Looking for Professor Calculus, Tintin and Captain Haddock reached Geneva. Two cars shown at the airport were the BMW 501 and the Studebaker Champion. The two gentlemen were then dropped at the Hotel Cornavin. Surprise, surprise, and what did I discover about Herge and Tintin today? Cornavin is a real hotel in Geneva, which is 2-minute walk from Geneva train station. The taxi that dropped them at Hotel Cornavin was a Fiat 1400.
The 1400 was manufactured by Fiat from 1952 to 1959. It was Fiat’s first post war model and was offered with a monocoque body. It was manufactured by SEAT in Spain and Zastava in Yugoslavia. Two car models, the 1400 and 1900 were offered on the same body but with different engines. However, the trim on the two cars was vastly different. The 1900 was more luxurious and served as the flagship of the Fiat range. Fiat’s first diesel engine was offered on the 1400 in 1953. Though the diesel engine offered was a 1900 cc engine, because it was not marketed as the flagship model, the car was called the 1400 Diesel.
Fiat offered this car in a number of body styles like:-
- 4-door saloon.
- 2-door cabriolet.
- 2-door hardtop coupe.
Fiat 1400 was powered by a 1,395 cc (85.2 Cu-inch) inline four cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine. This engine breathed through two overhead valves per cylinder and produced 50 BHP at 4,600 rpm. It was able to generated a torque of 85 N-m (63 ft-lb) at 3,400 rpm. This power and turning moment was transferred to the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual gear box. Though the torque curve was not flat, it could still generated 75 N-m at around 1,550 rpm.
The 1400’s engine could push the 1,490 Kg (3,285 lb) car to a maximum speed of 125 km/ h (78 mph). Fiat had endowed the car with sufficiently large proportions as per European standards. This car was 4,305 mm (169.5″) long, 1,655 mm (65.2″) wide and 1,550 mm (61″) tall.
The second engine option was a 1,901 cc (116 Cu-inch) 4 cylinder inline naturally aspirated indirect injection diesel engine which again breathed through two push-rod operated overhead valves per cylinder. This engine produced 40 BHP at 3,200 rpm and 96.5 N-m (71 ft-lb) of torque at a lowly 2,000 rpm. It could push the slightly heavier – 1,560 Kg (3,439lb) – car to a maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).