The Fiat 126 is still relatively common in its home country of Italy but it has become a rare sight on French roads.. unless you’re in Paris. It’s by no means common in the French capital but, like the original Mini, it continues to survive – and even thrive – in a city where being able to park in an impossible small space is a boon.
We photographed the example pictured below in Paris’ 14th district, a quiet residential area. The license plate isn’t original so we can’t tell exactly when it was built but it’s a Bis model so it was assembled between 1987 and 1991 in Poland by FSM. It is powered by a 704cc water-cooled two-cylinder engine that makes 26 horsepower.
The 126 is in relatively rough shape – there are small rust spots on the rocker panels and around the rear window, and the front fascia shows scars from two decades of Parisian parking. Pretty it ain’t, but we imagine it makes its owner’s life a little easier every day by facilitating the task of finding a spot.
The 126 stretches 120 inches (305 centimeters) long, 54 inches (137 centimeters) wide and 51 inches (130 centimeters) tall. Even new in 1973 it was a small car, but today it looks comically tiny compared to 21st century crossovers and people movers.