The charter establishing Fiat was signed in 1899. A year later, the factory opened and produced 24 cars in the first year. By 1908, Fiat had expanded throughout Europe and the U.S. World War I began and production focused on supplying the army.
The principal derivative of the Fiat Nuevo 500 was the Autobianchi. A chic, upmarket product conceived in parallel with the Fiat 500, the Autobianchi firm was part-owned (and later fully-owned) by Pirelli and Fiat.
This car started life as a Fiat Cinquecento. You can find an early example of the Cinquecento–the Fiat 500--in the micro car area. As rallies are a very popular form of motorsports in Europe, most manufacturers offer “kits” to transform a production car into a rally car.
One year after the introduction of the Fiat 600, another version was introduced–possibly the first minivan–the Multipla (which means “all service”). This vehicle had three rows of seats for a total capacity of six people, the two rear pairs of seats could be folded into the floor, leaving a large flat loading area.
Introduced in July 1957, the successor for the “Topolino,” the “Nuova (which means “new”) 500" used a layout similar to that seen on the 600 with a rear mounted engine driving the rear wheels and independent suspension on all four wheels.
The Fiat X1/9 is a two-seater sports car designed by Bertone and built by Fiat. Intended to be the first affordable mid-engined sports car, the X1/9 is notable for its sharp styling and impeccable handling.
The first examples of this model, in 1950, had a wooden frame with alloy panels; the next step was an all-steel body. By 1957, the body was fiberglass, giving the Fuldamobil a more handsome appearance.
Bill Buckle of Sydney, Australia, was a distributor of the German Goggomobil in the late 1950s. In an effort to get away from the punishing import taxes imposed by Australia, he found it cheaper to import the chassis and then build his own fiberglass body.
Hansa was founded in 1905 to build light cars. The company merged with Lloyd in 1914 and built commercial vehicles. Carl Borgward became involved with cars and commercial vehicles in the 1920s and merged with Hansa-Lloyd in 1929.
Country of Origin: Germany
Hansa-Lloyd and Goliath-Werke Borgward & Tecklenbur
Ben F. Gregory was an advocate of front wheel drive. Gregory made cars on and off for a span of 42 years. His first cars were built around 1920, and it was not until 26 years later, following World War II, that Gregory returned to designing cars.
This German company was producing cars as early as the 1920s but they struggled financially through that decade. In 1931, Hanomag had 25% of the small-car market in Germany, trailed by DKW (19%) and BMW (17%).