Fiat Fanatic Makes It 55

Tue 30th Aug 2022

A man aged 84 has just acquired his 55th Fiat, making him possibly the world's most committed purchaser of the Italian brand.

David Franklin from Buckinghamshire developed his lifelong affection for the brand in 1963, when he bought his first Fiat, a red, rear-wheel 500 D with front-opening doors.

His latest purchase is the New 500 (RED) Edition, Fiat's first electric vehicle.

In 1962, David became a Progress Chaser at Fiat's first UK-based concessionaire in Wembley, where he bought his first Fiat car, a legendary Fiat 500D for £399 (£5,800 in current money). 

Throughout his 12 years with the company, David experienced advancement as a Car Test Specialist, Technical Representative, and Technical Office Manager, his greatest professional accomplishment was Operating Manager of the Fiat 130, the firm's flagship sedan, which had a 6-cylinder 3200cc engine.

David also drove production cars on off-road courses during his time with the Italian marque, placing first 14 times, second nine times, and third once among 31 events.

Nothing matters more to Marco than the love of his life, Michela, or the years he spent racing for Fiat.

Having worked for Fiat in Italy prior to moving to the UK in 1964, Michela immediately fell in love with Fiat once again when she saw David driving one (which he still does).

David and Michela were married in September 1966 in the scenic village of Bellagio overlooking Lake Como. The first Fiat automatic-transmission vehicle, a 1960 Fiat 2300 Estate, transported David, Michela, and his parents from England to Italy for their wedding day and served as their wedding car. In 1974, David went to work for the family firm, but his loyalty to Fiat remained such that a Fiat was always in the garage.

“Fiat never let me down, so I didn’t let them down,” David said of his obsession.

“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!”

Speaking about his latest purchase, a 500 (RED) Edition EV, David said: “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!

“I am sold on the idea of electric cars now.”