The oldest Fiat in the UK, the 1899 Fiat 3½hp, is set to mark the 120th anniversary of the brand by taking to the road as a sponsor of the Bonham’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
The 1899 Fiat 3½hp will take part in the 60-mile drive from Hyde Park in London down to Madeira Drive in Brighton as part of the world’s oldest annual motorsport events, which will run on 3rd November.
Owned by FCA UK Ltd, and on permanent display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, the Fiat 3½hp can seat two adults in comfort with two children facing the driver, in a vis-à-vis layout. With a horizontal two-cylinder engine displacing 697cc and a three-speed (no reverse) gearbox, it can reach a top speed of 21mph while returning a very respectable 35mpg. The National Motor Museum collaborated with Fiat to return the car to the road ready for the iconic event.
The London to Brighton run celebrates the passing of the Locomotives on the Highways Act, which saw the abolition of the need for a motorised vehicle to be led by a red flag carrying man and raised the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph.
Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (FIAT) was founded by a group of Turin investors in July 1899 and began assembling cars in a temporary factory. The newly founded company absorbed two smaller businesses, including a bicycle manufacturer which had a prototype car, called the ‘Welleyes’. The first dozen or so cars manufactured by Fiat in 1899 were derived from this prototype. A new purpose built factory started producing cars from March 1900 and from this Fiat grew to be an industrial giant and one of the world’s largest motor manufacturers.