FIAT 12 HP
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Winner of the first Tuscany race in August 1901, the 12 HP was the first Fiat with a four-cylinder engine.
Felice Nazzaro won the race beating its competitors, which, mostly, ran on 2-cylinder engines on two, three, or four wheels. That was a triumphal moment for the Italian carmaker, who soon saw growth in demands from customers. Torino’s young carmaker managed to offer them the 12 HP, a vehicle built only for a couple of years.
It was hard to name the cars from those times that they featured a bodywork. Most carmakers, including Fiat, offered them either with an in-house built bodywork or just supplied them as a bare chassis. We know that the Fiat 12 HP was offered as a coach, with a roof to protect its occupants from rain, or open. To light the road ahead, the carmaker installed oxyacetylene headlights, with white, bright light.
Depending on the order, Fiat installed between two and six seats. The latter featured side benches behind the driver, with seating for four.
The engine was placed at the front, behind the axle. It was mated to a three-speed manual gearbox. Power went to the rear wheels via a chain and an open differential. For the suspension, Fiat used the same system with front and rear axles, supported by leaf-springs. While the first model featured a 12 HP engine, in 1902, the carmaker installed a bigger 7.5-liter engine that produced 28 hp.