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Lot 643: 1927 FIAT 503 Saloon

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

Introduced in 1926, the FIAT 503 could trace its lineage back to the influential ‘Taxi’ of 1908, a modest, 2.2-litre, four-cylinder model that would point the firm in the direction of its future prosperity. Intended, as its name suggests, for urban public transport, the Taxi was introduced at a time of economic downturn, which made its commercial success all the more welcome. The Taxi’s successor was the Tipo 1, a 1.8-litre four built between 1910 and 1912, from which FIAT developed the Zero. Influenced by Ford’s Model T, the Zero was available with tourer coachwork only at first and proved highly successful, though the 2,000-or-so sold between 1912 and 1915 represented a mere drop in the ocean by American standards. The Zero’s success influenced FIAT’s first post-WWI introduction in the small-capacity class - the 501. Like the Zero, the 501 was powered by a four-cylinder sidevalve engine, though of slightly smaller (1,460cc) capacity, producing 23bhp. It was available in various versions with several types of coachwork and proved an outstanding success with over 45,000 sold between 1919 and 1926. From the 501 FIAT developed the long-wheelbase 502, retaining this lengthened frame for the slightly more powerful (27bhp) 503. Despite a production run of only two years, the latter proved immensely successful, over 42,000 being produced.
This FIAT 503 saloon was first registered on 4th April 1928 in Earls Court, London and had five owners up to 1930. The car changed hands again in January 1952 and was next sold (in 1970) to one A Smith, who restored it. Mr Smith owned the car until his death in 2006, when his son sold it to the current owner. Right-hand drive, like many Italian cars of the period, it is reported as in very good mechanical condition, with running engine, although the interior is said to require a certain amount of restoration. The vehicle is offered with old-style logbook current MoT/road fund licence and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number643
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£7500
Hammer Price (inc premium)£8625
Condition rating
Registration numberYV 2732
Chassis number4235486
Engine number4140145
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors