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Old 11-04-2009   #1
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Newbie needs info on 50s Fiat

Greetings from a newbie. (So please let me know when I hamhandedly break the rules)

I am looking for some information on an odd 1954 Fiat I stumbled across today. First let me admit, while I'm an old car guy, the cars I collect and restore as a side business with my best buddy of almost 30 years tend to be mainly American muscle or Ford Ts and As. As such today I was at our detail guys shop to drop off a 70 Nova SS for wet sanding, and to see a 69 CJ Mustang he might be selling for a client. While enjoying a few frosties with friends nature called (it seems to do so with increasing frequency as I round the bend towards 50..you know you're getting old when you pay more attention to Flomax ads than Danica Patrick commercials.) Stuffed away behind his barn I found a car under a tarp. Being a car guy I am instinctively programmed to look under any tarp to see if I've stumbled across a vintage Cobra of Duesenberg, though to be honest the object under this tarp was more the size of a largish microwave. I could not identify the car I found though being somewhat versed in the English language and posessed of Sherlockian sleuth I was able to read a badge that read "Fiat." I found the car intriguing and asked my buddy what it was.

He seemed flummoxed for a moment trying to remember what was under the tarp then said he beleived it was a 1954 Fiat, though it could be a 1956. It had the usual story of some deceased relative by marriage leaving it in a lean to and the inheritors needing someone to haul the car away. He's willing to let it go cheap and since I've got some storage space and a few bucks I've made selling a trio of Chevelles lately I'm thinking about hauling it home the way I have so many other automotive norphans since my friends and I arrrived on my parents property pushing a broken down V-dub I got for free when I was ten. If I recall correctly I will be ungrounded by next year for that mishap. I did eventually get it running at which point it set itself on fire and destroyed my parents shed.

Anyway, this 1954 or perhaps 1956 Fiat is a four door. It is chicklet blue in color with a white roof, and basically rust and dent free though it's got a few boinks. My bud had some paperwork on it that seemed to indicate it was a model 56. It has a four speed manual on the tree, which surprised me. I seem to recall even Vettes didn't have four speeds in the era. It's all there except the aircleaner and a duct tube that goes from a silver device on the firewall to parts unknown I think was meant to convey heat to inside the car. By the standards of the 50s the interior is quite luxorious for what appears to be an economy car. The glovebox is lined with what looks like really well stitched mouse fur though it is free of rodents or thier spore.

My buddy had all sort of documentation from the original owner, ranging from a parking ticket in 1957, to an admittance ticket to a New York City strip club from that era (women of all nationalities in various states of dress and undress!) but what floored me was the original bill of sale from the selling dealer in New Jersey. It noted the car cost 3400 dollars new which was a huge sum of money in those days. The trade in allowance on a 1950 Buick against the car was a grand for comparisons sake. So I went to have another look at the car to see what might have made it so costly. The only thing I noted were a pair of tarnished gold colored badges that noted it was some word that began with T followed by the word "Super."

Can anyone provide any insight into what this car is. Again it just seems like it sold for a ton of money by the standard of the day though it looks like a rather plebian if stylish economy car to my untrained eye. Secondly, the engine is locked up. I've dealt with that before and I have a witches brew of Marvel Mystery Oil/WD40/Aerokroil I've used many times to unstick an engine long enough to get it running after a fashion long enough to access what work it needs, be it a full on rebuild, a re-ring or a simple gasket and spray bomb restoration. How hard is it to get parts for a Fiat of this era such as engine bearings, a camshaft, etc. Are they out there or am I setting myself up for the latest lawn ornament? Some stuff like the bumpers and grille need rechroming and one front turn signal lens is cracked. Is this stuff out there? My friend's kid says it reminds him of the tire saleperson character in the movie "Cars" and he his is hard on John and I to haul it home and get it running. What am I getting myself into? Any help appreciated.
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Old 11-04-2009   #2
bairns, not bombs.
 
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Re: Newbie needs info on 50s Fiat

Fiat 1100?
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I'm assuming if it's got virtually no rust you live in the center of death valley in the US?
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Old 11-04-2009   #3
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Re: Newbie needs info on 50s Fiat

Could be an 1100, it also could be a 1400

Fiat_1400 Fiat_1400



Got any photo's of the car?

Troy.
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Old 13-04-2009   #4
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Re: Newbie needs info on 50s Fiat

No, I an nowhere near Death Valley...in fact the car has apparently spent its entire life in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania...two states that spend more per capita on road salt than anywhere else I know of thanks to the locals massive retardation in handling slick road conditions other than taking one hand off the wheel to dial thier cell phones and call others to report how bad the roads are...during a flurry. Back in the day I once drove a Boss 302 home to Philly from Pittsburgh during a blizzard on half worn non-all season 60 series bias ply tires with about as much drama as an episode of My Little Pony.

Will try to snap some pics of this car this week when we go pick up the Nova.
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Old 13-04-2009   #5
bairns, not bombs.
 
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Re: Newbie needs info on 50s Fiat

Quote Originally Posted by KidLightning View Post

Will try to snap some pics of this car this week when we go pick up the Nova.
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