To find this review was a bit of a surprise, as the Fiat 1100R was a rather rare sight in the US at this time. It was the final evolution of the 1100 (“Millecento”) family that first arrived in 1953, and was a huge hit in Europe, offering unprecedented performance, size, comfort and handling in its class. The 1100R was the end of that road, and it was effectively replaced by the all-new 124 in this year. The 124 was as huge a hit in Europe as the 1100 had been, and even made some fairly significant inroads in the US. But the narrow 1100 was a bit more of an outsider. So it’s interesting to read how well this older design held up to the expectations of 1966.
Surprisingly well, it turns out.
On the continent, the 1100 was the ultimate anti-Beetle, with its water cooled four up front turning the rear wheels, and its boxy four door sedan body. Turns out a whole lot of buyers preferred that, and it was even built in Germany as the Neckar in significant numbers. They were an extremely common sight in Austria in the fifties. A family friend had one, and I remember well riding in it. It was considered a upper-middle class car.
Its engine dates back to 1937, but it still had the usual Fiat qualities, including being willing to rev to 6000 rpm. And the handling was commensurate too.
The verdict was that the 1100R still afforded a very pleasurable driving experience for the money, always a high element in the classic Fiat equation.