I should probably clarify by saying that not all dreams are exciting ones, but that doesn’t make them dreams any less. This is Fiat’s 1968 City-Taxi prototype, and I’m not ashamed to say I adore it. I want to drive this rational, adorable little machine all the hell the over town, grinning like the sort of demented loon that would call a tiny taxi concept car a dream car.
The City-Taxi is based on the Fiat 850 platform, and retains that car’s fundamental running gear and engineering: a rear-mounted 843cc inline-four, putting about 40 horses to the back tires.
This taxi variant was designed by Pio Manzu, who would go on to design Fiat’s very successful 127. Manzu had a real knack for designing cars that somehow melded extreme utility with a sort of disarming friendliness, and I don’t think there’s a car that exemplifies this better than this little barely-remembered cab prototype.
The City-Taxi small, but with an unusually tall greenhouse; visibility looks like it would be phenomenal, and entry and exit are made especially easy thanks to the passenger-side sliding door. In this cab version, there’s no front passenger seat, just an area for luggage, but there’s also an opening rear-window hatch and a small (but I suspect usable) front trunk as well.
The face on this little guy just kills me: it’s incredibly simple, a pair of big round lights connected by a horizontal recessed band. It has the same basic structure as Baymax the robot’s face from Big Hero Six, and, like Baymax, it conveys the same sort of blankly eager and attentive expression.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but that wildly simple face somehow conveys the concept that this is a machine that’s watching you, waiting for a job to do, and once it has that job, it’s thrilled.
From these pictures, it looks like at least two versions were made; one with an offset FIAT badge and indicators mounted at the sides of the fender, and one with a central badge and indicators under the bumper, with tiny round marker lights. The latter one appears to have been made in white and an orange, too.
It looks like, based on what I think it says on one of these diagrams, that 15 of these were built. I suspect the offset-badged version is a bit later, as the indicator/marker light units are combined, the sort of cost-saving move you’d make on a second pass, and an offset logo is a slightly later Fiat design trait.
I’d love to have one of these with a front passenger seat, and use it as my go-to daily driver. It’s got to be great on gas, that sliding door would make getting my five-year-old in and out especially easy, and I can’t imagine having a bad day looking at this little orange scrapper and it’s clean, friendly face.
What’s wrong with me? Why do I love tiny-ass little workhorses like this so much?
I can’t help it. This is why no car-maker focus group will every give two shits about what I think: because this is the kind of car I’d be happy driving every day.
Oh well. I am what I am.