Fiat 1100 508C Nuova Balilla
|Body and chassis|
|Related||Premier Padmini (1100D)
|Predecessor||Fiat 508 "Balilla"|
The Fiat 1100 is a compact automobile produced from 1937 to 1969 by the Italian car maker Fiat. It was built in several generations, with a separate chassis (until 1953) and then monocoque bodywork. The 1100 was changed steadily and gradually until finally being replaced by the inventive new Fiat 128 in 1969. There were also a series of light commercial versions of the 1100 built, with later models called the Fiat 1100T, which remained in production until 1971. The Fiat 1100D also found a long life in India, where Premier Automobiles continued to build the car until the end of 2000.
508C Nuova Balilla 1100
The Fiat 1100 was first introduced in 1937 as an updated version of the 508 "Balilla" (its real name was the 508C) with a look similar to the 1936 Fiat 500 "Topolino" and the larger 1500, with the typical late-thirties heart-shaped front grille, with styling by the emerging designer Dante Giacosa. 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 nose"). 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.