This Video Of A Man Delighted With His Fiat 126 Is Making Me Quite Happy

Illustration for article titled This Video Of A Man Delighted With His Fiat 126 Is Making Me Quite Happy
Screenshot: YouTube

I’ve always really liked the Fiat 126, Fiat’s “modernization” of the old 500 if you’re willing to accept that modernity just means swapping bubbly shapes for boxy shapes. I find them wildly appealing little cars, full of odd decisions and clever engineering and a certain kind of extremely budget-conscious charm that never fails to get me. This video by UK-based car-reviewer Mat Watson is a fairly straightforward video of a man just pleased with his car, and I think it’s great.

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Also interesting: it was published on my birthday! Maybe Mat knew I’d like watching him point out the weird heater controls and tortured trunk of the 126, and made this for me as a secret birthday gift, even though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know or give a rat’s ass about me?’

Anyway, here’s the video:

What I like is the level of detail he goes into, showing all the mundane bits that would have me enrapt were I to claw my way into the actual car. Stuff I so far have yet to have a chance to really poke around at, like, as I mentioned, the heater controls:

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Screenshot: YouTube
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...and a nice shot of the engine bay:

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Screenshot: YouTube

...and, of course, that absurd little trunk:

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Screenshot: YouTube
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Later versions of the 126, the 126 BIS, managed to make a viable rear hatch area by laying the engine on its side, and the amount of room freed up is really impressive:

Honestly, the transition from 126 to 126 BIS may be the most impressive opening-of-space in any car with the same body, ever. Maybe I should make that its own post? Forget I said it.

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Our buddy Mat also has a follow-up video, explaining why this tiny little Italo-Polish box makes such a fantastic London car:

Even if you don’t live in London, something many Americans can claim, it’s still a great little video to watch.

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Anyway, none of this is earthshaking, but I personally found these videos oddly soothing, and I suspect you might, too.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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DISCUSSION

rallydarkstrike
RallyDarkstrike - Fan of 2-cyl FIATs, Eastern Bloc & Kei cars

YAY! My favorite car! The BIS didn’t just lay the engine on it’s side, it was also water-cooled! The car in the video is either an early 126p FL or a later FL with 126p ST parts (like the chrome bumpers) added onto it.

During the transition from the 126p ST (the first-gen built in Poland) to the FL, a lot of earlier FL cars had mix and match parts to use up remaining ST part stockpiles, so it wasn’t uncommon to find an FL with the newer interior, but with ST seats....or ST bumpers, etc. Soon to be ex-Opponaut Borsuq has a 1998 FIAT 126p ELX and did an awesome write-up on it back in 2015...you might want to read it now before G/O kills Oppo off in a few days :(

He goes into a lot of excellent detail and history surrounding the Polish-built versions, take a read!

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/fiat-126p-town-a-detailed-oppo-review-1716895942

I’m hoping to import a 126p from Poland in the next year or two...parts are super affordable and they are really cheap because the Zloty’s exchange rate is low compared to the Canadian (my home) and US dollar - 1 CAD = 2.92 zloty right now! You can find pretty decent ones for like $2k!

(BTW, a sincere thanks for all you, Rory, David and all the other Jalop writers are doing to help stave off our inevitable Oppo demise....thank you Jason!)