Market Finds: Would You Ever Add A Fiat 600 Multipla Microcar To Your Garage?

Would You Ever Add A Fiat 600 Multipla Microcar To Your Garage?

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
May 12, 2016
8 comments

One of the nicest things to see in the run-up of classic car prices is that there’s still a place for people’s cars. Pristine, surviving examples of plebeian Citroëns, Volkswagens, Minis—the list continues—often fetch five or six figures, money that could be spent on a nice new car or two. I shouldn’t forget to mention that a Fiat 600 Multipla has all of 22 horsepower, and this one’s low estimate hovers around €30,000. It’s not sporty, fast, or svelte—so why do collectors love these small wonders?

It’s because if you close your eyes and picture the vehicle you grew up in, you’ll soon realize that finding a pristine example of a “normal” car, decades on, is close to impossible. Maybe I’ll have enough cash by the time I’m 65 to hunt down both a mid-’80s burgundy-on-burgundy Mazda 626 5-Door (5-speed!) and a brown-on-brown-on-brown short-wheelbase Ford Aerostar, but doubt I’ll find either. Familiarity is a powerful thing, and it’s a tough feeling to shake when you notice you haven’t seen a once-common vehicle for years. The Fiat 600 Multipla is one of those vehicles.

Correctly predicting that people would soon require more practicality in smaller vehicles, Fiat’s brilliant engineer Dante Giacosa remixed the Fiat 600’s mechanical parts into a seven-seat micro-microbus. This tiny forward-control van was quickly adopted by families with lots of kids and small businesses that needed a useful-yet-slight vehicle. Sure, drivers would struggle to top 65 mph, but who cares? By 1970, the model left production in Italy, but was also made under license in several other countries—to the tune of more than 2.5 million in total.

This example, like many, was sold new into Italy in approximately 1965, with its ownership trail picked up in Catania, as RM Sotheby’s notes, with Sig. Rapisarda in 1976. Before leaving Italy, it was fully restored from bare metal, and was imported to the UK by its current consignor. The auction house notes, “…the car is in superb condition, with deep paint and well-aligned panels. Underneath the car, the quality of the restoration work is also clear. Period accessories were also sought out, including difficult-to-source correct seat coverings and Perspex side window visors”.

Ideally, this Multipla will be used and enjoyed by its next owner frequently…provided they leave enough time when running errands to answer questions from the bemused. At less than 12 feet long, it won’t take up much space in your dream garage—but it might ruin your schedule.

Specifications
~22 horsepower, 633-cc overhead-valve inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, A-arm front and radius arm rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,000 mm

Vehicle Information
Chassis no. 100D.108 126736
Engine no. 100D.008 4541

Valuation
Auction company: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: €30.000—€50.000; offered at no reserve
Price realized: TBD; auction on May 14

 

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jdhertz11
jdhertz11

I have a Multipla that I purchased in Italy a few years ago. Luckily it was owned by the original owner of nearly 50 years. I have since imported it home to Miami Florida. It is a really smooth and enjoyable car to drive. They are under appreciated at the current time.

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo

I would love to have it for a couple of days, no more. It is immensely cute but for that money I could do better.

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers

Shove an Abarth motor in the back and I’d think about it.

JimC
JimC

What is the grey bag by the drivers left knee? Is that the windshield washer?

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo

That is indeed the windshield washer waterbag. The “pump” is right in the middle, under the ignition key.
Using a plastic bag was cheap, I can’t remember if all 600s had it.

Stephan P
Stephan P

In high school we bought a sold 600s and 850s (sedans coupes and vans, spiders were too expensive) Never bought a Multipla because they weren’t “sporty” enough. You never saw an Abarth clone of a Multipla did you?
Today I find them very cool but I can’t wrap my brain arpund the prices so no, I would not consider adding one to my garage.

KevinCamp
KevinCamp

Would it fun and interesting, yes. At the reserve listed, no.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

No … but they sure are cute little utilitarian buggers to look at .