Fiat 126 - a forgotten classic (well, almost)
The Fiat 126 – which was presented to the world public at the Turin Motor Show in 1972 – is not just a visually enhanced Fiat 500, but a completely separate cult model with its very own qualities – at least that is how we and certainly many other friends of the Fiat 126 across the world view it.
... and that is what our customers have to say:
I drive a Fiat 126 because...
„I drive a Fiat 126 because it was awesome mini car for it's time and remains as such to this day.“
- Ivaylo Ivanov
„ ... there is nothing better than to stop at a traffic light in snobbish and over motorized Zurich with my original 1976er next to a borrowed Lambo, and to steal the show with 23 HP from this one. :)“
- Daniel Sieczewicz
„My 3 kids love it and think it's the fastest car in the world.“
- Mac Bianco
„ … I always wanted one as a little boy. My parents migrated to the German Federal Republic in a Fiat 126p. Upon arrival, it was soon replaced by a VW Golf 1 and eventually forgotten. But during my frequent trips to visit my grandparents in Poland, I regularly bumped into the „Maluch“ over time. With 7 or 8 years (or perhaps at an even earlier age), I had made up my mind: „I want to own a Fiat 126, too!“ And so it came to pass, a year ago to this day (on May 31st, 2017), with 20 years of age, I became the owner of a Fiat 126p built in 1983! One of my greatest dreams was fulfilled! I am enthusiastic about everything revolving around this car, the sound of the engine, its compact dimensions.... simply everything! That is precisely why I drive a Fiat 126!“
- Michael Zielonka
„ ... you can have so much fun for little money. Above all, the Porsche drivers (and even more so in the overexcited city of Munich) are stunned, and some even jerked the wheel when seeing me, all dressed up with a suit and a tie, driving by with my Bambino. About ten years ago, I persuaded a US colleague, who at that time was there to see us at our German branch, to join me in the short ride from his hotel to our office: First, he wouldn’t get into the Fiat because he thought that the front passenger seat was a fake. Then, he hung on for dear life and, through the open window, he called his other US colleagues, who were walking along on the pavement, for help – half meaning it and half joking. But until this day, he has never forgotten this ‘amazing car experience’ and he keeps raising the topic again and again when we talk. See the attached photo: my blue Fiat 126 BIS, built in 1988, with a confirmed mileage of 27,000 km. It boasts a tip-top upper – but unfortunately, on its underside, my little Fiat was not exactly clean of rust... But since I really love ‘that thing’ so much, I did not hesitate, two years ago, to pay the car’s value to my favourite Fiat 500/126 repair shop called PICCOLO BOX for undercarriage welding and replacement parts – without ever regretting it.“
- Dr. Matthias Alisch
„... me and the little one, we both have our roots in Poland and Italy. The souvenirs of my childhood are closely related to my summer holidays in Poland and to these cars, especially those painted in dark red. Before they finally vanished from the scene, I bought one in 2012. The car is garaged now, waiting for me to come and restore it to former glory.“
- Fabian Neidhardt
„I’m João and I’m 49. My Fiat 126 is already 42, but it is still the most beautiful and reliable baby machine! I love it. During weekends I don’t feel like driving any of my other newer cars. It carries all the family, it fits in any small space, it is convertible, it needs no gas :-) and... everyone in the streets love it! No other rival has been invented in the last 42 years :-)“
- João Almeida
„Well, why should anyone drive a Fiat 126?
- Because it feels like it is less common than a Fiat 500.
- Because it is 'edgy'..
- Because its (safety) technology is superior to that of a Fiat 500.
My Fiat 126 was built in 74 and it is painted in meadow green. It was reborn in 2008 when its restoration was finished after 5 years work. I purchased it in an Ebay auction. It was a completely devastated first-series car where the engine lay on the passenger side. After sandblasting, the outer and inner wings, the floor panel and the pedal kick panel as well as the front sill were replaced. The car was painted in the original tone and with clear paint, then the body cavities were sealed with Mike Sander’s rust prevention product. The seats were covered with Alcantara and leatherette. The upholstery seams were duplicated from the old seat covers. In addition, we added a new inside roof lining. A Blaupunkt radio, Frankfurt model, and a mono speaker were mounted into a beautiful IB radio housing. A Hirschmann antenna fitted to the A pillar ensures perfect reception.“
- Mark Lacher
„My first Fiat was a "TOPOLINO", Fiat-500 with retractable roof, year 1950. The 500cc engine and its "potent" 18 HP took me everywhere, albeit very slowly. Years later I came across a Fiat-126. It was simply a dream. Air motor, rear, simple and reliable. Very comfortable and sturdy this car gives me incredible rides to places far more distant from those covered with my first Fiat (the 500, 1950). And it is this Fiat 126, now maintained as a collection vehicle and all restored, that I drive whenever I can, in rides, meetings of old vehicles and even trips, to the sound of that characteristic noise of the air engine and running at speed compatible with other cars Modern."
- Fernando José Goncalves
„I have always dreamed of having a powerful car. So powerful, that the vibrations from the motor can be felt by passers-by. One where the smell of petrol reminds you of paddocks, and where precision is of the utmost importance. My Fiat was a dream come true, at 60km/hr I felt as if I was driving 130 km/hr, her motor left me buzzing. Not to mention her alluring perfume of petrol fumes. Moreover, if one isn’t pedantic and precise about the settings, than they won’t make it out of the garage. All in all, I wouldn’t trade my Fiat 126 for anything in the world!!!"
- Damien Thune
„My uncle and my aunt used to live in south west France. In 1988, they bought a Fiat 126 BIS as replacement for their Vespa 400. Both of them were just about 1.50 m tall. My uncle, who ran a barber shop, was known all over the place for his little red car. Four years after his death, I rediscovered it. I replaced the brakes, shock absorbers, lighting,... and once all settings were done, it passed the MOT without any problems. Then, I took it by train to Eure where I live. I now drive around with it every day, and everybody knows me for my tiny red car.“
- Jean-Pierre Dangoumau
„This is my father overhauling the distributor of our 126 in the eighties. I was only 6 years old and we kept him for 4 years only, but it left a strong mark on my memory.“
„30 years later, i was wandering online in the classic car forums and found some stories about old family cars recovered. That made a click in my brain and after a search for the number plate on the family photo albums i was able to track and buy back the car.“
„It was then an abandoned project in boxes, but i didn’t care.“
„Took me one year in my spare time to put it running, but in the end gave me great satisfaction.“
„It’s a perfect joy and i’ve been driving it compulsively for the last four months. I'll never let it go again.
Thanks AXEL GERSTL for all the help and parts that allowed me to finish this project!“
- Jorge Monteiro
„I drive a Fiat 126 because it still fits in my garage.
Actually, my story starts like many others: Due to my Polish roots, I spent many summer holidays in my childhood with my relatives where the Maluch, as the Fiat 126 is called in Poland, was virtually omnipresent. I still remember a fabulous trip where three stocky grown-ups with their angling equipment plus me drove to the nearest lake in a 126 model... Due to another passion, my garage was well stuffed with other things, but in December 2015, I decided to make my old dream come true. Since then, a Maluch from 1989 fills the remaining space. And this car started a new, unhurried era! A bit of tinkering and servicing, and, as reward, me and my girlfriend head off for the many vintage car meetings taking place in our region. In fact, the Maluch isn’t a ‘real vintage car’ yet, but it is well received at the meetings! But my personal highlight was when I discovered it in the printed Axel Gerstl Calendar 2016!“
- Christian Czupryniak
„I am driving Fiat 126 because my grandparents and my parents drove me out in a 126P together with my brother and sister. I still remember the heads of the passers-by who saw us five arrive in this small car with a boat on the roof. Of course, I got it right after passing my driver's license."
- Pierre Antoine Vidal
„I drive a Fiat 126 because, with its tiny engine, it is always good for a surprise and can surmount even the steepest hills. Elderly people, but especially children, react to it as if they had seen a Ferrari. It never goes unnoticed, and its roar can still be heard from hundreds of metres away."
- Devis Pertile
„I drive Fiat 126 because it is the most cute, smartest, lightest and smallest 4-seater car I can take with me on the trailer of my Fiat motorhome.... and all of them stop, turn around, look, wave and take pictures with him!"
- Andreas Stastny
„I'm driving a 126 fiat because... I'm having a lot of fun driving the old-fashioned way and I'm finding new sensations unknown on modern vehicles. In addition, it makes it possible to have a collection vehicle for a reasonable budget. Long live 126! And headlight calls to everyone!"
- Didier Fourez
„I drive every day my Fiat 126 when I don't drive my Fiat 500. It's still a small car for the city."
- Antonio Baruffa