Fiat 4 HP

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Fiat 4 HP
Fiat 3,5hp 1899.jpg
Manufacturer Fiat
Also called FIAT 3 ½ HP
Fiat 3.5 CV
Production 1899-1900
Assembly Corso Dante plant, Turin, Italy
Designer Aristide Faccioli[1]
Body and chassis
Body style vis à vis
Layout RR layout
Engine straight-2 679 cc[2]
Transmission 3-speed manual
Wheelbase 1,470 mm (58 in)[2]
Length 2,300 mm (91 in)[2]
Width 1,420 mm (56 in)[2]
Height 1,450 mm (57 in)[2]
Curb weight 680 kg (1,499 lb)[2]
Successor Fiat 6 HP
The FIAT 4 HP at the National Motor Museum, in UK

The FIAT 4 HP, sometimes called the 3 ½ CV, was the first model of car produced by FIAT. Eight examples were produced in its first year (1899) and total of 26 between 1899 and 1900. The car had a water-cooled 0.7-liter (679 cc) 2-cylinder, rear-mounted engine producing 4.2 horsepower at 800 rpm, mounted to a three-speed gearbox. (No reverse gear was included.) With this tiny engine the car could achieve top speed of 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph).[1] Despite having such a small engine, the car used fuel 8 litres per 100 kilometres (35 mpg-imp; 29 mpg-US).


The Ceirano brothers, Giovanni, Ernesto and Matteo, were influential in the founding of the Italian auto industry, being variously responsible for : Ceirano; Welleyes (the technical basis of F.I.A.T. - the 4HP); SCAT (Società Ceirano Automobili Torino); Itala and S.P.A. (Società Piemontese Automobili).

In 1888, after eight years apprenticeship at his father's watch-making business, Giovanni started building Welleyes bicycles, so named because English names had more sales appeal.[3] In October 1898 Giovanni co-founded Ceirano GB & C and started producing the Welleyes motor car in 1899. In July 1899 the plant and patents were sold to Giovanni Agnelli and produced as the first F.I.A.T.s - the Fiat 4 HP. Giovanni was employed by Fiat as the agent for Italy, but within a year he left to found "F.lli Ceirano" which became S.T.A.R. (Società Torinese Rapid Cars) (or Rapid cars). In 1904 Matteo Ceirano left Ceirano GB & C to create his own brand - Itala. In 1906 Matteo left Itala to found S.P.A. (Società Piemontese Automobili) with chief designer, Alberto Ballacco. In 1906 Giovanni founded SCAT (Società Ceirano Automobili Torino) in Turin.

This first Fiat was based on the work of car manufacturer Ceirano GB & C, makers of another early automobile model, the Ceirano Welleyes.[4] The 3 ½ had coachwork by Marcello Alessio of Turin.[5] At least four of these first Fiats have survived: one each at the Automobile Museum of Turin, the Centro Storico Fiat, the National Motor Museum in the United Kingdom and the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, in the USA.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b "FIAT mod. 4 HP". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Technical specifications of 1899 Fiat 3.5 CV". Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  3. ^ "Lancia, the essentials". 1937-02-15. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  4. ^ "1899 Ceirano Welleyes". Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  5. ^ a b "La Fiat 3 ½ HP". (in Italian). Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Fiat 3½hp". Retrieved 2010-12-02.