Automobile sponsored by:
Under the name of project 100, and after several rounds of test and development—always with one eye on cost, a small vehicle with four seats appeared. It was powered by a very simple but reliable rear-mounted four-cylinder engine. The car became known as the Fiat 600, one of the 20th century’s greatest automobile successes—with about 2.7 million units produced.
The Multipla launched at the 1956 Brussels motor show was an ingenious evolution of the brilliant little Fiat 600. Using the 600 as a base with an engine at the rear and the boot at the front, Fiat mounted the suspension from their wider 1100 models, creating ample space for luggage between the seats and the engine compartment. Thus, was the 600-line expanded both for family and commercial use.
The newly launched multi-seat Fiat 600 Multipla was very uniquely versatile. Clever folding seats were combined with a chassis that could be fitted with the option of four, five, or six seats and even a taxi version.
It was the first minivan sold with more than five seats whilst maintaining reduced exterior dimensions. Built on a Fiat 600 chassis elongated by 30 cm and without varying the wheelbase, Fiat had created a four-door utility vehicle, with space for the rear seats and cargo. This last option was achieved by folding the seats which astonishingly allowed enough space for people to sleep in the car. Fiat’s 600 Multipla is therefore the first example in the world of the minivan concept which is so widely loved today.
The Multipla shared its engine with the standard 600 and like the car version, they were produced between 1956 and 1960. From 1960 onwards, Fiat released the Multipla D evolution which lasted until 1967. In total, 76,871 units of the Fiat Multipla was produced, while the Multipla D version gave rise to another 83,389 units.
This car was donated to the Museu do Caramulo by António Adelino Rodrigues.