Category Archives: Fiat

Polski Fiat 126P in 1/43

by John-William Greenbaum

This little Polski Fiat 126P NP was called the “Ryjek” compact sedan! In Polish, “Ryjek”, in this context, means “Little Snout”. That’s because the 126P NP basically was the result of taking the rear-engined Polski Fiat 126P and moving the engine around to the front while reversing the entire drivetrain.  The 1/43 model pictured below is made in Poland by Moye Modele!

It was a relatively reliable car, but since it failed to have any truly different variants from the regular 126P (I believe some people were hoping for a hatchback version, which never came), it was really pretty much a waste of money as far as putting it into production went. Since performance tests showed it to be the 126P’s equal and in a few cases, slight superior, it just wasn’t worth putting into mass production, especially with Poland’s difficult economy.

In the automotive world, we have undoubtedly seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright bizarre. For all of its fairly traditional, boxy looks, the Polski Fiat 126P NP “Ryjek” Compact Sedan has to be classified as the latter. The irony is that if not for one design feature, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that it would have reached production rather than languishing away as a prototype. For you see, the Polski Fiat 126P NP was, distilled down to its simplest definition, an attempt to turn the rear-engined, very common Polski Fiat 126P Compact Sedan around so that it was a front-engined car!

The  “Little Snout” was designed in 1977 by a Professor Zdzislaw Pozdziak. He had the help and cooperation of a design team led by Professor Jerzy Ginalski of the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts designing the body and veteran engineer Jerzy Winogrodzki for the running gear. According to Pozdziak, the primary aim of the 126P NP project was to give the little 126P front-wheel drive as well as a slightly more powerful engine. Furthermore, it was hoped that with a front-engined version of the 126P, it would make the car easier to modify into various different versions that had been attempted and generally failed, such as a pickup, a kombi (station wagon), and most importantly, a hatchback.

However, it just had too much in common with the ordinary, inexpensive, and indeed reliable 126P that was being produced in massive quantities.  The Polish Government  ran out of patience: they’d gone severely over-budget when it came to program funding for the 126P NP and wanted a result. As such, the moment they asked the Polish Government for funding to turn the 126P NP into a hatchback, the program was terminated.

The 126P NP “Ryjek” was not an inherently bad car, but it failed to achieve the single most important goal of any 126P-derived prototype in that it could not be turned into a hatchback; or rather, by the time it could be turned into a hatchback, the Polish Government had run out of both money and patience to do so. At least three examples of the well-preserved prototypes still exist in Polish museums, and while at least one is roadworthy, it seems doubtful that it’ll ever take to the streets again.

More details about the design are on the author’s Facebook page.

Polski Fiat 126P NP “Ryjek” Compact Sedan
Made in Poland 
Model by Moye Modele, Poland (figure by Replicars)
-Years Built: 1978-1981
-Engine: 26 HP 2-cylinder four-stroke
-Fuel Type: Gasoline
-Top Speed: 65 mph

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Atlas Dinky Collection 520 FIAT 600 D

By Maz Woolley


The Atlas Dinky Collection features another French Dinky model a FIAT 600 D.  Binns Road also produced a 600 but that was a cruder model  with one piece solid wheel and tyres based upon an earlier version of the car so perhaps we can be grateful that Atlas chose to use the French Model as the basis for their replica. The replica box shows off the nice Dinky art work well though the model lacks much of the detail shown on the box.

Atlas have chosen to have the replica made in cream. The model was also available in red when launched by Dinky France in 1963. It remained in their catalogue until 1970. This model has already been issued in this colour in the continental Dinky series from Atlas in France and other European countries.

Looking at pictures of the original model the replica is cast to a higher standard as it does not show the mould marks that many of the originals seem too.

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Hachette Buses from Round the World

By Fabrizio Panico


All photographs by the Author except for the picture of three buses below which is from Hachette’s web site.


Since February 2016 Hachette Fascicoli Srl, the Italian arm of Lagardère Publishing, has presented a new partwork available at Italian newsstands : “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French partwork “Autobus et autocars du monde”. Models are presented fortnightly in a transparent plastic bubble, with a release order which differs from the French one. Price is set at 19,99 Euro from the third issue. The French collection has already reached more than fifty models and has recently been extended to eighty. It is likely that it will later include the Italian specific models seen in the Italian series.

The first model in the Italian series (#20 in the French collection) is a Fiat 306/3 Cansa of 1962: A true national icon, for over twenty years it dominated medium and long distance coach travel in Italy.

Produced from 1956 by Fiat Veicoli Industriali (Iveco from 1975) to replace the 682RN, it was the first Fiat bus designed from scratch and not derived from a truck chassis. With a length of 11 meters, its main novelty was the flat engine, a diesel straight six, placed centrally under the floor. This was of 10.7 to 11.6 litres and 140 to 173 HP depending on the year of production.

Produced in three successive series (306/3 from 1962) the chassis received bodywork by Padane, Menarini, Orlandi, Viberti and many others, but the usual body was by Cansa, an ex-aeronautical company which was brought into the Fiat Group in 1936, based in Cameri, near Novara. From 1977 the Iveco 370 started to replace the 306, which was produced up to 1982.

The model, in the “classic” light blue livery, is reproduced quite faithfully and it is indeed the correct choice for the start of the “Italian collection”. The body is plastic, while the metal chassis adds “substance” to the model. Dashboard and interior are well reproduced, the only difference with the French edition seems to be a missing decal near the left front door. One issue with this series is the absence of a box which is needed to store them, after all you cannot display them all the time.

The second model (#4 in the French collection) is a Mercedes-Benz O10000 1938. A real “king” among the Mercedes-Benz buses and until the Second World War the largest one ever produced. Its model name O10000, instead of the more common LO, highlighted the fact that its chassis was derived from that of the L10000 truck , but much modified for transporting passengers.

Designed mainly for long distance travels, it was also tested as a double-decker by BVG for use in Berlin, but its length limited its use and a total of less than 400 units were produced.

The Reichpost ordered 160 units, to use for its postal and passenger services on the new “autobahns”, but the fuel consumption was high and at the end of the war some of the still quite new vehicles were used by the Deutsche Bundespost as mobile post offices between the larger towns.

When production started in 1937 the engine was a 12.5 litre diesel straight six, but in 1938 that was replaced by a “fast” 11.2 litre diesel and the wheelbase further stretched to 6300 mm. The body is by Kässbohrer, more commonly known as Setra after the war.

The model is really imposing, the red and black livery and the protruding nose adding to the whole impression of brute power. There is a plastic body and metal chassis as usual. Baggage on the roof rack and a detailed interior, as well as the two entry doors. reflect the fact that this bus is for long distance runs. The radiator and the Mercedes-Benz star are nicely modelled. There are no differences to the model already shown in the French edition.


The third model (#5 in the French collection) is an AEC Regent III London bus of 1939 – What’s more British than a red double-decker ? At least according to the usual stereotypes, because you could find the same buses in Toronto and then start wondering if you had boarded the wrong plane. Big Ben, a black taxi and a red bus have been a well known image of London for so many years, probably for longer than you have been alive.

It was 1911 when the LGOC (London General Omnibus Company) designed its first double-decker and the following year its new subsidiary AEC (Associated Equipment Company) started its production. In 1929 the first Regent was born, following the example of Leyland it has a lower chassis, an inside rear staircase and platform, and a enclosed driver cab, to the side of the engine.

After the nationalisation of the London Transport, AEC becomes a private company, but maintains privileged relations with it and in 1938 presents the prototype of the Regent III RT, reserved to London Transport only. The engine is a diesel straight six of 9.6 litres and producing 115 HP. It was fitted with a pre-selector gearbox made by Wilson . First bodies were produced in London Transport workshops and subcontracted to outside body builders after the war and were updated as production took place. Weymann produced about eighty Regent RLH buses with a lower height for London Country, which had many routes where the railway bridges were too low for the standard Regent.

The model is quite heavy despite its small size, very well detailed and “classic” in its red livery, but many would have preferred some more colourful advertising. There are no differences to the French edition.

Editor’s comment: The adverts carried by the bus are of Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues which was released in 1972 so the model probably represents a bus from the later years of production. The last service operated by a London Transport Regent ran in 1979.  

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Much more about the FIAT Granluce

By Fabrizio Panico


Apart from the photograph of the UK issue of the model taken by the editor all pictures and photographs have been provided by the author. 

Atlas Dinky 531 UK issue.

I would like to clear some issues in the recent article in MAR Online about the Atlas Dinky 531.

The Prototype

The Fiat 1200 Granluce (Grande Vue for Dinky France, or Large Light in UK) was a very short lived issue, the model being old already when first produced. However, its history is not an easy one. It should have replaced the 1100 TV, but they decided to change it from a performance model to a luxury one. The prototype was shown at the 1957 Turin Motor Show. Its bodyshell was strictly derived from the 1100-103 D, but with a more modern greenhouse, new rear fins and a new front grille.

Deliveries started at the beginning of 1958, but with big differences: the front doors weren’t hinged at the B pillar, but at the A pillar. The car was produced by the “Sezione Carrozzerie Speciali” (Special Bodies Department) at the old Lingotto factory. The engine was a 1221 cc one delivering 55 HP. A mild facelift was shown at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show with a different front grille, rubber on the bumper guards and a chrome strip on the doors, the engine had an higher compression ratio, delivering now 58 HP. At the end of 1960 its bodyshell was simplified for the upmarket “1100 Special”, while the standard “1100 Export” used the 1100-103 H one, both with the “old faithful” 1089 cc engine.

The 1200 was discontinued after 400,000 copies in September 1961, to be substituted by the new, more modern, 1300 and 1500 (the Corvair-like ones). Its bodyshell was simplified and used at the end of 1962 for the 1100 D, together with the 1221 cc engine.

The Atlas/DeAgostini Models


The Atlas and DeAgostini models correctly reproduce the 1958 version, the only problem being the C pillar. What is missing isn’t the roof colour, but a ribbed chrome panel.

The difference between the DeAgostini model and the original Dinky can be clearly seen on the base plate.

The Brochure Story


The brochure picture shown in the original article shows the 1957 prototype, not the 1958 version. It seems that the prototype brochure is much easier to find than the production one, very likely because they printed a lot of them and then didn’t use them, because of the doors change.

Pictures of the original vehicle with no “suicide” doors.

The Indian Story

Premier Automobiles Ltd of India in 1954 were granted a ten year license to assemble Completely Knocked Down (CKD) Fiat models. When the license expired in 1965 they bought the whole assembly line of the 1100 D from Fiat  and the rights to produce the 1089 cc engine. It was the first Indian 1100 to be produced as a Premier (the famous Padmini), before 1965 they were all badged as Fiats. The Padmini was produced with small improvements up to 1999.

As you can see the Fiat 1100-1200 history is indeed a long and complex one.

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