Fiat 1200 and 1500S Cabriolets
|Production||1959 to 1963|
|Body and chassis|
|Engine||2.5L I-4, 3.0L Six Cylinder|
|Wheel base||92.19 in, 2340 mm|
|Length||158.78 in, 4030 mm|
|Width||59.89 in, 1520 mm|
|Height||51.22 in, 1300 mm|
|Ground clearance||4.7 in, 120 mm|
|Weight||19851b. to 21851b.|
Fiat 1200 and 1500S Cabriolets Built: Turin, Italy, from 1959 to 1963
By the end of the 1950s, Fiat, who were Italy's largest manufacturer of cars, were expanding their model range in all directions. Earlier in the decade, their sporting car effort had been directed, rather half-heartedly, towards the handbuilt 8V model, and towards the rather ugly Pininfarina-bodied two-seater model.
From 1959, however, a much more satisfactory, and potentially more popular, sports car appeared. The new model, smart and very much up-to-the-minute in its styling, was shaped for them by Pininfarina, and had a choice of engines. The new car was first seen at the Geneva motor show of 1959, where it was seen to have a particularly trim open body style. Logically enough, it was known as the 1200 Spider, for it used the 'chassis' platform of the latest 1200 saloon, along with the classic front-engine/rear-drive/live-axle layout, and the pushrod overhead valve engine of the 1200 Gran Luce.
- Engine capacity: 74.68 cu in, 1221 cu cm;
- Fuel consumption: 32.4 m/imp gal, 27 m/US gal, 8.7 1 x 100 km;
- Max speed 90.1 mph, 145 km/h
- Max power (SAE): 63 hp at 5300 rpm
- Max torque (SAE): 68 1b ft, 9.4 kgm at 4000 rpm
- Max number of engine rpm: 5300
- Power-weight ratio: 31.1 lb/hp, 14.1 kg/hp
- Acceleration: standing 1/4 mile 22.5 sec, 0—50 mph (0 —80 km/h) 12.5 sec
- Max speed in 1st gear: 24.8 mph, 40 km/h; max speed in 2nd
- Gear: 40.4 mph, 65 km/h; max speed in 3rd gear: 62.1 mph, 100 km/h; max
- Speed in 4th gear: 90.1 mph, 145 km/h
That, however, was only a start, for later in the year the same basic unit-construction shell became available with a twin-overhead-camshaft engine of 1491cc, which was a product of co-operation between Fiat and O.S.C.A. (a small specialist Modena company, owned by the Maserati brothers). Osca had designed the engine, which was built under licence by Fiat at the Mirafiori works; Osca, incidentally, bought back quantities of the engine for their own use, and for selling in very limited numbers in their own cars.
PERFORMANCE: 1491cc twin-cam engine
- Maximum speed 105mph. 0-60mph 10.6sec.
- Standing 1/4-mile 18.5sec
- Typical fuel consumption 30mpg.
- Maximum power 80bhp (net) at 6000rpm,
- maximum torque 771b.ft. at 4000rpm.
The cylinder block was of cast-iron, but the head was in light-alloy, and the widely-splayed valves were arranged Jaguar-fashion to give very efficient breathing. Unlike contemporary engines like the MGA Twin-Cam and the Ford-Lotus twin cams, the Osca unit was not a conversion, but was completely different from every other Fiat engine. Even so, the engine was never destined to be offered in any other Fiat model. Production was always somewhat limited, and twin-cam 1500S models were never built at a greater rate than 50 cars a day. The only important technical change made in the life of the model was the adoption of Girling disc brakes in 1961. At the end of 1962, the model was revised, with an enlarged twin-cam engine of 1568cc, and with the use of the pushrod engine from the latest Fiat 1500 model, and these cars carried on until 1966.
Perhaps the Fiat 1500 Cabriolet, to give the twin-cam model its full and official title, was never a roaring success in the market place because it was badged as a 'Fiat', instead of something more exotic. It had to face formidable competition in the same price and engine size brackets from the very stylish Alfa Romeo Giulietta/Giulia models, where snob appeal far outweighed the service practicalities of buying a Fiat.
However, it was an important car for Fiat, particularly later in the 1960s, for it paved the way for the enormously popular Fiat-designed twin-cam engines and sporting cars which dominated the 1970s.
Fiat 1200 1500S Cabriolets Technical details and specifications (1959-1963)
4 stroke; cylinders: 4, vertical, in line
bore and stroke: 2.84 x 2.95 in, 72 x 75 mm
engine capacity: 74.68 cu in, 1221 cu cm
compression ratio: 8.25:1
specific power: 51.5 hp/l
cylinder block: cast iron
cylinder head: light alloy
crankshaft bearings: 3
valves: 2 per cylinder, overhead, in line, with push rods and rockers
camshaft: 1, side
lubrication: gear pump, by-pass filter
carburation: 1 Weber 36 DCD 7 downdraft twin-barrel carburettor
fuel feed: mechanical pump
cooling system: water
1500S twin-cam engine
twin overhead camshaft cylinder head, designed by OSCA, built by Fiat.
Bore, stroke and capacity, 78 x 78mm
driving wheels: rearclutch: single dry plate
gear box: mechanical; gears: 4 + reverse
synchromesh gears: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
gear box ratios: (I) 3.38, (II) 2.09, (III) 1.38, (IV) 1, (Rev) 3.38
gear lever location: central
final drive: hypoid bevel; ratio: 4.3:1
front suspension: independent, wishbones, coil springs, anti-roll bar, telescopic dampers
rear suspension: rigid axle, semi-elliptic leaf- springs, anti-roll bar, telescopic dampers.
worm and roller
turns of steering wheel lock to lock: 3.25.
turning radius (between walls): 18.7 ft, 5.70 m
drum; braking surface: total 153.44 sq in, 990 sq cm. disc brakes from winter 1960/61.
voltage: 12 V
battery: 48 Ah
dynamo: 230 W
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT:
wheel base: 92.19 in, 2340 mm
front track: 48.54 in, 1232 mm
rear track: 47.87 in, 1215 mm
overall length: 158.78 in, 4030 mm
overall width: 59.89 in, 1520 mm
overall height: 51.22 in, 1300 mm
ground clearance: 4.7 in, 120 mm
dry weight: 1962 1b, 890 kg
distribution of weight: 56% front axle, 44% rear axle
© Motor car History
Fiat 1200 1500S Cabriolets Maintenance and Service Guide (1959-1963)
Gearbox oil: 0.9 imp qt, 1.07 1, change every 18600 miles,30000 km
Final drive oil: 0.5 imp qt, 0.6 US qt, 0.6 1, change every 18600 miles, 30000 km
Steering box oil: 0.1 imp qt, 0.2 US qt, 0.16 1, change every 18600 miles, 30000 km
Tyre pressure (medium load): front 24 psi, 1.7 atm, rear 27 psi, 1.9 atm.
Width of rims: 3.5"
Tyres: 5.20 - 14
Fuel tank capacity: 8.36 imp gal, 10.03 US
Fuel type: petrol, 92 Oct
Tappet clearances: inlet 0.014 in, 0.37 mm. exhaust 0.014 in, 0.37 mm
Valve timing: (inlet) opens 16° before tdc and closes 56° after bdc, (exhaust) opens 56° before bdc and closes 16° after tdc
Engine oil change: 2.6 imp qt, 3.1 US qt, 3 1, SAE 10W (winter) 40 (summer), change every 3100 miles, 5000 km
Total lubricating system capacity: 3.4 imp qt, 4.1 US qt, 3.9 1
Cooling system capacity: 6.1 imp qt, 7.4 US qt, 7 1.
© Motor car History