Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Saintly Fiat 600 Multipla

I just watched the first four episodes of the 1960s Roger Moore TV classic The Saint. In addition to the protagonist, I am fascinated by the veritable who's who (or rather, what's what) of 1960s automobile-dom.

In each episode, one or two cool contemporary cars share the small screen with James B..., er, Simon Templar. The white Volvo P1800. The W111 Benz. Assorted Ford Consuls and Morris Minors. But what captured my imagination was the Fiat 600 Multipla driven by a mischievous but ultimately loyal Roman taxi driver in Season One, Episode Two: The Latin Touch.

The Multipla was derived from the little Fiat 600. In the taxi version, a single seat and a luggage platform sat in the front. There was a folding seat in the middle, and a bench seat in the back.

It was incredibly roomy and could seat six, despite being just 19.7 inches longer than the original Mini Cooper.

The 767cc four produced 32 horsepower. It has a top speed of just 60 miles per hour.

130,000 units were made. They are quite rare today. I hope to see my first Multipla next year at the Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia.

Its extraordinary utility is surpassed only by its quirky beauty.

If a "saint" is one deserving of public veneration, then the Multipla is most definitely a saint.


No comments: