1923 FIAT 501 Sport

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Founded in Turin in 1899 by a group of aristocratic motoring enthusiasts, FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) built its first car in 1900 and by the outbreak of WWI was out-producing all of its British rivals. After a succession of small twins and fours, medium and large-capacity models, including a number of leviathan racers, dominated the FIAT line-up in its early years, but in 1908 the firm introduced the ‘Taxi’, a modest, 2.2-litre, four-cylinder model that would point the firm in the direction of its future prosperity. The Taxi’s successor was the Tipo 1, a 1.8-litre four built between 1910 and 1912, from which FIAT developed the Zero. Influenced by Ford’s Model T, the Zero was available with tourer coachwork only at first and proved highly successful, though the 2,000-or-so sold between 1912 and 1915 represented a mere drop in the ocean by American standards.

 

The Zero’s success influenced FIAT’s first post-WWI introduction in the small-capacity class - the 501. Like the Zero, the 501 was powered by a four-cylinder sidevalve engine, though of slightly smaller (1,460cc) capacity. It was available in various versions with several types of coachwork and proved an outstanding success with over 45,000 sold between 1919 and 1926.

 

The Fiat 501 S Torpedo model was one of the two versions in which the Fiat 501 came off the assembly line, this one coming with more power and a drop-top cloth roof. 

Its engine is a naturally aspirated petrol, 1.5 litre, side valve 4 cylinder with 2 valves per cylinder. In this application it produces 23 bhp (23.3 PS/17.2 kW) of power at 2600 rpm.
The engine delivers its power through to the wheels by means of a 4 speed manual transmission.
It weighs a claimed 1380 kg at the kerb.
The Fiat 501 is said to be able to manage a maxiumum speed of 71 km/h which is 44 mph.

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