Fiat 1100

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This article is about the 1953 Fiat 1100/103. For the Fiat 508 C Balilla 1100 and Fiat 1100 built from 1937–53, see Fiat 1100 (1937).
Fiat 1100
Various versions of the 1100/103 (spring 1955). From right to left: Berlina (sedan), Familiare (estate), TV (Turismo Veloce).
Manufacturer Fiat
Production 1953–1969
Body and chassis
Class Small family car (C)
Body style
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Neckar Europa
Premier Padmini (1100 D)
  • 1,089 cc I4 (petrol)
  • 1,221 cc I4 (petrol)
Transmission 4-speed manual
Predecessor Fiat 1100 E
Successor Fiat 128

The Fiat 1100 is a small family car produced from 1953 to 1969 by the Italian manufacturer Fiat. It was an all-new unibody replacement for the Fiat 1100 E, which descended from the pre-war, body-on-frame Fiat 508 C Balilla 1100. The 1100 was changed steadily and gradually until being replaced by the new Fiat 128 in 1969. There were also a series of light commercial versions of the 1100 built, with later models called the Fiat 1100T, which remained in production until 1971. The Fiat 1100D also found a long life in India, where Premier Automobiles continued to build the car until the end of 2000.


Like other manufacturers, after World War II Fiat continued producing and updating pre-war types. The first blank sheet design was the 1950 1400, the first with unibody Fiat, which took place of the 1935 1500. Fiat's intermediate offering between the 1500 and the diminutive 500 was the 1100 E, the last evolution of the 508C Nuova Balilla 1100 first launched in 1937. Its replacement it was codenamed Tipo 103; like the 1400 was to use unit construction, while the 1100 E's 1.1-litre engine was carried over unaltered.


1954 Fiat 1100–103

The Fiat 1100/103 was introduced in 1953; compared to the 1100 E it had modern 4-door saloon body sporting integrated fenders and front lights.[3] The new model was called the 1100/103 after its project number, and was offered (as usual at that time) in two different versions: "economica" (cheaper) and "normale" (standard). In October 1953, the car became available in a sporty version, the 1100TV (Turismo Veloce) with a third light in the middle of the grille and 51 PS (38 kW) rather than the 36 PS (26 kW) of the regular versions. It was also available in estate version, with a side-hinged fifth door at the back.[4]

In March 1955, the 1100/103 Trasformabile, a 2-seat roadster, was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. Equipped with the mechanics from the 1100 TV, the American-inspired design was the work of the special bodies division of Fiat (Sezione Carrozzerie Speciali). 571 of these first series Trasformabiles were built.[5] In 1956 it received a more powerful engine (three more horsepower) and a modified rear suspension; 450 more of these were built. From 1957 the Trasformabile was equipped with the more powerful 55 PS (40 kW) "1200" engine (1221 cc). Production of this model continued until 1959, with circa 2,360 of the 1.2 liter Trasformabiles built.[5] The 1.2 also received slight changes to the front and rear design, with bigger headlights being the most noticeable difference.

1954 Fiat 1100 TV Pininfarina

Pininfarina also offered a special-bodied version of the 1100 TV, a two-door sporting coupé of which 126 were built.

Between 1956 and 1960, the new 1100 underwent several slight changes in fittings and details, e.g. newly designed grille, more rectangular profile, dual color dressing, and eventually small fintails with spear-shaped backlights. A special version, the 1100 Granluce (i.e. "Large light"), no longer with rear-hinged-doors, launched in 1959, had both fintails and wider windows. As an option it could be fitted with a new powerful 1221 cc engine.

The Fiat 1100/103 was imported and sold by Premier Automobiles Limited (PAL). The older model was known as the Millecento and the one with the center light on the front grille as the Elegant. In 1958, the fintail model was introduced as the Select. It was followed by the Super Select in 1961. By 1964, the 1100D was introduced and it was assembled in India by PAL. This model has most of the parts manufactured locally. In India it was considered a sportier alternative than the Hindustan Ambassador.


1963 Fiat 1100D

Retaining the exterior changes of this model, in 1962 Fiat introduced the third generation 1100, called the 1100D. It was a sober yet comfortable four-door sedan, very similar to the Granluce but with simpler sides and a new simpler rectangular front end. The 1100D was a successful Italian Standard in the early sixties and along with its own Estate or Family car version and a Deluxe model that offered a higher performance of 50 PS (37 kW), extra side moldings, front bench seat with two reclining backs and carpet floor mats. These survived without any substantial alteration until 1966, when the introduction of the groundbreaking 124 model imposed a further change in styling. Power was 40 PS (29 kW) at the time of introduction, which was soon increased to 43 PS (32 kW).[6]

The Fiat 1100D was manufactured under licence in India by the Premier Automobiles Limited beginning in 1964. The vehicle was initially marketed as the Fiat 1100D, as the Premier President for model year 1972, and as the Premier Padmini since 1974 until its discontinuation in 2000. By 1993, a diesel version with a 1366 cc diesel engine made in collaboration with FNM from Italy and was badged as the Premier Padmini 137D.The car manufacturing plant was closed down by 2000.


1967 Fiat 1100R

The very last 1100 model, born in February 1966, was the 1100R ("R" stood for Rinnovata). It had a longer, straighter and slimmer line, with a square back and a front-end look not very different from its bigger sister the Fiat 124. In terms of styling cues, the vestigial fins were further suppressed and the simple round rear light cluster from the Fiat 850 replaced the vertical form seen on the 1100D.[7] At the same time, the larger engine was withdrawn in order to avoid undue overlap with the 124. The 1100R was offered only with the older 1,089 cc engine,[8] now with a compression ratio of 8:1 and a claimed output of 48 bhp (36 kW).[7] This engine (with a somewhat narrower bore) had been first introduced in the 1937 508 C Balilla 1100.[6]

Clutch and gearbox were little changed, but the return of a floor mounted gear lever positioned between the front seats and connected to the gearbox with a rod linkage system was welcomed by the motoring press.[7] The absence of synchromesh on the bottom forward speed nevertheless offered a reminder that under the surface this was becoming a somewhat aging design.[7] Between the gearbox and the differential, the propeller shaft had now been separated into two parts with three couplings.[7]

The boot was usefully expanded, helped by a slight increase in the car's overall length, and with more careful packaging of the spare wheel (under the floor) and the fuel tank (in the rear wing on the right).[7] As configured for UK sales, reclining front seats were available as an optional extra for £8.[9]

The 1100R finally gave way in 1969 to the new middle-class Fiat 128. It was also assembled by the Neckar-Automobilwerke in Heilbronn, Germany. Called the Neckar 1100 Millecento it only differed lightly in trim.[10]


1960s Fiat 1100T

The 1100T was made from 1957 as a panel van, pickup and minibus. The car was equipped with a in-line engine with 1,089 cc (type 103 D.007) with 38 PS (28 kW) at 4800 rpm and it had a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). In 1959, its successor was unveiled, the Fiat 1100 T2, that had a 45 PS (33 kW) 1,222 cc engine.[11] Production continued with a steady stream of updated engines, until production of the 1100 T4 finally came to an end in 1971.


  1. ^ "Fiat 1100". Australian Motor Manual: 40. 1 August 1960. 
  2. ^ "Historique de la SOMACA". Somaca Casablanca. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Becker, p. 85
  4. ^ Smith, Maurice A, ed. (5 January 1967). "Test: Fiat 1100R Estate Car". Autocar 126 (3699): 58–60. 
  5. ^ a b 1959 Fiat 1100 Turismo Veloce (Museum placard), Hasköy, Istanbul, Turkey: Rahmi M. Koç Museum (On temporary loan from Tofaş Türk Otomobil Fabrikası A.Ş.), A total of 571 of these first series cars were built. In 1956 the Trasformabile gained 3bhp and a slightly modified rear suspension. Production continued for another year, with a further 450 cars being built. The first significant change came in 1957 with the introduction of a new 1221 cc engine, and small cosmetic changes to the front and rear. This final version was built until 1959, with around 2360 cars being produced. 
  6. ^ a b Becker, Clauspeter (1971). Logoz, Arthur, ed. "Fiat 128". Auto-Universum 1971 (in German) (Zürich, Switzerland: Verlag Internationale Automobil-Parade AG) XIV: 80. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Rogliatti, Gianni (4 February 1966). "Fiat 1100R: Extensive revisions bring 1100 up-to-date". Autocar. 124 (2651): 227. 
  8. ^ Cardew, Basil (1966). "Review of the 1966 Motor Show". Daily Express (London: Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd). 
  9. ^ Smith, Maurice A, ed. (13 June 1968). "Autocar testday: 1,000 - 1,300 cc cars". Autocar 128 (3774): 2–10. 
  10. ^ Braunschweig, Robert; et al., eds. (9 March 1967). "Automobil Revue Modelle 1967/Revue Automobile modèles 1967" (in German and French) 62. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG: 364. 
  11. ^ "FIAT - Transporter und leichte Lkw - 1950 - 1979 (1990) technische Daten" (in German). Retrieved 24 April 2010.