expensive month.

Also read:
- Fiat Panda. The last of the Mohicans
- The Fiat 600 Multipla (1963): Attractive design
- Fiat 500 'Abarth'. An unreparable restoration object
- Driving impression Fiat 600 D (1964). Little happiness, great virtue
- Fiat 128 rally. Popular variation on a popular theme.

7 Comments

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  1. We have a predom caravan (-netje). Type n126. Apparently it got that type number because it would be suitable to hang behind that 126 car. Max total weight 650 kg. A cart like that must have just gotten away with that, literally, I mean. We hang it behind a panda 3 with 85 hp and have often been away with it, to southern France, Germany, Austria and often domestic snacks.

  2. the spare wheel was certainly useful in the design here. It made the front super strong. Blissful little car in Italy through the village roads

  3. Years ago I fitted my Fiat 500 with the engine and gearbox of a demolition 126. Only 1st gear was not synchronized, so my wife could also drive it, which she didn't want in the end.

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View the 40-page preview via or a click on the cover.

The August issue, containing:

  • Fiat 127 from 1972
  • Heemskerk V-twin, the best motorcycle BSA has never built
  • Restoration Mini Traveler 1963
  • Peugeot 104, a party
  • Volkswagen Golf Country was too far ahead of its genre
  • Driving with a Yamaha R5 (1971-1972)
  • Report Wemeldinge Classic Races
  • Duplicate type designations - Part XVI
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