Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tears of a Clown & a Renown: 1964 Fiat Multipla and 1949 Triumph Renown

If there were automotive equivalents to zombies...these two walking dead would warrant a bullet through the brain to put them out of their misery.

Wow, this one is really sad. The Renown is an extremely rare example of pre-war "Razoredge" styling and craftsmanship in a post-war package. It is perhaps the highest quality and most elegant Triumph ever produced, using Connelly leather hides, Wilton wool carpets and real burlwood dash pieces over Smiths gauges. The body contruction, by Mulliners, was aluminum stretched over ash frame. Fit and finish when new was impeccable, and the car looked and acted the part of a 2/3 scale Rolls Royce.

This ad on Ebay claims it is one of three in the U.S., which is highly believable figure. More plentiful are the Mayflowers, a skewed and disproportionate evolution of the car that carries none of the charm of the original Renown/2000 line. Sadly I am at a loss as to what to do with what remains of this one. Its chassis and Standard 4 cylinder motor are gone, and the body has been heavily modified. The original frame is included but might just put the whole project past the tipping point of a viable restoration. The sellers suggestion that it make an inspired hot rod might be the best route left.

The Multipla was the official Fiat response to those who insisted on stuffing six adults into their standard Fiat 600 cars. Like all 600s, it was wonderfully functional... and like all Italians, wonderfully fashionable. The car was used in a Taxi variant throughout Italy-though admittedly at a 0-50 time of 45 seconds, it was not for getting anywhere in a hurry.

This particular car has been so molested that I feel the need to include a photo of a stock vehicle just to give reference. A few feet has been trimmed from the midsection of the floor, making this small car even smaller. Most American readers will instantly understand the perverse nature of the modifications herein, but for our international readers an explanation is in order:  The "Shriners" are a fraternal organization  who dress as clowns and drive ridiculous vehicles in parades to  raise awareness for their charitable efforts. This particular Fiat, formerly the property of Pere The Clown, offers a fairly unique vehicle at a No Reserve price. It looks a bit rusty underneath, and the engine will need some work- make that reassembly- but you'd surely have a unique specimen.

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