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