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Two heads are better than one - Fiat 501

My Fiat 501

On the 4th of January 2018, we received the following message in the mailbox:

''This is my Fiat 501, slowly becoming a real car from as many original parts as I possibly can find. According to the archives of the Fiat Centro Storico it was made in November 1925 and delivered as a bare chassis to the Finnish importer Walfrid Alfthán, but sadly I only have the left front wing and windscreen frame from the original coachwork. Luckily, I have now a good 501 radiator, bonnet catches and most importantly I have loaned well preserved original wood parts for a factory torpedo coachwork for patterns to make my own. Alfthán had a white 501S racer that was raced in Helsinki, Stockholm and possibly in Estonia in the 1920s, so my plan is to recreate that car as accurately as I can. For the base of my projects, I have several complete Tipo 101 and 103 engines, the best one is a very rare Fiat-Tamini 503 motopompa, as well as lights, radiators, axles, wheels, hubs, several Fiat-Metron gauges and many other parts for recreating a 509A, most of a 1928 507F fire-car (dismantled in the fifties and found almost completely in parts under a barn) and two good 520 sixes. The water pump was saved literally in the last minute when a fellow enthusiast sad it hanging from an excavator in a waste tip site, so sadly the water tank was damaged a bit. The hunt for parts is far from over and most importantly I am missing all the cardan parts including the cast tube and the cardan joint, as my only rear axle has been cut with a hammer as a trailer axle! Also, I would like to find a steering wheel, the fusebox/cutout case to the behind of the dashboard, original canister type tail light and a facsimile of period Fiat workshop book.''

''I would like to find other enthusiasts of 1920s Fiats to swap parts and knowledge for the benefit of all these wonderful vintage projects still existing, so do not hesitate to connect me if you could have something for me. I am a professional carpenter and I intend to make small series of every part that I eventually will make, such as body panels and woodwork. Anche parlo un po italiano et je parle aussi un peut francais. This is my first prewar project, which I bought in the Christmas holidays three years ago sitting under a spruce tree in the yard of a famous cinema car builder in Finland. Since then, my old garage has turned to a real barn-find -barn and I am truly devoted in searching more clues for possible vintage parts to complete my projects. It is a long journey and I have a lot to learn, at the moment I am struggling with dismantling the brake drums, I wonder if I really need to take the hub apart first to get to the brake shoes as I can't pull the drums out as I expected?''

Is there anyone who can help this very enthusiastic man? Help would be very much appreciated, please comment below so we can bring you two into contact. If you have a similar story, do not hesitate to ask! Please send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Two heads are better than one!




#10 Neville parlour 2018-05-13 08:53
I am restoring a 1924 501 almost completed you may contact me
#9 Rod Fulton 2018-01-26 09:56
What book are you looking for ,what model ,regards rod


Rod Fulton
Vintage Restorers
#8 Leo Schildkamp 2018-01-25 21:16
I have two Original sales brochure for Model 509 in French.
Brochure N. 1109bis - X 1925
N. 2429 - XII - 928
#7 Antti Korhonen 2018-01-25 13:47
Also, if you have rusted out body parts for Fiat 501, please do not throw them away, fold them and stash them in a post package for me and I will restore them with molasses and citric acid for re-use! I have made drawings for the cowl structure from original parts, but it would be nice to have the other front wing for a start aswell.

I also have access to take detailed drawings of an original 507F fire truck of the central fire station of Turku, as seen in . I am slowly collecting parts for it's sister car, which I have mostly unearthed from a farm nearby and plan to put together again.
#6 Antti Korhonen 2018-01-25 13:26
I must thank the Prewarcar staff to kindly publish my letter right at the homepage of this wonderful site, I really hope to get in contact with many Fiat builders around the world. We have some relatives in Netherlands and I have visited the Louwmann collection twice, which were truly a breathtaking moments for both me and my wife, as the museum is so beautifully done.

I myself am also the secretary of our national club Gruppo Fiat Finlandia ry and have knowledge of about ten to fifteen 1920s Fiats still existing here, in various condition. Sadly, a few of the finest examples such as original 520 and 521 torpedoes have been sold abroad in the nineties. We have also many rather stalled restorations, as the gentlemen from the first generation of Finnish "mobilists" as we call them are now turning their eighties and parts for non-Fords are so scarce here, which I try to help as much as I can.

In period, Fiat was one of the most popular brands after Ford and the Finnish defence forces had a notable amount of Italian technology at the first decade of our independence, including license-built Hansa-Brandenburg W.33 aeroplanes with Fiat engines, italian torpedo boat designs, 15TER trucks (all lost today) as well as a full fleet of 501 and 507 staff cars.

For some reason, it seems from here that vintage Fiats are also very popular in Australia, or atleast I have been able to find many parts easier and cheaper from Down Under than from Europe, I guess they survived better through the war there. Also, a younger australian enthusiast has kept an worthy video log on their 501 restoration in Youtube, see

I have the user's booklets for 501, 503 and 509 in several languages as well as a xerox copy of the 501 chassis parts catalogue. I wrote to Fiat Centro Storico in Turin and they were able to identify my Fiat with the chassis number as being built in september 1925 and delivered as a bare chassis. The archives were closed for some renovation a year ago, but before that I was informed that they still had copies of different factory body plans for 501 and 503, which could be acquired for a decent fee.

Sadly, not even their staff had a factory workshop manual but I have seen one book for 520 for sale and really hope that someone still can share a copy for any of the 501-503-505-507-519-520-521 models for scanning for the benefit of keeping these cars alive.

The Finnish National Archives has done important and major work by publishing a vast amount of old Finnish technical booklets for free in PDF format and luckily, there are also a beautiful collection of the Fiat Importer Walfrid Alfthán's advertisements and users guides for period Fiats such as the 501, 509 and 520.

These can be found at

If there are other similar sites, please share us the addresses!

I am not longer a member in Facebook because of their security issues, but I know that there is an Italian group for 501 that I also should make contact with. Still, I may just as well write here that if you have knowledge in vintage Fiats, you can reach me directly via ervelanasema "meow" gmail.

#5 Gerd-H.Schönewolf 2018-01-24 20:33
Hi,great finds,I have an original parts catalog for Fiat 505 and 509(including 509s)I´ll can offer plus I have a very nice 3,5ltr 6 Zylinder 512engine with transmission.Thumbs up!
#4 Yannai Tobi 2018-01-24 16:52
Hi, I might be able to help with the torque tube..
#3 Trond Thorbjørnsen 2018-01-24 15:49
I have some fiat 501 parts and can also help you with copy of parts catalog and drawings
Please send me an Email have been restoring 501 in more than 40 years living in Oslo Norway
#2 Harit trivedi 2018-01-24 14:08
Hello, at the moment we are restoring a Fiat Tipo 503 and a Tipo 509A both of around 1926. I would like to share photos. The story and request I will send to your office mail ID. But the photos? Regards
#1 Stuart Penketh 2018-01-24 05:46
I can't help with the Fiat, but I can say, Brilliant finds, Keep plugging away, and good luck !

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