Anyone one heading east along the A412 Uxbridge Road in to Rickmansworth would be forgiven for missing Fairway Tyres located in a building set back from the road with a forecourt.
It turns out this building is called Tornado House recalling Tornado Cars Ltd which once employed up to sixty people to manufacture around 600 sports cars from 1957 to 1964 that were marked under the Typhoon, Tempest, Thunderbolt and Talisman names.
Tornado went into liquidation in 1964 it would appear just after the introduction of a hot GT version of the FIAT 600D known as the Tornado FIAT 600D GT.
Around two and a half million FIAT (Seicento) 600D’s were manufactured between 1955 and 1969, powered by a water cooled straight 4 cylinder motor giving either 21 hp or 29 hp according to size, which lent itself to easy tuning with upgrades available from the likes of Carl Abarth.
The FIAT 600D, which sold for 590,000 lire new was also manufactured in Barcelona, Spain where it was marketed as the SEAT ( pronounced c @ ) 600, Kragujevac, in what is now Serbia where it was marketed as the Zastava 750.
As of 2011 it was thought only 65 road legal Seicento’s remain in the UK.
One of the Tornado FIAT 600D GT’s was acquired by David Render in 1965, readers, of the Lotus 76 and Lotus 77 posts, may remember that David was friends with Colin Chapman of Lotus Cars who suggested and arranged for Davids Tornado FIAT 600D to be fitted ….
With over 100 hp on tap David’s little Tornado FIAT 600D GT became a pocket rocket…
with which he estimates he won over 50 trophies in the period he owned it. David’s car is seen here at the recent Middle Barton Garages silver jubilee celebration.
Please note Tornado Cars Ltd of Rickmansworth is not to be confused with Tornado Sports Cars of Kidderminster.
Thanks for joining me on this “Stunning Seicento” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”. I hope you will join me for Americana Thursday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !