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FIAT 1100 sedans & specials in Australia


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#1 DanTra2858

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 22:34

I was wondering how many Fiat 1100 Sedans were raced in Australia, I remember Ray Heffenan in a 1100D, Ray Puckridge in a very quick 1100, Ray Chadburn in Hill Climbs, myself in a 1954 1100 in Hill Climbs then there were 1100 based specials.

The thing that I remember about my days with the Fiat is that they handled very well had excelent brakes a good motor but were a heavy car thus hampering performance.

Did the Fiat 1100 contribute more to Australian racing than what we know, glad to hear your stories of this Marque.

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Huntley Hill Climb 1963, fastest Fiat 1100 ever at Huntley 42.08 sec. if my memeory is correct.

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#2 onelung

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:00

I, being of "a certain age" recall seeing an 1100TV racing at Port Wakefield but have no idea off the cuff whose it was. Someone out there will have a programme, no doubt.

#3 eldougo

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:43

Having a quick look at John Medley book " Bathurst cradle of Oz Motor racing" i found 8 FIAT 1100 raced by different driver between 1951 and 1958 at this great track along with other FIAT 600 and FIAT 1400 .
Being a FIAT fancier for way to many years i love those cars even the 2300 and 850 just magic vehicles.

#4 eldougo

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:55

List as follows.
J.Roche FIAT 1100 ..1951
J.Plummer FIAT 1100...1955/56
M.Rolls FIAT 1100...1955
E.Ansell FIAT 1100...1955
N.Clark FIAT 1100...1955
R.Long FIAT 1100...1955
C.Smith FIAT 1100...1956/57
R.Heffernan FIAT 1100...1958.
Hope this will help DANTra.

#5 GMACKIE

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:03

Seems like your name had to be Ray. Ray Long and Charlie Smith drove Fiat 1100s at one stage, mid '50s I think.

There was a problem with the tail-shaft falling down, when the front rubber 'donut' failed. This often pole-vaulted the 1100. A steel strap under the offending tail-shaft limited the damage to a few dings in the tunnel.

#6 Repco22

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:07

An 1100 sedan was raced at Caversham in the mid-fifties. Don't remember the guy's name [Italian] but it is recorded in 'The Visor' which is in the shed somewhere.

#7 Wirra

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:54

Ray - I thought you might like this one... particularly the Simca. Oran Park in the early sixties is my guess.

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It's my brother in the Fiat.



#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 09:07

Somewhere I have a photo of one as it raced at Leyburn...

It has a streamlined fibreglass nose on it, someone went to a lot of trouble to try and make it quicker.

#9 Wilyman

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:21

An 1100 sedan was raced at Caversham in the mid-fifties. Don't remember the guy's name [Italian] but it is recorded in 'The Visor' which is in the shed somewhere.



Rod,
A random look through Terry's results for 1955 shows a Fiat 1100 driven by A. Federico. A quite busy race program for '55.
Busselton Derby [Airport]. Labour Day Caversham. Caversham May 6 Hour. 4th place. 114 laps.

Ken might have a picture or three of the car?

#10 ellrosso

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:24

Few shots of Paul Macmichael in his Fiat 1100 at Longford in 1965. Two of the shots are from the all in Handicap race on the Monday arvo - 59 cars entered for this race - more than Bathurst used to be! (55 cars max wasn't it?)

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Jim Barrett is the father of Rod Barrett - head of Ford Performance Vehicles.

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#11 DJH

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:26

I remember a light green Fiat Riviera racing at the 'Farm and O.P. mid 1960's. No photos though.

Edited by DJH, 23 November 2011 - 10:29.


#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 12:03

When it comes to Specials...

Does the Nota Fiat count? It was a sports car built by Nota very early in their history. I believe it started out with a Clubman-style body but later graduated to a 'streamliner' type like a KM. Malcolm Smith owned it for a short time having bought it from someone who was at that time enjoying accommodation at Her Majesty's expense.

To obtain the car, a wall of a house had to be pulled down!

#13 Repco22

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 13:44

Rod,
A random look through Terry's results for 1955 shows a Fiat 1100 driven by A. Federico. A quite busy race program for '55.
Busselton Derby [Airport]. Labour Day Caversham. Caversham May 6 Hour. 4th place. 114 laps.

Ken might have a picture or three of the car?

That was the guy John. It came to me later, after a few runs through the alphabet! A good '6-Hour' result for a little car. 1955 would have been the start of the hat trick for the Anderson/Taylor Healey.

#14 DanTra2858

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 19:09

I remember a light green Fiat Riviera racing at the 'Farm and O.P. mid 1960's. No photos though.


That would probely be Ray Heffenan in his 1100D (normal opening front door) prior to him purchasing the Cooper Ford open wheeler, the Fiat was Stock Standard but running a 1200cc motor as was Standard for the 1100D model.

Wirra, what modifications were made to your brothers Fiat & how compeditive was it.

#15 ron simmonds

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 00:16

Hi all. Fiat 1100's were raced and hillclimbed by many here in Victoria. Some names may be remembered, Wally Gillespie, G,Cesario, Rod Jackson, J, Old , plus many others.
Wally also had a very nice 1100 engined open wheeler, as well as his very quick (at the time) Fiat Arbath 600, which would give the Mini,s a good hurry up.
The 1100 to have was the TV version,which had a few engine mod's as well as larger brakes etc.
I had a 1957, 1100 with a little bit of magic given to the motor by Ben Beninca,which gave it just that little bit of an edge over my mates who were running their" worked "over FX-FJ Holdens, great fun in the day. Running at the Fishermans Bend 1/4 mile sprints, I ran a 18.2 sec ,which was a good time in those days.
Good memories of my Fiat days, Regards Ron Simmonds.

Edited by ron simmonds, 24 November 2011 - 00:23.


#16 Repco22

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 00:33

Rod,
A random look through Terry's results for 1955 shows a Fiat 1100 driven by A. Federico. A quite busy race program for '55.
Busselton Derby [Airport]. Labour Day Caversham. Caversham May 6 Hour. 4th place. 114 laps.

Ken might have a picture or three of the car?

Here are a couple of Terry Trowell's cartoons from the period. I think that's Federico's Fiat 1100 on the left. He appears to have been a trier! Fortunately, 44 gallon drum markers were done away with soon after. :eek:
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#17 DanTra2858

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 01:37

The FIAT 1100 motor was used under Licence by Simca & Skoda, Simca revised the motor to 1200cc & also used their own head, Skoda on the other hand I understand used the motor as per their Licence agreement.

I believe that the 1100 motor was also used in FIAT Tractors.

I was told by the local Wollongong Fiat Agent that FIAT stood for "FIRST IN ALL TESTS", was he correct.

Ron do you have any photos of these cars especially the 1100 open wheeler.

During 1967 I ran a Fiat 1100 at Kembla Grange Speed Way with success.

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#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 04:48

Simca (or more correctly, S.I.M.C.A), was set up to market Fiats imported into or assembled in France...

In 1934 it was formed as the Société Industrielle de Méchanique et de Carrosserie Automobile. In 1935 they took over a factory in Nanterre which had been used by Automobiles Bonnet and started assembling Fiats in France. They had French-made components and some were somewhat different to the offerings from FIAT.

The 1937 Simca Huit was based on the 508C Millecento with the first version of the 1089cc engines which became known around the world as the Fiat 1100 engine. Amédée Gordini improved these somewhat and drove one himself to victory in the Index of Performance at Le Mans in 1939.

In 1949, after resuming production post-war with the pre-war models, all-new Simca Huit models were released. At this time the divergence from Fiat 1100 foundations became more apparent and in 1951 the Aronde with an enlarged engine quite similar to the Fiat 1100 engine emerged. This was to be the mainstay of Simca production until well into the Chrysler era.

So, yes, Simca did use the Fiat engine as a basis for their engine.

Skoda, on the other hand, developed their own engine of the same 1089cc capacity as the Fiat in the final years before the war, probably enlarging their 1933 995cc design to achieve this. It was further enlarged during the fifties to 1221cc.

Having looked upon these engines a few times, I can assure you they had no roots in anything derived from a Millecento engine. From memory they have an alloy block and and iron head, and just as the Skodas that carried these engines had a backbone chassis different to almost anything else in the world, so the design features were somewhat unique.

By the way, I'd have thought that a Riviera might have been a bit late for Ray Heffernan to race...

Edited by Ray Bell, 24 November 2011 - 04:50.


#19 packapoo

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 05:18

The FIAT 1100 motor was used under Licence by Simca & Skoda, Simca revised the motor to 1200cc & also used their own head, Skoda on the other hand I understand used the motor as per their Licence agreement.

I believe that the 1100 motor was also used in FIAT Tractors.

I was told by the local Wollongong Fiat Agent that FIAT stood for "FIRST IN ALL TESTS", was he correct.

Ron do you have any photos of these cars especially the 1100 open wheeler.

During 1967 I ran a Fiat 1100 at Kembla Grange Speed Way with success.

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Fart In A Tin is one iteration of FIAT that comes to mind from years back.
Bit OT but a supermarket owner, one Brian Andrews in Hastings NZ used to rally a FIAT years back, don't recall model but was said to stand for Fixed In Andrews Toilet.

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#20 eldougo

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 05:45

FIAT..."Fix It Again Tony" ,is the saying i have used for years. :up:

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 06:38

FIAT of course really stood for Fabbrica Italiano Automobili Torini

Ray - the French Fiat 500 was the Simca Cinq. The Huit was the 1100

I believe the Gillespie Fiat open-wheeler ended up in NZ

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:47

Thanks, David...

In that brief history I ignored the 500 altogether. 'Cinq' of course meant '5hp' (or 5chv?) and 'Huit' meant 8hp.

#23 Wilyman

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 08:57

Thanks, David...

In that brief history I ignored the 500 altogether. 'Cinq' of course meant '5hp' (or 5chv?) and 'Huit' meant 8hp.



Ray & David,
The SIMCA Huit was later marketed as the SIMCA 8-1200.
I owned a 1952 model way back with its Dubonnet front suspension, transmission handbrake :eek: . Also four door pillarless door openings. The finned alloy brake drums and alloy shoes were a work of art. Little wonder that Gordini chose all this running gear for his race cars. The FIAT based racing cars of that time, Osca. Stanguellini went the same.

I got pulled up by the local copper for exceeding the limit. His words. "Take it easy son, these things will get away from you". How I wished I'd got that down in writing. :)

#24 David Shaw

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:48

There was also the FIAT 1100 powered factory Buchanan racer that Bruce Maher drove at Bathurst around 1957.

#25 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:54

FIAT..."Fix It Again Tony" ,is the saying i have used for years. :up:

That is the most common misuse of the FIAT letters.

#26 Gordon Graham

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 11:06

In the west, a bit later than sgnr Federico, I think there was another Fiat 1100 that was a semi-regular at Caversham in the early-mid 60s, driven by one or other of the Renfree brothers, either Jim or Gordon, who were well-known motorcycle scramble riders.
I also have some notion that when Graeme Ibbotson's Jomax clubman first appeared, it had a Fiat 1100 engine, soon replaced by a Ford, but I could be very much mistaken.

#27 DanTra2858

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 20:42

There was also the FIAT 1100 powered factory Buchanan racer that Bruce Maher drove at Bathurst around 1957.


For a SCW report on this car click on this link .... http://www.buchananm.....ture Fiat.pdf

FIRST IN ALL TESTS is much nicer than Fix It Again Tony :wave:



#28 DanTra2858

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 21:22

Are there any photos of the Gillespie Fiat open-wheeler ?

#29 D-Type

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 21:38

FIAT..."Fix It Again Tony" ,is the saying i have used for years. :up:

I thought it was "Fun in a taxi" from the days when big FIATs were used as cabs. ;)

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 21:38

Originally posted by DanTra2858
.....FIRST IN ALL TESTS is much nicer than Fix It Again Tony


Nicer, maybe...

But not nearly as popular or well understood!

#31 ron simmonds

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 22:43

Are there any photos of the Gillespie Fiat open-wheeler ?

Hi DanTra2858. Many years ago I heard Wally's open wheeler was on the market. On arriving at a farm near Gisborne (Vic) I saw the car looking very down and living in a barn. It had a copy of a F/1 Cooper front and an open engine bay,Fiat 500 brakes,and steering and Fiat wheels plus the 1100 motor, the chassis had been painted in silver frost from a can. The chap who's name I don't remember gave me some photo copies of the car running at Calder,it looked like a club meeting, he said it went "ok" but needed bigger brakes,and wider wheels and tyres. Anyway in the best tradition, I said I would think about it, only to hear a little later that it was burnt in a fire, pity because it would have been a good F/JNR car in historics. The photo copies have long gone Iam sorry to say. I went on to race a Fiat 1500 MKII with some sponsership from Willy's Motors who were Fiat agents in Sth Melbourne. The 1500 was good in the braking and handling dept,but no match for the Ford Cortina GT's in outright speed as you could buy 'hot up' bits for the Ford much easier. Good times when motor racing was fun. Cheers Ron.

#32 ken devine

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 00:34


This is Jim Renfree Bunbury 1962. In the 50s there was Frederico and Nastas who raced Fiat 1100s also Bill Fitzgerald of Northam
had a Fiat powered special called the Fitzray special this car was originally powered by a Morris engine but was not powerful enough.
When i find the photos i will post them




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#33 Wilyman

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:05

In the west, a bit later than sgnr Federico, I think there was another Fiat 1100 that was a semi-regular at Caversham in the early-mid 60s, driven by one or other of the Renfree brothers, either Jim or Gordon, who were well-known motorcycle scramble riders.
I also have some notion that when Graeme Ibbotson's Jomax clubman first appeared, it had a Fiat 1100 engine, soon replaced by a Ford, but I could be very much mistaken.


Gordon,
I'm putting 2=2 together and getting 5 here.
The brothers Renfree in their scrambling years would have had some assistance from Mortlocks Motorcycles in Perth. Mortlocks, I believe were also agents for FIAT cars.
One of the Kalgoorlie bike shops, Ken Marshall's Motorcycles always had a FIAT 1100 parked out the front. A bit of advertising/sales to boost Mortlocks agency for both bikes and FIAT ?

#34 austmcreg

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:06

In the early 1960s there was a rear-engined Fiat 1100-engined Formula Junior car (Australian rules, larger capacity???) built in Victoria. My befuddled brain will not recall the name just at the moment, but it was restored in 1980s by someone at Box Hill whose name I also should remember (wire wheel building specialist). Appeared to be a well built car from my brief inspection of it 25 years ago. I dont think it has appeared in public for a long time.

Rob Saward

#35 Catalina Park

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:30

In the early 1960s there was a rear-engined Fiat 1100-engined Formula Junior car (Australian rules, larger capacity???) built in Victoria. My befuddled brain will not recall the name just at the moment, but it was restored in 1980s by someone at Box Hill whose name I also should remember (wire wheel building specialist). Appeared to be a well built car from my brief inspection of it 25 years ago. I dont think it has appeared in public for a long time.

Rob Saward

Formula Junior had a couple engine capacities with different weight limits. 1100cc was allowed.


#36 Terry Walker

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:06

Fiat - from initials of Italian Car Factory, Turin: Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino.

Like Alfa is nothing to do with alpha (despite what you see in the classifieds!).

**but it is true that Ford is the abbreviation of "F@@@@ing "orrible Road Device."


Edited by Terry Walker, 25 November 2011 - 11:07.


#37 Arese

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:15

I apologize for being a little off topic but would like to post a picture of the Fiat 1100 that I saw in August at the AvD Historic Marathon on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

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#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 20:53

Originallhy posted by Catalina Park
Formula Junior had a couple engine capacities with different weight limits. 1100cc was allowed.


Quite so, Internationally as well as locally...

However, in Australia there was an allowance for something even larger than 1100cc. I've posted details of it before after wading through Max's CAMS Manuals.

#39 Wirra

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:56

...Wirra, what modifications were made to your brothers Fiat & how compeditive was it.


IIRC he had a whopping 0.020" shaved off the head!

It was just a road car he used at Club events. I can't recall any Open meetings except around '64 or so he went to, I think, a reopened Towac meeting at Orange. The joke was he hired a trailer to take it there and even though the FIAT fell on its side during the meeting a friend rolled his Renault and got to bring it home on the trailer. The friend might have been Brian 'Shorty' McGrath who went on to fame by rolling a Renault about 8 times coming out of Forrest Elbow.

They were all members of the Sydney Tech College Car Club with Brian Lawler. I vaguely remember Brian coming to our place to show a 1500 he was going to drive at Bathurst. I think our family must have owned about 6 1100s (including a TV) and 6 1500s (including wagons) during those times. It's such a pity he died relatively young as he could have given Ray a run for his money on facts and figures of NSW racing in the 50s and 60s. I mentioned elsewhere that his family unwittingly put all his memorabilia out for the council pick-up.

Here is a shot from a Forty Bends Hillclimb. Note the toe-in on his 'pointy-toe' shoes and I bet those overalls are covering his luminous socks! Miss you, mate.
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Edited by Wirra, 26 November 2011 - 02:05.


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#40 275 GTB-4

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 21:44

Bump..as its topical :-)

#41 Shane Bowden

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 00:27

The finned alloy brake drums and alloy shoes were a work of art. Little wonder that Gordini chose all this running gear for his race cars. The FIAT based racing cars of that time, Osca. Stanguellini went the same.

I got pulled up by the local copper for exceeding the limit. His words. "Take it easy son, these things will get away from you". How I wished I'd got that down in writing. :)

 

Hi Wilyman to totally diverge from this topic my PRAD Holden still uses beautifully cast alloy FIAT 508C brake shoes. In fact if anyone has some some spares I would be pleased to purchase them!

 

Regards Shane