27 December, 2010

Mr. T. Intro (Fiat Topolino Hot Rod)

Mr A. (stepdad Jack) has had several vehicle projects over the years, including this hot rod Fiat Topolino. Without getting into too many details here (I'll be posting info about it on Jack's Sketchbook blog) this is a 1937 Topolino body sitting on an altered Fiat 508 frame. A Fiat 2000 Spider provides the powertrain, including a complete front double a-arm suspension and rear axle assembly, 2L twin cam, 5-speed trans, and 4-wheel disc brake setup.

Mr. T has been hiding in the corner of Jack's shop for many years, and has recently been uncovered. While up in Oregon for Christmas, we talked quite a bit about what it will take to get it finished. Amazingly, 90% of most of the major sub-assemblies are finished. It just needs some final fabrication to get it running, and even running around the block. So with that in mind, I'll be heading back up later in January to tackle some exhaust, fuel system, and brake projects with Jack.

In the meantime, here are some quick photos of the car as it sits now, with a few detail notes.

Center body retains original Topo sheet metal body, including front cowl, doors, rear deck. Body was widened roughly 6 inches down center. Front hood, fenders, and complete nose section is fiberglass, hand laid over carved foam. Rear fenders are also fiberglass construction:

Wheelbase was lengthend to 91 inches, all of it between the main cab at the front axle:

Entire front hood/fender/nose assembly flips forward for easy access to mechanicals:

Saab 900 aluminum radiator sits well forward, driving turn signal lights seen up front. Entire Fiat 124/2000 Spider front suspension was transplanted, including cross member, double a-arms, hubs, brakes etc., retaining stock geometry:

Fiat 2000 spider 2L twincam should produce about 120hp with headers and bigger Weber carb:

Lots of room to work in here:

Engine sits well aft of front wheel center-line. I'm curious to see what the weight distribution looks like when it is done:

Inside view of front bodywork. Fiberglass and epoxy construction, with numerous stiffening ribs:

Custom dash features millions of gauges, switches, and easy-to-access replaceable fuses for each circuit. Brand new Honda CRX Si seats provide a great fit even for my 6' tall frame:

In case you can't tell from the pictures, this is a small car. Think a 1st gen Miata about 8 inches narrower, and even shorter. We're thinking it will come in about 1,500 pounds, so 120hp should be just dandy.


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