1959 Fiat Multipla

When talking about Italian cars, it's not always about speed and style. The Multipla was Fiat’s take on a people carrier for the post war generation. This was a rather clever little car. Not much longer than the original Mini, this car could seat six and still have room for the passegers’ baggage due to a rear mounted engine and a cockpit situated in front of the front axle. Popular as taxis in tight urban spaces, these cars have a small but loyal following and command a premium over the 600 sedan of which they were based. This Mutipla for sale in California could be considered a bit of a restomod, with the choice in color and wheels.

1959 Fiat 600 Multipla

1959 Fiat 600 Multipla, Completely Restored and Upgraded

Up for auction is this unique 1959 Fiat Multipla. This special version of the famous Fiat 600 is rarely found. None are restored and upgraded to this level. Nearly 1000 hours were spent restoring this car. This is a rare vehicle, properly restored, and upgraded to be a beautiful and usable vehicle. There was great expense in labor and parts required to prepare and restore it to this level.

Fiat Multiplas were available in two interior configurations and this is the more desirable of the two, the 6-seater. The (4) rear seats fold down completely flat into the floor and provided Italian vendors the ability to haul goods and cargo to market during the week and the entire family of six to church on Sunday. A great design feature not copied until over 40 years later.

The early Multiplas came with only a standard 633 cc motor. This was not sufficient power to move a potential of 6 people and luggage. Fiat compensated for the low power by changing the final drive ratio of the trans-axle to 6.11 gears. This allowed the car to make it up steep hills but limited top speed to 61 MPH. This car has an 850cc-based Fiat motor so it has more power and also the final drive ratio was changed to the same as a regular 600 sedan. The engine was built with modest street compression, the standard Abarth 30/70 grind cam, and stock 2 barrel carburetor. The net result is that it drives anywhere you want it to and is completely usable in modern traffic.

The trans-axle was fully rebuilt. It has new bearings and syncros as well as new first-reverse slider and new first gear, and new reverse idler. This trans-axle is the correct early unit with the hand emergency brake mounted on the transaxle itself. The brakes were completely rebuilt to stock. There are drum brakes on all fours. It has the proper brakes on the front, which on a Multipla are larger than a regular 600. The suspension is all stock and totally overhauled with the addition of gas shock absorbers. The result is a great handling car that it is quite stable and a pleasure to drive.

To provide the best foundation, every component, nut and bolt was removed the body. Then the bare tub was then completely stripped of all finishes. All rust or corrosion was professionally replaced with new metal. The bottom side and inside floor panels of the car were coated with Urethane bed liner. The interior floor is fitted with the factory-style rubber mats. The rest of the car is painted in a two stage modern urethane. The bottom color is Aston Martin green and the upper half is a dark silver that was picked to highlight the green. The interior paint is completely finished in the Aston Martin green and looks a sharp as the exterior.

All the exterior trim was polished or plated to a high standard. The front bumper and trim on the nose is all stock and unmodified. The interior upholstery is all stock layout with matched seams and color changes as per original. The material colors were chosen to complement the paint colors and the pinstriped accent. The wheels and tires are real MiniLites out of the UK, correct 12 inch diameter, and correct 4 x 98 bolt pattern. Tires are new radials. All glass is either new or in great original condition. As this is a rare and unique car restored to unmatched ‘concours’ condition, the RESERVE will reflect these factors.

While not to everyone's taste, I kind of like the two tone color scheme. The wheels, well, I could go either way. I think there are better vintage cars out there for which the Minilite wheels are suited. Currently, Multiplas are ranging in the low $20,000 range for more rough examples to over $30,000 for the best original or restored examples. With a bid closing in on $30,000 and the reserve not yet me, it's clear the seller has a high figure in mind. A lot of care has gone into this Multipla, but will it be enough to seal the deal?

-Paul