1915 Fiat 18P Box Van

  • Brand: Fiat
  • Car Code: 321044

1915 Fiat 18P Box Van

Powered by a 4.4-litre monobloc sidevalve engine, this Tipo 18P Fiat box van was acquired as a chassis in 1969 from T.W. Purbrick of Hadlow, Kent, and has been restored as a service van of "Fiat Torino Italia". Designed by Fiat chief engineer Guido Fornaca, the Tipo 18P commercial chassis built between 1915-20 had its engine in common with the Tipo 3A private car of 1912-21, but employed double chain final drive instead of a live axle. With a multiplate disc clutch, the Tipo 18P had a four speed and reverse gearbox. It was basically a military vehicle, a smaller-engined derivative of the basic Tipo 18 range, and total production was 6354 units.

The Tipo 18 range had its origins in a request from the Italian Army for a new multi-purpose truck chassis for the transport of troops and materiel, and was launched in 1911 with a 5130cc engine. Various versions followed over the next decade, both trucks and buses, with a range of engines between 4.4 and 6.2 litres.

Intriguingly, though in 1907 the French Minister of War had declared that henceforward orders for military vehicles would be restricted to national producers, it had become clear by October 1914 that French manufacturers were incapable of meeting demand; during 1914 they had only delivered 2585 vehicles. The War Ministry was forced to look abroad to fill the gap, and settled on Fiat, who were to supply the French Army with Tipo 15 and 18 trucks throughout the war. After the war, reconditioned Tipo 15ter (the standard field ambulance of the French and Italian armies) and Tipo 18P chassis were offered on the British market with three months' guarantee (cab and wings extra) by an entrepreneur named Alfredo Ferraris who had an office in London and a company in Ferrara named Industria Meccaniche Andreoli.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams

Production Start 1915
Country of origin Italy