In my last post we accompanied Tintin in a Panhard Dyna as he followed the villain Dawson traveling in a Jaguar Mark I. Once inside Dawson’s premises, Tintin realised that this man was selling illegal weapons, including aircraft to various non-state and rebel actors. During his investigation, an alarm clock slipped into Tintin’s coat by Abdullah, the naughty son of Emir Ben Kalish Ezab went off and Tintin had to escape from Dawson’s premises. On his way back, Tintin picked up a news paper and was shocked to read a headline. In this frame, there is a blue car shown in the background. This car was an extremely popular car from the Italian manufacturer Fiat. The car was a Fiat 1100/103.
The 1100/ 1o3 was a car manufactured by Fiat between 1953 and 1969. A version of this car, the Fiat 1100 D was manufactured in India by the Premier Automobile Ltd (PAL) as the Premier Padmini till 2000. The 1100/ 103 was a true world car as it was manufactured on five continents, namely Europe (Italy), Asia (India and Iran), South America (Argentina), Africa (Morocco) and Australia. The 1100/103 was offered in a number of body styles:-
- 4-door sedan
- 4-door estate
- 2-door spider (convertible)
The 1100/103 had a monocoque body construction. The car was launched during the 1953 Geneva Motor Show. The earlier models had suicide doors while they changed over to the conventional front hinged doors from 1100D onwards. The car was offered in two trims, the lower end Tipo A and high end Tipo B. The Tipo A was offered in only one colour, Grey-Brown and had separate seats at the front in place of a bench seat. There was no chrome on exterior neither was a heater or a ventilation system offered.. The Tipo B was offered in a number of colours, had fabric seats and could be offered with factory fitted white wall tyres. It offered an entertainment system in form of a radio.
In 1954, the 1100 Familiare was introduced. This car was an estate with a side hinged rear door. This was may be an early version of the extremely popular in India MUVs (Multi Utility Vehicles), basically an estate with a third row of front facing seats placed in luggage space, a la the Maruti Ertiga, Honda Mobilio, Datsun Go+ etc.The Familiare offered an optional front facing third row of jump seats which could seat a fifth and sixth passenger.
The 1100/103 was offered with a naturally aspirated inline four cylinder petrol engine displacing 1,089 cc (66.6 cu-inch). This engine breathed through 2 valves per cylinder and produced 36 BHP at 4,400 rpm. It also produced a torque of 69 N-m (51 ft-lb) at 2,500 rpm. The front mounted engine transferred power and torque to the rear wheels through a four speed gear box. This engine could push a Fiat 1100/ 103, which was 3,775mm (148.6″) long, 1,458 mm (57.4″) wide and 1,485 mm (58.5″) tall; and weighed 1,150 Kg (2,535 lb) to a maximum speed of 117 km/h (73 mph).
The 1100/103 could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 32.9 seconds or 0 to 60 mph in 29.4 seconds. It could do a quarter mile in 23.4 seconds achieving a speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) at the end of the quarter mile. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes on all wheels.
The 1100/103 had a long Indian connection. 1954 onwards, the Fiat 1100-103 was imported and sold in India by Premier Automobiles as the Millicento. A version with a third headlight in the centre of the grille was introduced as the Elegant. These cars had a small rounded hump for a boot and tiny tail lamps. This car was also called the Dukkar Fiat in India as its back resembled a pig. It has been depicted in many a Hindi movies as the car driven by the friendly Parsi.Italian cars are fashion icons even if they are meant for the masses. In 1958, keeping with the trend the little fashionable car grew tiny tail fins and pointed ellipsoidal tail lamps which continue with the Padmini to date. These cars were sold as the ‘Select’ and ‘Super Select’. Though the curved boot was lost, she still retained a good deal of curves.
This is my last post for 2016. I wish all my readers a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2017.