The Fiat Balilla

Introduced in 1932 the 508 was named the Balilla after the fascist youth organization popular at the time. Built along the same lines as Henry Ford’s Model T and the Citroen Type A from France, the Balilla was a rugged, reliable sedan suitable for city driving or for family outings in the country. It had a 995 cc engine that put out 25 horsepower in its standard version. Fiat also issued a sports model with a 36 horsepower motor.

In keeping with the common European practice of the day, manufacturers all over the continent built the Balilla under license from Fiat including [VAUTER] in Czechoslovakia, [SIMCA] in France and the German company that would eventually become part of Audi, NSU. But Fiat knew there was a huge potential market in Italy that had so far not even been touched: the demand for a small, cheap car. By the 1920’s no car company had given much thought to the need for a small car with the possible exception of Andre Citroen and his Petite Citroen.

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