Fiat demonstrates the intrinsic biblical-endorsed power of words through a simple spelling exercise. Fiat. Simple, isn't it? It sound whole and commanding and besides being and acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, it also means "let there be” in Latin. Mimicking the Genesis show, episode 1, "Let there be light”, a group of skilled business men who bought the factory during the early 1910s, said "Let there be cars”. And there were cars alright.
The first FIAT branded automobile rolled out the factory sometime in 1901. Engineered by talented Ceirano employee Faccioli, the coach-looking car was powered by a 2 cylinder archaic Boxer 3 hp engine. The investment group heads approached Faciolli on developing a front-engined vehicle. Faciolli's response was not the expected one: he resigned.
Like any company would have done, a replacement was sought and found in the blink of an eye. Enrico took on the job and in a year's time he presented a new 1.2 liter four cylinder model, developed with technology borrowed from Mercedes.
As time went by, the company gained in popularity and although it was becoming bigger by the day, it still hadn't exited its lengthy development and research stages. After many tryouts using 4 and 6 cylinder models, FIAT was ready to reveal its first mass-produced car, the 1912 "Tipo Zero”.
Pre-war time was soon to be over and FIAT would plunge in boringly new production stages to cover for aircraft and tank demands. Post-war times however would bring Fiat lots of sales-figures related merriment – the 501 Cavalli designed model was built in over 45,000 units by 1926. After experimenting with some floppy luxurious big engined models, Fiat resumed the development of its highly popular models. The result was the 509, a light weight vehicle that exceeded every FIAT sales record to that time: by 1929, it had sold in more than 90,000 units.
A series of newer models that matched or even surpassed the popularity of those before them were later released, some of the most notable having been the 1932 Tipo 508 Ballila. Sporting 995cc 25hp and 36 hp engines,the car was adopted by foreign producers. License-built rebadged versions of the Ballila were successfully sold in Germany, Czechoslovakia and France.
A few years before the WWII outbreak, FIAT was quick to release the long lived 1500 and Tipo 500 models, the latter having stayed almost unaltered until 1948. When the war came Fiat was enjoyed an even greater popularity thanks to its top-selling models at the time, the 500 and the 1100, almost known as the Millecento. Although no major improvements were made in the immediate post-war years, the Italian company reached the amazing threshold of 1 million units of the 600 model – the Topolino replacement -sold.