Introduced at the Geneva Motorshow in 1953, the nuova 1100 was also known as the 103. Despite similar mechanicals to the old 1100 (which can be traced right back to 508C of 1937) the new model was effectively a new car. The body was all new, using a monocoque, or load bearing, construction. The rest was conventional, with an in-line four cylinder 1089cc engine (36bhp) driving the rear wheels through a four speed gearbox with a column mounted shift. Two versions were produced at the beginning with different levels of trim and seats.
Later in the same year at the Paris Motorshow, Fiat released the 103 TV (Turismo Veloce) with a modified engine now producing 50bhp. Various details were changed including trim and a new front grille (incorporating a central foglight) and the bodywork was finished in a special two tone paint scheme. A coupe was also built by Pininfarina based on the TV.
The following year saw an estate version, the 'Familiare', introduced. This was mechanically identical to the saloon with the exception of the tyres. The 103 TV Trasformabile, a spider with a completely new body, emerged at the Geneva Motorshow in the following year, 1955. The first series of the 103 continued in production until 1956, by which time a total of over 250,000 had been built.
The first major revision of the 1100 range came in 1956 when the second series, the 103E, was released, in all four (saloon, TV, 'Familiare' and trasformabile) versions. A revised engine (power up to 40bhp and 53bhp in the TV) was fitted, the bodywork was modified (including a new front grille), the rear suspension slightly revised and various smaller detail changes were also made. These models were only produced until 1957, about 115,000 being built.
The next version was the 103D, launched in October 1957. The TV and trasformabile were discontinued, replaced by the versions of the 1200, whilst the engine in the saloon and estate was further improved to produce 43bhp. The body was significantly modified, with a longer boot (and thus longer overall length) and also included yet another design of grille, whilst the braking system was improved. The two-tone paint scheme also became available on the normal models. About 150,000 were built up until 1960.
Alongside the 103D, in 1959, was launched the 103H or 1100 'Lusso'. This was basically the same as the 103D saloon with a 50bhp engine and numerous changes to reflect the 'Lusso' tag. As usual, a new grille was fitted ! The 'Lusso' was built until 1960, and over 227,000 cars were produced.
Another revision took place in 1960 when the 1100 'Export' and 'Special' models were released (replacing both the 'D' and 'H' models), whilst the 'Familiare' continued in revised form. The engine in all versions was now a 55bhp (still 1089cc) unit, whilst later an automatic clutch was also available in the 'Special'. The 'Export' and 'Familiare' had a very similar body style to the old 103D model, whilst the 'Special' had more angular lines. The mechanicals followed the layout of the 103H. After 272,067 cars had been built, in 1962, the next version emerged.
This was the 1100D, launched at the Turin Motorshow in that year. Two versions, a saloon and an estate were released, both with a more angular bodystyling taken mainly from the previous 'Special' but with a much 'cleaner' and less fussy front end. Despite continuing as the '1100' a 1221cc engine (images : left side and right side) was now fitted, still generating 55bhp. These variants were produced for four years, during which about 332,000 were built.
The last version of the 1100 was the 1100R (for 'rinnovata' or 'refurbished'), released in February 1966. Many changes, both to the mechanicals and the bodywork, were made. The main changes included the return to a 1089cc engine (with 48bhp) and the adoption of disc brakes at the front. About 341,000 examples of saloon and estate were built until 1969 when they were replaced by the new, front-wheel-drive 128.
The 1100 is still produced in India, in only slightly modified form, as the Premier Padmini; available with an 1100 engine and also a 1400 unit.
Driveline longitudinal engine at front with rear wheel drive Engine 103 : 1089cc (68x75mm) 4 cylinder ohv with 36bhp @ 4400rpm (TV : 50bhp @ 5400rpm)
103E : 40bhp @ 4400rpm (Berlina/Familiare) & 53bhp @ 5400rpm (TV)
103D : 43bhp @ 4800rpm
103H : 50bhp @ 5200rpm
1100D : 1221cc (72x75mm) 4 cylinder ohv with 55bhp @ 5000rpm (images : left side and right side)
1100R : 1089cc (68x75mm) 4 cylinder ohv with 48bhp @ 5200rpm
Suspension front : Independent, lower wishbone, coil spring and telescopic damper plus anti-roll bar
rear : solid axle with telescopic dampers and leaf springs
Images from 1963 car.
wheelbase : 2340mm (1100R : 2342mm)
front track : 1229mm (103D onwards : 1232mm)
rear track : 1212mm (103D onwards : 1215mm) (1100R : 1214mm)
Brakes front : drums (discs on 1100R)
rear : drums
handbrake : transmission band brake
Gearbox 4 speed manual Steering worm and roller Kerb weight nuova 1100 / 103 : 825kg
1100 / 103E : 870kg
1100 / 103D : 880kg
1100 / 103H : 915kg
1100D : 895kg
1100R : 850kg
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For more pictures of the Fiat 1100, see our picture galleries, 1100's are usually present at most events.
Wallpapers/Desktop Backgrounds of the 1100 also available to download.
1100 comment form
The 1100 was a very competitive car of its age. I persuaded my grandfather to buy one in 1962. The Fiat 1100 Special was choosen before the Volkswagen Beetle, Renault Dauphine, Ford Anglia, Thriumph Herald and Ausitn A40. The Fiat had 4 doors, was roomier and had very good roadholding. Contemporary road test said the Fiat was a car for alpine roads. The car was the liveliest of the rivals, better equipped, and had the lowest fuel consumptions. The car is now in my posession and it is still like a new car.
I think the 1100 Special with the 103G body of 1960-1962 was the nicest of the range: well propotioned, great looking grill and with a lot of chrome. The model is featured in Brizio Pignacca's book Fiat 1100. (Nils Kr.)
My grandfather bought a Fiat 1100D in 1967, the car we earlier had was a Fiat 1100. At present we still have the 1100D, which still drives like a dream & I love driving it. I think the car handles very well. I can still do speeds in excess of 80 kmph & that I think is good enough for a car of its age. The pickup of the car is so amazing that u can feel the power of the vehicle as u press the throttle...i'm simply in love with this car.
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