A former Fiat employee has shown his dedication to the Italian brand after taking delivery of his 55th example.
David Franklin kickstarted his passion for Fiats when he purchased his first model in 1962 – a red, rear-engined 500D that incorporated forward-opening doors. Bought for £399 (around £5,800 today), David took ownership of the car while working as a Progress Chaser at Fiat’s first UK-based concession in Wembley.
During his time with Fiat, David progressed through the ranks, becoming Operations Manager for Fiat’s then-flagship 130 saloon, which was powered by a 3,200cc V6 engine. David also took a keen interest in racing throughout his period at Fiat, too, taking part in off-road production car trials across the country. Between 1963 and 1967, he entered 31 events and placed first fourteen times.
However, David puts meeting the love of his life Michela above all of his other achievements. Michela moved from Milan, Italy, to the UK in 1964 where she went onto work for Fiat. The pair married in September 1966 in a village overlooking Lake Como, with a Fiat 2300 Estate acting as their wedding car.
David said: “Having driven Fiat’s consistently for nearly 60 years, it is very hard to say just how many miles both myself and my family have covered in a Fiat. However, up until Covid, myself and Michela would drive to Italy at least once every year, sometimes twice when the kids were younger.
“That’s before you take into account all the miles I’d have travelled for business and competing in motoring competitions!”
Now, aged 84, David has taken delivery of a new 500 (RED) Edition. However, unlike his other vehicles, this new model is electric. “The electric 500 is like all Fiats, great fun to drive. It’s very quiet, handles incredibly well and is very quick off the mark – sometimes my glasses end up on the back seat!”, he said.