1970s / 1980s / Fiat / Italian

Car lot find: Fiat 126 Bambino 650

fiat-126-8We photographed this late-1970s Fiat 126 in Switzerland on the side of a repair shop that specializes in Italian cars.  Built in the late-1970s, the bright red 126 looks like its in rough shape at first glance but a closer look reveals it wouldn’t be particularly difficult to get this tiny four-seater back on the road.  The biggest issue we saw with it is that the sunroof is not water-tight so water has built up on the floors and the carpets are moldy.  126s built in the 1970s rusted really well, and this one appears to be structurally sound.

Interestingly, the “bambino 650” emblem on the decklid indicates this 126 was sold new in Germany and imported to Switzerland later on.  The German-spec Bambino model was essentially identical to the Personal 4 that was sold in Italy, meaning it was a more expensive version of the 126 that stood out thanks to plastic bumpers, plastic cladding on both sides, a rather odd cloth-upholstered dashboard and upgraded brakes sourced from the 900T van.

Additionally, all Bambino / Personal 4 models built after 1977 were fitted with an upgraded 652cc air-cooled two-cylinder that made 24 horsepower and 30 lb-ft. of torque, a respectable amount considering the car weighs just 1,300 pounds (600 kilos).  The upgraded twin allowed the 126 Bambino to reach a top speed of 65 mph (106 km/h).

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