Having read the “Letters front Readers,” both praising and criticising the Fiat Topolino, I feel I must tell you of our experiences with a 1937 500.
It was bought by my wife 10 months and 10,000 miles ago as a local runabout, the thirst of our Ford V8 being a bit too much on short journeys. Quite frankly, at first, I only regarded it as a cute little toy. I suggested that we should throw away the engine and fit pedalling-gear, the car would obviously be much faster : Now, however, I am a converted “Mouse” disciple.
Why ? Well, the fact that it does 50 m.p.g. over long and short runs was enough. Added to this is the excellent springing, “hairline” steering. and superb brakes. (Oh yes. I know I’m used to a V8) The astonishing amount of room inside, too. Although I’m 6ft and 14 stone plus, we often do 50-mile journeys, three up plus luggage, and average a comfortable 33 m.p.h. We regularly do the 103-mile trip from Ely to Derby in 3 hr. 5 min.
The car is not quite to standard specification. I have fitted an S.U. Carburetter and S.U. electric petrol pump, and these have made a big improvement to the pick-up over 30 m.p.h. I have also replaced the Marrelli distributor with an ex-Morris Minor Lucas distributor and Vauxhall suction advance mechanism
On the debit side : Oh well. of course, it’s no road-burner : but, providing you “take your hills before you come to them,” you don’t have to wear a hole in the palm of your left hand with the gearlever. (But then. having driven “brakeless” V8s for years, I’m accustomed to driving with a bonnet a mile long.) Oh, yes, and we get prop-shaft vibration at over 48 m.p.h_ due to worn prop-shaft ball nuts and bushes, but I don’t propose to remedy this as it acts as a very efficient governor on my driving. Being a farmer, my driving methods are definitely of the agricultural variety and I have a quite justified reputation for brutality to my motor cars.
May I conclude by saying how much I enjoy your magazine, in fact acute financial distress has caused me to cancel all my other motoring magazines, but not Motor Sport.
I am yours, etc.,
Witchford. J.A. Giles.