Tag Archives: 1100

Rebel With Out A Clue – FIAT 128 1100 2 Door Saloon

Today’s featured FIAT 128 1100 2 Door Saloon was first registered in the UK between 1st of August 1970 and the 31st of July 1971 we know this because of the ‘J’ suffix in the registration number, the 2nd and third letters CJ tell us that the car was first registered in the Norwich area about 100 miles North East of London.

In the Spring of 1978 my Grandmother came over to London from Germany and kindly gave me a small sum of cash to buy my first car.

My idea was to spend it on a cheap to run and insure Citroën 2CV which I knew from a friends experience had no go, but was great fun getting there all the same.

My civil engineer Dad had other idea’s, he did not want his one and only to be at risk driving a French tin can on wheels and promised to pay the insurance if I bought something a little more substantial.

I suggested a FIAT 124 like the one I had learned to drive in Zambia, but eventually settled for the front wheel drive 128 seen below which had made it’s way down from Norwich to Uxbridge.

FIAT 128, Haselmere,

The car was originally maroon, a scrape against a fence post was all the excuse I needed to invest heavily in body filler and spray paint to end up with the refrigerator white and bright red paint job seen above.

With hindsight it is amazing my lungs survived two days locked up in a tiny garage with 10 tins of spray paint and little if anything in the way of fume protection.

In case you are wondering I was trying to make the car look something like Niki Lauda’s 1976 Ferrari 312T2, with more time and perhaps a spot of green paint I am sure I would have got there… eventually !

All though the car had half an areal it did not come with a radio or speakers, so an old radio compact cassette combination system served as my ICE, in car entertainment.

Among the many excursions I made in the car I visited Silverstone for the 1978 USAC race won by AJ Foyt, 1979 Six Hour Race won by John Fitzpatrick, Hans Heyer and Brilliant Bob Wollek driving a Gelo Porsche 935 and the 1979 British Grand Prix won by Clay Regazzoni driving a Williams FW07.

Then there was Reading Rock ’79 where Mike and the mechanics with both Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel on stage, The Cure, Molly Hatchet, Motörhead, Scorpions, Eurythmics, the Police and DJ John Peel kept us entertained for my first weekend of unadulterated debauchery, it was so bad I could not remember my own phone number on the way home and finally Knebworth Park for the second of the two Led Zepplin gigs.

The following spring I was hoping to do more of the same, but although the car passed it’s MOT it started falling to bit’s after I gently parked it up a kerb outside a friends flat in Earls Court.

Later that evening I was visiting another friend down in Haselmere when strange noises started coming out of the front of the car, the suspension was collapsing.

I took it to a garage and they showed me that the frame to which the suspension arms were mounted was completely rotten and they advised me this was true on the other side and rather than bodge a repair I’d be better off spending the money on another car, reluctantly I agreed.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rebel Without A Clue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last of the current Saturday series of GN Specials. Don’t forget to come back now !


Minivan SUV – Talbot Matra Rancho

Having established it’s sports car credentials with Simca on the collaborative Bagheera, Matra’s next joint effort with Simca was to build a front wheel drive off road version of the little 5 door Simca 1100 hatchback which became known as the Rancho.

Talbot Matra Rancho, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

The design used the front end of the front wheel drive Simca 1100 fourgonette van with an extended chassis on to which Matra’s fibreglass and polyester body, designed by Antonis Volanis, was grafted.

Talbot Matra Rancho, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

Unusually the vehicle had three rows of seats not unlike later popular minivans, the interior was largely taken directly from the Simca 1100 parts bins including seats and instrumentation.

Talbot Matra Rancho, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

The car’s ground clearance was raised for off road use and an 80 hp 1.4 litre / 87.9 cui version of the Poissey engine shared with the Simca 1307 and Matra Bagheera models was fitted.

Talbot Matra Rancho, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

The Matra Simca was launched in 1977 and was rebranded Talbot Matra Rancho in 1979 after Peugeot merged Chrysler Europe’s brands into it’s portfolio, in all 57,792 Rancho’s were built with Minivan SUV, as seen here, detachable canvas and commercial van bodie styles until 1985 when the model was discontinued.

Talbot Matra Rancho, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

Matra went on to develop a Minivan with three row’s of seats for it’s next concept which Peugeot turned down but Renault accepted with open arms leading Matra to becoming part of the Renault industrial complex and the launch of the Renault Espace in 1984.

Thanks for joining me on this “Minivan SUV” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Otto Vú – FIAT 8V

It is believed work commenced on the 2 litre FIAT Tipo 106 70° V8 design credited to Dante Giacosa in 1945.

FIAT 8V, Silverstone Classic

The engine which was manufactured in 105, 115 or extremely rare 120 hp variants was only used for the 8V model in FIAT’s range, but was notably also adopted by SIATA for their 208S model.

FIAT 8V, Silverstone Classic

8V’s, so called because Ford held the copyrights to the V8 name, were fitted into a tube frame chassis with independent suspension taken form the contemporary FIAT 1100 parts bin.

FIAT 8V, Silverstone Classic

Bodywork for the 114 8V’s, also known as Otto Vú’s, was primarily farmed out to a variety of coach builders including Zagato, Ghia and Vignale although 34 had bodywork designed by FIAT’s Fabio Luigi Rapi and made by FIAT’s Reparto Carrozzerie Speciali.

FIAT 8V, Silverstone Classic

While the production numbers were extremely low, by FIAT’s standards, they were built in sufficient numbers to qualify for use in GT competition where they enjoyed many successes.

FIAT 8V, Silverstone Classic

Among those successes were Elio Zagato’s, from the coach building company, outright victories in the 3 hour race at Bari in 1954, repeated in 1955 by Carlo Siciliani on the same event and a win in the 1955 Berlin Grand Prix, drivers of 8V’s won the Italian under 2 litre GT championships up to and including 1959.

FIAT 8V, Silverstone Classic

The example seen here at last years Silverstone Classic is a 1954 MkII Berlinetta one of just 28 with the later version of Rapi’s bodywork built by Reparto Carrozzerie Speciali, it has been restored by Ian Nuttall of IN Racing in Nottingham.

Thanks for joining me on this “Otto Vú” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Group B Rally Car that conquered Africa in the mid 1980’s. Don’t forget to come back now !


Nuova Balilla – FIAT 508C

The FIAT 508C replaced the earlier 508, 508S and 508B models in 1937, 508C’s are also variously known as Nuova Balilla’s and 1100 in deference to their 1089 cc / 66 cui motor 4 cylinder motors producing 30 hp in standard spec and 40 hp in sporting CMM spec.

FIAT 508C, Cyril Hancock, VSCC Loton Park,

The FIAT 500 Topolino like styling of the 508C is credited to Dante Giacosa who was responsible for styling both models.

Modestly priced with independent front suspension and four speed gearbox the 508C was considered both a peoples car and a drivers car.

Cyril Hancock’s example seen above at Loton Park is a 1938 model first registered in the UK on March 3rd 1938.

With minor restyling and the 1100B name more popularly known as the “big nose” or ‘1100 musone’ in Italian production continued until the outbreak of hostilities.

Production of the 508C resumed after the ’39-’45 hostilities, with further modifications, in 1949. The post war model became the 1100E which remained in production until 1953.

Thanks for joining me on this “Nuova Balilla” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Safari Rally Lancia. Don’t forget to come back now !