1913 Fiat TIPO 55 Speed Car

  • Brand: Fiat
  • Car Code: 320418
1913 FIAT TIPO 55 Speed Car
FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino) was founded in July of 1899 and was led by Giovanni Agnelli until his death in 1945. The first Fiat plant opened in 1900 with 35 staff workers making 24 cars. By 1903, the company was producing 135 cars; by 1906 that figure had grown to 1,149 cars.
The first Fiat was the 3 ½ CV. It had a water-cooled .7-liter 2-cylinder engine offering 4.2 horsepower and mated to a three-speed gearbox. Top speed was a respectable 22 mph. All examples were clothed by Alessio of Turin with body designs that were closely resembled the Benz. By 1908, they had exported the first Fiat to the United States. By 1910, Fiat was the largest automotive company in Italy.
Hollander and Tangeman of New York City were importing Fiats to the U.S. and were enjoying success with their venture. This came to a close when Agnelli decided to manufacture vehicles in the United States. Since a duty tax was imposed on imported cars, a new plant was built in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1910 by the newly founded American F.I.A.T. Automobile Company. The new U.S. Company retained the rights to FIAT's manufacturing designs and the parent firm received a royalty on every car built in the United States.
The U.S. built Fiat's catered to the wealthy, and had a base price of $4,000 to $6,100. Their initial offering was the Type 54, which had a 30 horsepower four-cylinder engine and a 124-inch wheelbase. The Type 56 was a seven-passenger Touring car and had a 135-inch wheelbase. It was introduced in 1912 and was built exclusively for the U.S. market. Power was from an 8.6-liter L-head six-cylinder engine that offered 45 horsepower and was mated to an unsynchronized four-speed manual transmission. Stopping power was provided by rear mechanical drum brakes.
In 1913, the lineup expanded further with the introduced of the Type 55. It had a 128-inch wheelbase and was powered by a 42 horsepower four-cylinder engine. A year later, it was joined by the Type 53 having a 116-inch wheelbase and a 25 horsepower engine.
By 1914, the American Fiat lineup consisted of the Type 53, 54, 55, and the 56. The Type 54 was dropped in 1915 followed by the Type 53 in 1916. By 1917, the American Fiat model line consisted of just the Type 55, now resting on a 140-inch wheelbase. By the end of the year, it too was no longer offered as the company cased all production.
In February of 1918, the machinery and building was purchased by Duesenberg Motors of Elizabeth, New Jersey.
This 9 liter 4 cylinder Fiat speed car gentleman's racer, is one of only a few known to exist, still able to reach over 70 mph. In 1905, Italy's first and foremost car maker, Fiat, shipped a race car across the atlantic and broke the world's automotive speed record at the Vanderbilt Cup Race in America, it won again in 1906. Fiat's monstrous 10-liter, 50 bhp speedster swept the French and German grand prixs and Italy's Targa Florio in 1907. In 1910, Fiat established the first foreign carmaker factory in America at Poughkeepsie NY. By 1912 Fiat won both the American Grand Prix in Milwaukee, and the new Santa Monica Racetrack Victory with a behemoth nine liter, 60 bph, thundering speed car. This 100 year old Tipo 55, 9 liter, 4 cylinder 60 bhp gentleman's racer was America's fastest pre-war luxury automobile and is the 211 car off of the line. Guaranteed by the factory to exceed 70 mph before World War 1 (if you could get the horses out of the way) it was called a gentleman's racer because if you could afford one, you were obviously a gentleman and if you had one, you would race it. This luminary before you has been given additional life as it has a new radiator matrix and a newly cast block that will guarantee another 100 years of dependability. With only a few known to exist in the world.

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & barrett-jackson & flickriver & auto-zer

Production Start 1913
Country of origin Italy