Fiat 133 – driving with a smile

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In 1974 Fiat importer Leonard Lang brought the Seat 133 to the Netherlands. The Spanish successor of the Seat 850, the licensed model of the Fiat 850, debuted in our country as the Fiat 133. The new little one was positioned between the 126 (with two-cylinder engine in the rear) and the successful – and modern – 127 from the start. It stood out because of the combination of its fairly modern design and the application of proven Fiat/Seat 850 technology. The 133 had, among other things, the engine and drive in the rear, which was fairly conventional for a new car in 1974.

In the Netherlands, the car was not the most requested within the Fiat series. Today, the Fiat 133 is also a really rare appearance. A rarity. Fortunately, Ulko Gosma gave us the opportunity to put his yellow 133 in the spotlight. When we come face to face with this striking Fiat construzioni Seat we can't suppress a smile. The condition of the Spanish-made Fiat, delivered by Leonard Lang in Enschede in 1976, only makes the smile bigger: good and original.

Space offer

That also applies to technology. The engine and powertrain now have 91.000 kilometers behind the Spanish molars. I will experience how the original technique still holds up today. Furthermore, I will certainly have a special driving experience. When we take a seat in the Fiat 133, I notice that in the XNUMXs Seat was inspired by the designs of the Fiat 126 and the Fiat/Seat 127† There is plenty of space – especially at the front – for a car of this size. Although the legroom is limited by the strongly inwardly receding wheel arches. Nevertheless, the room to move – and thereby also the headroom – is more than sufficient, even for tall people.

Functional, simple, neat

The interior is functional, mainly neat and simply furnished. Behind the steering wheel – with Fiat horn – is a ribbon speedometer with, among other things, shift indicator dots and a full fuel gauge. Furthermore, the dashboard has two ventilation grilles in the middle, a few control buttons (including for the rear window heating, standard on the Fiat 133 in Northern Europe) and a storage compartment in which the necessary items can be stored. The chairs are from Ulko Gosma's donor 133, an 'L' from 1979. The furniture seems small in size, but really supports quite a bit. In addition, the backrest can be adjusted.

850 genes

I start the 843 cc of the Fiat 133 in the back. To keep the cold block going during the first minutes, the manual choke lever – placed between the front seats – is pulled out. The characteristic gurgling and lively sound immediately betrays the genes of the Fiat and Seat 850. Before we explore the area around Gaasterland, the owner refills with fuel. The filler opening is located inside the engine compartment. To refuel, the small engine cover must therefore be opened. A nice thing.

Operation from other times

When we drive and have warmed up the engine, I notice that the time-honoured 843 cc power source has to be used a lot to reach an acceptable speed. There are more signs that indicate that we are going back at least four decades with the Fiat 133 and its time-honoured technology. Take switching for example. That move takes a firm hand and the right feel to find the next and right gear. I also notice that the construction of the 133 influences the road holding. And the control appreciates corrective actions by the driver. The braking is also a different story. In the 133 it is a matter of putting your foot to the middle pedal in plenty of time. The unpowered drum stoppers only slow down when the pedal is depressed deeply. It's a matter of anticipation.

Fun: really old-fashioned driving

It is nice to be working in the Fiat 133. Because this is really old-fashioned driving. The 133 offers a form of almost basic car mobility. Technically and mechanically, he sang his quirky and old-fashioned song, which is hardly heard today. That, and the rarity that has occurred, make this Spanish Fiat unique. That is why I am grateful to the owner that he has honored this pleasantly stubborn rarity. And gave me a special experience. Moreover, in a beautiful rural setting. It is exactly that setting where this strikingly drawn classic feels most at ease. And again: how nice it is!

Also read:
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