We photographed the Fiat 126 pictured below on a recent trip to Rome, Italy. The Italian capital isn’t as good for car-spotting as it was about a decade ago and many classics have disappeared from the city’s streets, but there is still a decent amount of rear-engined Fiats buzzing around.
However, the 126 stands out because it’s one of the few unrestored classic Fiats that we came across – most of the ones left are 500s that have benefited from at least a new coat of paint in the past couple of years. The plates indicate that the 126 has spent all of its life in Rome, and it has countless dings and dents on both ends to prove it.
Rust has started to form around the windshield and the rear window but the 126 remains largely solid, the rockers are in sound shape. The interior is a little worn but generally well preserved, and the engine must be in decent condition because the tiny Fiat is registered and inspected.
We couldn’t track down the owner, but a man who recently owned a mid-1960s DS – and who currently runs an awesome bar that exclusively serves Italian microbrews – explained that owning an old car in Rome is difficult because the safety and emissions tests have progressively become more difficult.
We’re admittedly not familiar with Italian laws and regulations but the tougher tests might explain the sudden drop in classics. When viewed in that light, this worse-for-the-wear 126 appears to be doing just fine.