c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144
Lot 102
A rare example of an American-built Brass-era FIAT
c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING
Sold for US$ 130,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144 c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING  Chassis no. S1570 Engine no. 6144
c.1912 FIAT MODEL 56 50HP 7-PASSENGER TOURING

Chassis no. S1570
Engine no. 6144

8,600cc Side-Valve Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single FIAT Carburetor
Bosch ZR6 Magneto Ignition
Est. 50 bhp
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
Rear-Wheel Drum Brakes


*A rare example of an American-built Brass-era FIAT
*Constructed with very high-quality materials
*Only a few thought to survive
*Recently-rebuilt engine
*Long-term post-war ownership



THE FIAT MODEL 56


It is not widely known that FIAT, like Rolls-Royce, opened a factory in the United States in the early years of the 20th Century. When FIAT decided to produce automobiles in Poughkeepsie, New York, the decision was certainly prompted by the idea of greater profits, since there was a stiff tariff on imported cars. The new U.S. company held the rights to FIAT's manufacturing designs and the parent firm received a royalty on every car built in the U.S. The New York plant opened in 1910, and its first products were a couple of four-cylinder designs. In 1912, a new six-cylinder, 45-horsepower, 8.6-liter engine of mono-block construction with integral water-jacketed intake and exhaust manifolds was introduced on the Model 56. This big under-square six utilized a cooling fan mounted to its flywheel, and belly pans below the engine and transmission ensured proper airflow.

This was a large, expensive prestige automobile built exclusively for American customers. Initially, it was available only as a seven-passenger Touring car on a 135-inch wheelbase. For the next three years, a much broader selection of body styles, both open and closed, was available. 1916 would be the final year for the Model 56, with the choice of body styles reduced to five. In 1917, FIAT reduced its production in Poughkeepsie to only four-cylinder cars, and the American factory closed in 1918.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This Model 56 seven-passenger touring car is believed to have been originally sold in Los Angeles. Its original price would have been well in excess of $4500, a great deal of money for the day. Its earliest history is unknown, but Mr. Colin "Ernie" Shaw of Santa Rosa, California purchased it around 1952 from a dentist in Los Angeles. The car had been damaged in a storage facility fire, and the owner didn't want to deal with repairs. Mr. Shaw and several friends set to work on the FIAT, replacing several areas of damaged aluminum with sheet tin, and the burned wooden firewall and windshield frame with new material. After replacing the piston rings, Mr. Shaw had the car ready for the road. Ernie's son remembers taking many long family trips in this FIAT, ranging as far as Ensenada, Mexico without incident, and having no problem maintaining speeds of 65-70 mph on the highway. Mr. Shaw was very active in the Horseless Carriage Club, and this FIAT carries numerous plaques attesting to its continuous use and enjoyment. After Ernie's passing, the car was bequeathed to his son, who sold it in 2013 to the current owner.

This is a largely original example of a rarely-seen car, equipped with a four-speed transmission with direct drive in fourth. A torque-tube delivers power to a "Clamshell" rear axle. The huge wood-spoked artillery wheels have de-mountable rims. Brakes are rear-wheel only. The body, manufactured at FIAT's Poughkeepsie plant, was of aluminum over wood framing, with steel fenders and hood. As noted, there is extensive use of wood in the firewall, windshield frame, and interior trim. This cream and black-trimmed car has never been restored cosmetically, but the current owner says the engine was recently rebuilt by Boulevard Motorcar Company in Westlake Village, California. The car is supplied with a folding fabric top, some spare parts, and some research materials from the old William Harrah Collection, which owned a 1914 Model 56. Production numbers for the Model 56 are uncertain, but it is believed that only a few survive.

This handsome Brass-era FIAT touring car is perfect for club touring or potential restoration.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled under its engine number and its title is in transit.
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