Home » Cold Start: It’s Like A Chameleon

Cold Start: It’s Like A Chameleon


There’s something about the strangely matte beige of this 1957 Fiat 1100 that just blends in with its sun-baked, desert-y environment so well, that if you told me this was actually a secret Italian military project to develop environmentally-triggered camaleontessa color-changing paint, I’d have believed you.

I mean, why wouldn’t I trust you about this? You told me you were in charge of the Italian army’s mid-century stealth programs, which is why I agreed to give you my Social Security number in the first place. Also, I don’t get why you need my bank PIN code, but I guess you know what you’re doing, right?

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28 Responses

  1. I’ve always loved the little 1100! The later ones can be still found for pretty reasonable prices and they’re pretty reliable and simple to work on! The later styling loses a bit of the cool 50s design though.

    Fun fact, there was a factory option for ONE center-mounted foglight!

    Or as seen in this pic from a period brochure (on the right)! 😀

  2. I’m always baffled by people today complaining all cars looks the same, but back then, look at that, is it a Morris Minor? Is it a Peugeot 403? A Simca? No it’s a Fiat.

  3. This is the original postwar Fiat 1100 (Type 103); according to Wikipedia by ’57 they had moved on to the first facelift but is unclear whether or not the base-base model continued through MY1957 with this car’s 1953-era detailing. For model year 1958 there was a major facelift just in time for the 1958-60 import car boom in America.

    1. They certainly are interesting. One of the first things did after reading this was search for an image of the front and rear door open at the same time, and it looked as weird as I thought it would.

  4. Is it matte or just non-metallic paint? I like the returned trend of shiny, non-metallic paints. I do wish automakers would expand the palette though.

  5. That car color looks familiar – several times/year our local reclamation facility has people bring in their old house paints and such, and mixes the safe (non-lead, latex) ones together to make “institutional paint”.

  6. An acquaintance of mine built a hot rod out of a 1959 Fiat 1100 station wagon fitted out with a MOPAR 360 V8. It is a totally pointless automobile, but I love it.

  7. Why Dutch? I found the brochure in English and Italian, but no, Torchy goes dutch on us!
    And what of the Turismo Veloce, with a blistering top speed of 84mph and extended wings with different taillights?

    Clearly I’ve been down the rabbit hole again, Thanks Jason!

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