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Fiat 1800 and 2100

The Fiat 1800 and 2100 are six-cylinder automobiles produced by Italian manufacturer Fiat between 1959 and 1968. Both models were introduced in 1959. A four-cylinder 1500-cc version, the 1500L, was added to the range in 1963, when the 2100 was replaced by the larger engined 2300. The 1800/2100 were designed by Fiat's own Dante Giacosa.

Fiat 1800 (1959-68)

The Fiat 1800 was introduced as a four-door sedan at the 1959 Geneva Salon. A few months later, the five-door Familiare (Station Wagon) was added to the lineup, one of a very limited number of factory offerings in this class in Europe at the time. The 1800 model had a six-cylinder in-line engine of 1795 cc and a power output of 75 hp (55 kW; 74 bhp) delivered through a 4-speed manual transmission. Its maximum speed was, depending on the version, 137–142 km/h (85–88 mph). This was replaced in 1961 with the 1800 model B: the engine output was now 86 hp (63 kW; 85 bhp) and top speed between 143 km/h (89 mph) and 146 km/h (91 mph). The 1800 B also benefitted from disc brakes on all four wheels.

Fiat 2100 (1959-61)

The 2100 was a version with a bigger 2054 cc six-cylinder engine. Bore and stroke are 77.0 mm × 73.5 mm (3.03 in × 2.89 in). In autumn 1959, the 2100 Speciale was introduced with a lengthened wheelbase and different front grille. The Speciale was typically used by diplomats and for other representational purposes. Carrozzeria Francis Lombardi built a longer stretched version, but this could seat seven and was mainly intended for taxi use, although a limousine version called "President" was also available, mainly purchased by the Italian and Vatican states.

The 2100 was discontinued in Italy during 1961, when the Fiat 2300 became available.

Fiat 1500L (1963-68)

In 1963 Fiat used the body of Fiat 1800/2100 to create a new, less expensive model, the Fiat 1500L. To distinguish it from the 1300/1500 it used the designation 1500L (for 'Lunga, "long"). The car shared its more compact sibling's four-cylinder 1481 cc engine, delivering 72 hp (53 kW), which was increased to 75 hp (55 kW) in 1964 for the second series. A reduced-performance version was also offered, aimed at taxi drivers. This proved popular in southern Europe, equipped with a version of the 1481 cc petrol inline-four engine developing just 60 bhp: the low power engine permitted the transport of customers in comfort and space at urban speeds, without consuming too much fuel.

This version was made also by SEAT in Spain, where no other petrol version of the Fiat 1800/2100 was ever produced. It was badged simply SEAT 1500, since no equivalent of the smaller Fiat 1500 was produced by SEAT. Nearly 200,000 Seat 1500s were built until 1972.

It is estimated that total production in Italy of the Fiat 1800/2100 range is 150,000.


Abarth also proposed a sportier, 2+2 car based on the 2100. He discussed his plan with Fiat's Vice President Gaudenzio Bono in 1959 and it was arranged to supply Abarth with bare 2100 chassis and drivetrains. The chassis was strengthened and shortened, now on a 2,450 mm (96 in) wheelbase, and was fitted with a bored out and tuned engine with an Abarth exhaust system and Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels. The bodywork was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and executed by Allemano. The Abarth 2200 was available as a two-door coupé or convertible and was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in October–November 1959. The bore was increased to 79.0 mm (3.11 in), which gave a displacement of 2162 cc. Along with an increased compression ratio and triple Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, maximum power increased to 135 hp (99 kW) at 6000 rpm, making for top speeds of 197 and 186 km/h (122 and 116 mph) for the Coupé and Spider respectively. Unlike Fiat's column-shifted original, the Abarth 2200 had the shifter relocated to the floor. As originally presented, the Spider was given a different front end treatment of a rectilinear nature, with twin headlights mounted at an angle. This rather awkward looking arrangement was shortlived; during 1960 Abarth changed it to a single-headlight design similar to that of the Coupé.

The 2200 was fully handbuilt and changes were introduced continuously throughout the production run. The very first coupés are pillarless, unlike cars built after December 1959 which received filigrane B-pillars. Subtle changes took place at the front, while side marker lights were added, and grilles and bumpers were altered several times. Always expensive and from a brand best known for tiny racing machines, the 2200 was only ever built to order and in very small numbers, probably 28 examples. Of these, three examples were built with right-hand drive (two Coupés and one Spider) and delivered in the United Kingdom by Abarth's local concessionaire Tony Crook. At Turin in November 1960 and again at Geneva in March 1961, an updated design by Ezio Ellena was shown. The Ellena design eschewed rear quarter glass in favor of longer doors and a wraparound rear windshield. At the front, a rectangular grille with rounded corners housed two additional driving lights.

In spite of the minuscule sales, Abarth updated their model at Turin 1961 after the 2100 on which it was based was replaced by the 2300, but the resulting Abarth 2400 was even less competitive in light of the appearance of Fiat's own 2300 Coupé.

Fiat went on to offer their own, Ghia-designed coupé of the succeeding 2300. This design was first shown in Turin in November 1960 as the Fiat 2100 S. Thanks to triple carburettors, the tuned engine produced 130 hp (96 kW). The prototype was built by Ghia's OSI subsidiary; by the time production started, Fiat had upgraded the 2100 to become the 2300 and all Ghia Coupés after the initial prototype were thus equipped.



  • Fiat Personenwagen, by Fred Steiningen, 1994. ISBN 3-923448-37-6


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