I have just received your January issue. I too, like your correspondent David Willis, have felt it necessary to defend Fiat.
My experience with Fiat was back in 1963 when I undertook the restoration of a Floodbodied 1937 500.
After being laughed at by the local agents when requesting parts, I wrote to Fiat, Italy, explaining my problems. Within a matter of days I received a -workshop manual and a parts book, gratis, with a covering letter stating most parts should be available “at minimum cost”. Well, the required parts— from a tailgate assembly to a fan—were airfreighted over within a matter of days after ordering. A new cylinder head cost me £13.
I wonder if any other manufacturers would have equalled this for service?
Incidentally, I’d like to hear from any owners of side-valve 500s, or obtain photos of other 500s with unusual bodywork .(for example, the Smith Specials). Accurate figures from James Flood on the number built are not available, although it is believed to be about 80. As far as I know, ‘mine is the only surviving example, and probably the only surviving side-valve Fiat 500 in Australia.
Capalaha, Australia Ross McGown