Fiat 1100C Spider by Frua

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1100C Spider by Frua





The Fiat 1100 is a small family car produced from 1937 to 1953 by the Italian car manufacturer Fiat. It introduced in 1937 as Fiat 508 C or Balilla 1100, as a replacement for the Fiat 508 Balilla. Under the new body the 508 C had more modern and refined mechanicals compared to the 508, including independent front suspension and an enlarged overhead valve engine. In 1939 it was updated and renamed simply Fiat 1100. The 1100 was produced in three consecutive series—1100 A, 1100 B and 1100 E—until 1953, when it was replaced by the all-new, unibody Fiat 1100/103.

The Fiat 1100 was first introduced in 1937. Body styling, done by the emerging designer Dante Giacosa, was similar to the 1936 Fiat 500 "Topolino" and the larger 1500, with the typical late-thirties heart-shaped front grille. It was powered by a 1,089 cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine rather than the earlier Balilla's 1-litre unit. Power was up by a third, to 32 PS (24 kW) at 4000 rpm. There was also a more sporting model on offer, the 42 PS (31 kW) "508 CMM"

Drive was to the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox, and for the period, its comfort, handling, and performance were prodigious, making it "the only people's car that was also a driver's car". Unusual for a modestly priced car of the time was the independent front suspension, while the rear had a leaf sprung live axle. Subsequently the car underwent a partial restyling around the front end and gained new streamlined window-shaped louvres and was renamed the 1100B and was popularly known as the "1100 musone" (i. e. "big muzzle"). After World War II, in 1949, the car was re-introduced with a curvy trunk and new name, the 1100E. The 1100E also received a bit more power, and now had 35 PS (26 kW). Both the 508C and the 1100B were also available as the long wheelbase 508L which was mainly used for vans and taxis.

The chassis of Fiat 1100C was sold by the factory to Carrozzeria Balbo in the middle of June 1946 and transferred to Pietro Frua shortly thereafter.

The 1100S was Fiat’s first post-war sports car, but it had a strong lineage with the pre-war 1100 “Nuova Balilla”, which appeared in 1937 and begat the Mille Miglia-winning 508 C MM of 1938. The two-seat body was produced by Carrozzerie Speciali at Fiat’s own Officine Lingotto under the direction of Giuseppe Cogno. Several of the early cars don a badge with this script. The structure itself was an aluminum body built over the Fiat 1100B chassis. The 1100 cc engine offered significantly more power than its predecessor and produced around 51hp. The S-spec engine water pump, redesigned radiator and different camshafts. Fiat have quoted that 401 copies of the 1100 S were made, but we suspect this might be an overambitious number that includes several other body styles. Wind-tunnel testing allowed the 1100S MM to reach speeds of 150 km/h, and 1100S MMs took 5th through 9th places at the 1947 Mille Miglia, followed by 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes in 1948.

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