I HAD the pleasure of meeting a lovely old chap called David Franklin the other day.
Turns out he’s had a life-long love affair with all things Italian.
His wife Michela is Italian. She could teach Gino D’Acampo a thing or two in the kitchen.
He likes a cappuccino.
He likes a drop of Italian wine.
But the reason I’m featuring him on these pages today is because of his total dedication to Italian cars.
Regular workaday Fiats.
David has had FIFTY-FIVE of them since starting with a little red 500 in 1963, and he’s never bought anything else.
Now, just shy of 60 years later, he can still be found in a red 500, though it is now an all-electric one.
The retired machine tools boss insists he’s only ever had one breakdown – and that was when a valve spring went on his 850 Coupe in April 1966.
He’s driven all over Europe on family holidays and won countless off-road production car trials. All in a trusty Fiat.
David said: “They have given us a lot of happiness.”
Sounds like we need a top five . . .
‘I’ve enjoyed them all’
David said: “The most practical and useful was the Multipla. It was the ugliest but you could put six people in it. It was a great car.
“And it handled magnificently because it was very wide.
“The new 500e is another one. That’s great fun. I’m 84 and I love putting my foot down and whoosh, off it goes.
“Sometimes my glasses end up on the back seat. I’m sold on the idea of electric cars now. They just need to get the range a bit higher.
“The 850 Coupe was another good car. And the 850 Saloon. The back shelf was wide enough to put the carry cot on. (They use an 850 Saloon on TV’s First Dates Hotel.)
“The 16-valve Tipo was a good one too. That sounded good and went well. My son had a Uno Turbo.
“The truth is, I’ve enjoyed them all. They have all been fun to drive.
“I’ve already been to ask when there’s a bigger 500e coming out.”
I can answer that for you.
Fiat No56 sold to the Franklins.
- Random question: What’s David’s favourite pizza? He replied: “The quattro stagioni, the four-season pizza with everything on it.”