The Fiat Millicento, or 1100, is a cheeky post war subcompact that served as a staple family sedan in Italy in the 1950s and went on to be produced under license in India until 2000 as the Premier Padmini. This was one of the first cars to be mass produced in India and was popular for taxi use. Today these cars are rather collectible, if scarce, and remind us just how much fun and efficient certain practical classics are, even if they do appear a bit pedestrian at first.
Up for sale is a 1958 FIAT Millecento (1100-103D) Berlina; we call her Mille. A California car believed to be from the Bay Area up until 2011 when I purchased the car and brought it to Virginia. I regularly use the car for errands around town and occasionally drive it to work. If you like meeting new people, you probably should buy this car. It you like spending 15 minutes in the grocery or hardware store parking lot talking about your car, the Mille is just for you. The “cute factor” is off the scale which usually means every red-light and retail store parking lot finds you having a conversation with complete strangers about the Mille.
The previous Bay Area owner brought the car out of hibernation protected from the elements and gave it a complete tune up, changed the fluids and filters, cleaned the fuel tank, replaced the rubber fuel lines and rubber brake lines, relined the brake shoes, installed bias-ply whitewall tires, and gave her a good scrubbing inside and out. The exterior was repainted in its original and correct two tone Grigio/Blu and the interior seating surfaces were re-upholstered in the correct complementary two tone color. Finally, new weather-stripping was fitted, a new headliner was installed, and a new steering wheel fitted to round out the refresh. The vehicle is available immediately and is located in Waynesboro, Virginia.
Body and passenger area floors are solid and show no repairs. There is one spot bubbling on the lower driver door, and a few bubbles on the lower passenger side front and rear door. None come through the paint and none are larger than a pencil eraser. See photos. The only location that rust has perforated the body is in the passenger side trunk pocket floor behind the rear wheel. This area is hidden from view, is not structural, and could be easily repaired but certainly not needed to enjoy the car as is. See photos in shutterfly link. The exterior has been repainted, not a professional job, but not a hack either. The paint as some orange peel and there is an occasional spec of dirt in the paint. There are some very light polishing scratches on the top. No overspray is found on the trim, glass, or rubber. Chrome bumpers and trim are original and is starting to dull, some pitting can be seen (someone say patina please). There is no evidence anywhere of body damage.
Interior is fitted with new two tone upholstery in the original and correct gray and blue, complementing the exterior colors. A new headliner has been installed along with an NOS steering wheel. The car still has the original rubber mats and kick panels in front, and carpets in the rear along with the vinyl rear tire trim are original and in excellent condition considering the age. The car is accessorized with period correct orange/black Everest rubber floor mats front and rear. Accessories almost all work perfectly on the car including the headlights, turn-signals, brake-lights, oil pressure indicator, speedometer, odometer, water temperature, wipers, heater fan, heater, horn, under-hood and trunk lights, etc. Not currently working are the two rear interior lights, the rear-view mirror light, and the license plate lights.
Drivetrain is original to the car and not modified from its original specification. The 1089cc motor with its single barrel Weber 32IMP downdraught carburetor puts out only 43 HP (rounded up) but is adequate for around-town driving. Some say gas mileage exceeds 40 mpg, I’ve never measured it. The four on-the-tree manual transmission shifts smoothly through the gears; first is non-syncro, 2-4 are synchronized. The mechanical linkage clutch has absolutely no slip. As for oil leaks, after sitting for a week the engine has one quarter-size spot under the drain plug, tranny has one dime-size spot under the drain plug, and the diff has one quarter-size spot below the drain plug. The car currently operates without a thermostat and the water temperature on the hottest Virginia summer days does not exceed 190 degrees in traffic. Once moving, the temp drops below 180 degF again. The fuel pump is still mechanical and the distributor is still points and condenser. The water pump has a small leak from the weep hole but does not spot. The generator and voltage regulator function properly and maintain battery charge.
The car comes with period FIAT documentation including advertisements, sales brochures, postcards, photographs, original “running in” decal for the windshield, the Everest floor mat docs, original instruction manual, original FIAT parts catalog, and an original FIAT body parts catalog. A jack and tool kit is also included. Everyone asks me about parts. Yes they are available but not as readily as your MGB or Triumph parts; they made a million of these things in Europe but only a few made it to the USA. Suppliers advertise their 1100 parts on E-bay and E-bay.it and there are two popular FIAT 1100 Bulletin Boards on the web that provide great technical advice and can assist with finding parts as well.
The seller of this car had this on the market back in October 2011 on the Fiat Lancia Unlimited marketplace for $9,950. For those in the market for a Millicento, there isn’t a lot of choice and it would be wise to buy a complete, mint example like this. Restoration costs could exceed what you could expect to get out of the car upon selling it. Under $10,000 for such a nice example is a practical way to enter into the Italian car club and make some new friends along the way with this instant conversation starter.