This charming 1937 Fiat 500 Topolino or ‘Little Mouse’ has been consigned by David Mitchell, a 92-year-old classic car enthusiast from Lewes, East Sussex. The little car is just like the one which featured strongly in that superb 1953 film ‘Roman Holiday’ with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It is estimated to sell for £5,000 to £7,000 with H&H Classics Live Online Auction on July 22.
“The sight of a six foot plus Peck endeavouring to get in the back was a great sequence,” says John Markey of H&H Classics.
In the film, Audrey Hepburn is a bored and sheltered princess who escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman, Gregory Peck in Rome. The little Fiat adds greatly to the charm of this story.
Previously displayed in a Fiat dealer showroom the Fiat has been in David Mitchell’s ownership for 14 years and is said to have been in "regular, sensible" use for local journeys and club meetings.
It has been regularly serviced and maintained. Work has included replacement of brake cylinders, speedometer cable, cylinder head, exhaust valves, fan belt and starter motor activating cable
Although not recently MOT'd, it is said to have had "regular professional checks." The running boards are said to be "sound" with the rubber purely cosmetic and easily replaced
Offered for sale as Mr Mitchell has other vehicles in his collection and cannot do justice to them all. He says the body and interior trim are: 'Very good.'
The Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1936, three models were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. It was equipped with a 569 cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, later an overhead valve motor.
The radiator was located behind the engine which made for a lowered aerodynamic nose profile at a time when competitors had a flat, nearly vertical grille. The shape of the car's front allowed exceptional forward visibility.
Buyers frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominally two-seater car, and in later models the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs.
With horsepower of about 13 bhp, its top speed was around 53 mph (85 km/h), and it could achieve about 47.1 mpg. Nearly 520,000 were sold.