Before the little rear-engine, air-cooled runabout that came to define Italy’s car culture for decades—the Fiat 500 “Nuova”—came onto the scene in the late 1950s, there was the Fiat 500 Topolino. This ~1951 Fiat 500C had a liquid-cooled 569cc inline-four mounted ahead of the front axle, and made only about 16 horsepower (like some other cars at the time, the radiator is actually aft of the engine!).
Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).