Fiat 1100 Club – Bringing back the glory of classic Fiat cars!
For many, the Fiat 1100 is imbued with nostalgia. To protect and cherish this classic car, which has been a synonym for car travel to generations of Indians, four fiat enthusiasts in Bangalore have formed a Fiat 1100 Club.
To bring back the glory of classic Fiat cars and recreate interest in them, four Fiat-enthusiasts have formed a Fiat 1100 club. The club aims to bring all Fiat classic cars such as Fiat 500, 600, 1100 and Premier Padmini under their club to help owners restore their beautiful Fiats and make them roadworthy.
Started by Sujith Thomas with other founder members - Karthik Makam, Kedarnath, Karthik M.B. and Arun Srinivasan, the club aims to bring about awareness of the yesteryear beauties. Explaining how it all started, Sujith says “We met on the social networking site Orkut way back in 2006 and arranged for a meet up, and that’s when the idea was born. It is quite difficult to find spares and other parts so we decided to form a club through which we could help other Fiat owners,”
Sujith who has a 1978 Premier Padmini says “We started the club on March 15 2009 and since then our numbers are only growing. We have about 100 members now and about 30 – 40 of them regularly take part in the rallies. We are quite active on Facebook and other social networking sites, we arrange regular meet ups and discuss about various issues concerning these cars,”
The Fiat 1100 club’s main objective is to prevent these cars from going to the scrap yard. And they plan to support the owners in restoring these cars. “Premier Padminis and other Fiat 1100s have become a rare sight. And sourcing Fiat 1100 parts is becoming an uphill task. The body and rubber trims are impossible to get. Only if the 1100 goes up considerably in the estimation of classic car collectors, production of parts specific to them can be expected,” says Sujith.
The Fiat 1100 was first introduced in 1937 as an updated version of the 508 "Balilla" (its real name was the 508C) with a look similar to the 1936 Fiat 500 "Topolino" and the larger 1500, with the typical late-30s heart-shaped front grille, with styling by the emerging designer, Giacosa. It was powered by a 1089 cc four cylinder overhead valve engine. Drive was to the rear wheels through a four speed gearbox, and for the period, its comfort, handling, and performance were prodigious, making it "the only people's car that was also a driver's car.
The members of the Club meet once in every two months and they take their cars for a spin across the city and then stop for breakfast or lunch at the Airlines Hotel. “We meet at Cubbon Park or Lalbagh and then go out for a ride. Usually the route is pre decided and we avoid roads that are heavy with traffic. If the car is well maintained it can give a mileage of about 10 -12 kms,” explains Sujith.
The club has members of all age groups, from a 22-year-old working professional to 88-year-old retired wing commander; their passion for this classic car is what brings them together. At present, except for the Elegants, the Millecentos and other 1100s from the 1950s and early 1960s, a Fiat in running condition fetches a price somewhere between Rs.20, 000 and Rs.30, 000. Sujith says a well-restored Fiat 1100 will fetch an attractive price. “People are slowly waking up to the ‘classic' value of the 1100.”
The club can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or their Facebook Page.