Fiat 126 BSI by FSM: Ciao, ciao, Bambino

Hardy Mutschler
Fiat 126 BSI by FSM
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The Poles call him Maluch. That means dwarf and is meant lovingly, in no way despicable. The F iat 126 still a few years after the fall of the Iron Curtain as a popular automobile that was happy to travel, before Western used cars and new Koreans from Gdansk to Bialystok finally established themselves.

Fiat 126 inevitably played the role of pity

The pastel colored Fiat 126 p with a black license plate, who explored German motorways with fully loaded roof racks and fought loudly and belligerently with columns of trucks at 80 km /h. A Maluch, that was mobility come true for many - a Polish Trabant, automotive modesty that was content with seven liters of normal gasoline at full load. The air-cooled parallel twin screamed its 23 hp full of joie de vivre from the aluminum crankcase. God knows he was not a comfortable four-seater, with lifestyle he had nothing at all on the self-made roof rack. That was a matter for its predecessor, the cute Fiat 500. But its oh-is-the-sweet image remained with the objectively drawn Fiat 126 denied for a long time.

Here in the country he dutifully took trauma to new drivers and helped older, single women across the street and with them Shopping - that's why it was far from cult. Even later, when he called himself affable and sympathetic Bambino, he didn't quite succeed. The Fiat 126 inevitably played the role of pity in road traffic that the DAF had long played. It was a car for marginalized groups that, in its most extreme form, a stone winter Fiat 126 with a two-stroke Goggo engine, made the old driver's license 4 owners mobile.

That was the day before yesterday. In the meantime, the Fiat 126 has finally made the transition from a small car to a cult car and is hot on the heels of its bigger brother Panda, the great box. Melanie, the attractive lady we accompany shopping in Schwabing in the bright red Fiat 126 BIS, is happy to get in. She takes a long-legged seat in the narrow bucket seat and is happy about the relaxed posture behind thecute two-spoke flounce. It feels a little like liquorice.

'BIS' means water cooling, large tailgate and folding seats

“As a cult small car, only the mini counts. Every woman loves him. But the Fiat 126 is an exciting discovery for me, after all, you sit much better than in the gnarled Brit with his bus steering wheel, 'she registers with a connoisseur's face.

The Fiat 126 BIS in Rosso Corsa is over 20 Years old, but looks as new as a demonstration car. Norbert Färber, an established and very personable used car dealer from Munich with a great preference for small cars, bought it firsthand from an old lady. Now, with a heavy heart, he is calling out 3,700 euros for the cart because his petting zoo is bursting at the seams. The large speedometer Cyclops, as if milled from a plastic block, shows almost 13,000 kilometers, which, in addition to an unexpected number of indicator lights for this car class, also houses a fuel gauge and water thermometer.

Yes, actually water - the Fiat 126 BIS uses it as a coolant to run quieter and get two to three more horsepower out. But BIS does not only stand for water cooling, which makes the temperature of the engine more balanced. BIS also means a relaxed underfloor arrangement, which enables a finite-sized rear hatch with foldable seats. That is enough for Melanie to put all her favorite pairs from the Schwabing shoe salons into the Bambino. BIS is not a cryptic technical abbreviation. It shows the Polish production facility Bielsko Biala Tychy in a rather banal way. Because we're at it, we're also dissolving FSM at the same time: It's called Fabryka Samochodow Malolitrazowyck, which roughly translates as a factory for the production of small automobiles.

As with the Fiat 500: first gear of the Fiat 126 transmission is unsynchronized

Weasel-nimble Melanie waves the red Maluch through the densely packed Schwabing. Only those who frequently change lanes can really make progress and survive the fight in the street jungle. At lunchtime all hell breaks loose between Elisabethplatz, Kurfürstenplatz and Hohenzollernplatz. The Fiat 126 makes up for a lack of power with the short geared lower gears. As has been the case for years in the Fiat 500, the first is not synchronized even with the refined BISquit tart. That irritates Melanie at first, then the singing four-speed transmission bares its teeth with a brief growl. After a short exercise, a small portion of double-declutching helps her to quickly shift into first gear when she rolls after a blue MVV bus that is just pulling into a stop.

Then she pulls by, smiling in the Fiat 126, comes even to 60 km /h in the third, before it brings the brake-lit line to a stop behind the next red light. “The brakes could be better, more poisonous,” she sayswith the serious expression of a car tester, 'and the engine is much quieter'. Because she likes to listen to music while driving. In addition, the Bambino could hang better on the gas, but it is inhibited by the large centrifugal mass.

Timeless, harmonious Bertone design

Melanie laughs. She has a lot of driving fun with the small Fiat 126, wants to show it to the big ones - like the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, which rolls very leisurely out of the parking space and turns into Ainmillerstraße almost in slow motion. Zack and casually over, the Rolls shown the cooling air slots. She is more happy about the car than about her blue 10 cm Sergio Rossis, last season, which has just been bought on Elisabethstraße, for 149 instead of 398 euros. She loves the triangular windows, it gets warm in the car.

Melanie systematically combs the countless colorful back streets of Schwabing for the first time, finds the many shoe salons, collector's shops and design shops extremely invigorating - this exciting mixture from trendy bistros, trash temples, junk stores, opulent antique palaces and, above all, unusual, stylish boutiques. “It seems to me like a big boiling trend laboratory. This is where a cult emerges that is elsewhere six months later. ”

The Fiat 126 is also well received by passers-by and shopkeepers who see it parked in front of the shop window. The two Turks from the vegetable shop even want to give her the fruit. “Is that a new little city car?” Asks one of the neatly uniformed waitresses from the Chokoin, the chocolate gallery on Nordendstrasse, when she brings her the cappuccino outside. Proof of the timeless, harmonious design of the Fiat 126, which came out in 1972 and whose lines are inspired by Bertone. In smart-ruled Schwabing, it is a welcome change in the street scene.

The Pussy DeLuxe Store, a super weird pink-punk-rockabilly store on Herzogstrasse, with the slogan: “The fashion cat purrs”, is one last ultimate must for Melanie. Then let's get out of the Schwabing Traffic Jam into the four-lane Munich Freedom of the Middle Ring. The Maluch likes to finally drive in fourth gear. Here he can show what he's capable of, in the 60s zone the Fiat 126 is the king of lanes.


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