Fiat 126 Chat => Fiat 126 Chat => Topic started by: Pete126 on January 19, 2011, 02:54:37 AM

Title: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Pete126 on January 19, 2011, 02:54:37 AM
As this question keeps cropping up, I put this brief synopsis together for a magazine last year of what to look for when buying a 126.

The Fiat 126 introduced in 1972 was the replacement for the ageing fiat 500. Based on the same floor pan the boxy shape offered more cabin space and glass area. The vertical twin cyl engine was increased to 594cc for the new model which gave a slight increase in power and torque. subsequent models in the time line saw the engine capacity increase to 652cc then to 704cc for the Lancia designed horizontal twin water cooled engine fitted into the 126bis hatchback, although the last imported 126 seized in 1992 with the introduction of the all new fiat Cinquecento the 126 was still produced in Poland until the year 2000.

The Italian built 126's were prone to the rust bug as all Italian cars of that era, things improved when production was moved to Poland.
The general rust areas are the sills, floor pan especially just behind the front wheel arch, Jacking points, the bottom corners of the rear 1/4 panels, under the spare wheel storage area in the front boot, moving up the body the door bottoms, under and around the front and rear screens, on the Polish made cars the outer sills were under sealed, then paint colour sprayed on top, these need to be checked as they rust from the inside out, they look O.K. but could be thin.
 
Air-cooled 594cc 652cc and the water cooled 704cc are all basic 2 cylinder overhead valve units with manual adjustment on the tappets, points, condenser and coil. They are all typically noisy units compared to modern engines but are very willing, they pull and rev well for there size.
Things to look for on the air-cooled check for oil leaks at the bottom of the cylinder barrels and push rod tubes, both a/c and w/c. oil dripping from the bell housing could be a leaking rear crankshaft oil seal. Gaskets and oil seals parts are available at reasonable prices, and all can be replaced by a competent DIY Mechanic.
     
Gearbox 4-speed, synchromesh on 2,3,4 The only thing to remember is Never, Never select 1st gear until you are completely stationary there is no synchromesh on 1st and the gear can be stripped quite easy if misused. When buying check that all the gears engage smoothly, the gearboxes do whine but should not be over loud.

The suspension is a basic setup,
Front independent, transverse leaf, with upper wishbones.
Rear independent, semi-trailing arms, with coil springs
Air-cooled Wheels                    steel   4"x12"    Tyres 135SR12
Water-cooled Bis Wheels        steel   4"x13"    Tyres 135SR13
Drum brakes all round which are adequate for driving at city speeds.

Its hard to describe the Fiat 126, its full of character just as its predecessor the 500, but with more interior room, It puts a smile on your face with every journey, on the road they drive really well, all be it a little more noisier than a modern microcar and make a good cheap affordable starter into the world of classic car motoring that can be used on a daily basis to commute into the city, with the frugal petrol consumption 50mpg+ it is cheap to run, insurance is also very reasonable when put on a classic car policy.

All replacement parts, Body, Engine and Transmission are available from specialists in the U.K. and with the internet, buying spares from Europe is easy and usually cheaper.
In conclusion a classic that is creeping up in value and can be run every day with more smiles per mile.

As for buying, Buy the best you can afford unless you have garage facilities to restore, weld and spray.


If any other 126 owner would like to add more information Please do so on this thread
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: twolitreunoturbo on January 19, 2011, 09:12:03 AM
Just what i was after,
Cheers
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Draigflag on January 19, 2011, 08:21:53 PM
Thanks for that, nice little read!  [-/

Does anybody know the production figures per model? I understand 4.6 million were made (i think?) but how many of those were the BIS model? Is the BIS rarer?
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Darrell on January 19, 2011, 08:59:13 PM
50mpg + ???
Let me see proof, best I get is 43
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Pete126 on January 19, 2011, 09:44:34 PM
That the type of mileage you get with size 14 boots on :P for a standard engine mine averaged 52.3 miles to the gallon on the trip down from Yorkshire to Yoevil Somerset at a steady 55-60 MPH [-/

Between 1987-1992, their were 879500 126bis's produced in the FSM Factory.

The only problem with the 126Bis is headgasket failure, This is due to lack of maintenance of the cooling system, the thermostat housing being located at the bottom of the engine where it is prone to silt up with dirt and rust which stops the thermostat from opening fully. Its easy to solve by flushing the system out with a cleaner every 1 to 2 years also checking the thermostat at the same time
[-/
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Darrell on January 20, 2011, 09:27:37 AM
On a long trip yes. Shorter trips and around town which is kinda what the car was aimed for ....what you getting?  :P
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: smallcox on March 09, 2011, 05:30:28 PM
I agree with Darrell I could only get 45mpg if I drive the car like a woosss :(

But the later cars had less duration on the cam and higher Compression on the firing stroke so 50mpg is possible, The engine I run now if driven gentle will get 51mpg. [-/

Hey there manufacture quotes, and there still cooking the figures on new vehicles.

Just use it as a guide 8)

Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: GTMaster on March 09, 2011, 06:14:42 PM
For fuel consumption, my service manual says:

City driving: 7-8.5l/100km
Out of town driving, 70-80km/h average speed: 5.5-6l/100km
Motorway 80-90km/h average speed: 6-7l/100km

I get the best fuel consumption at an average speed of 75-80km/h but sometimes my right foot gets a bit heavy  :oops: Also the fuel consumption shot right up in winter from all the cold starting and driving around with the choke on on short trips (as with other cars in winter.)
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Amateb8 on March 13, 2011, 09:54:43 PM
"Between 1987-1992, their were 879500 126bis's produced in the FSO Factory".

I wonder how many of the above were sold in RHD to the UK?

Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Draigflag on March 14, 2011, 06:34:08 PM
Does this make them more "rare" and there fore (in the future) more collectible?  ;D
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Darrell on March 14, 2011, 09:53:00 PM
Just bought my dad a chevrolet matiz 1 litre 4 cyl model.

Seemed a wise choice for the old guy as over 70 he struggles to park etc etc, just seemed to fit the requirements.

They claim close to 60mpg....we struggle to get 50mpg

Around town it has done 28mpg

He drives so slow and carefully and gently so my fiat isnt looking too bad  [-/
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Draigflag on March 15, 2011, 06:35:33 PM
My old Panda Diesel used to get 82 MPG if i wanted it too. I miss that economy, lucky if i get 35 MPG in the Abarth. Havn't used a full tank in the 126 to work out the MPG yet  :oops:
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: mcbonio on March 18, 2011, 08:27:28 PM

Great little read.!
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: goombas on July 15, 2011, 07:48:56 PM
i will add rally consumption of my fiat is about 12 to 16 l/100km depends on the event characteristics
and one correction 126p and 126bis were made in FSM factory
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Pete126 on July 16, 2011, 05:42:42 PM
Hi Goombas, I Have changed the O to an M :thumbup
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: goombas on July 17, 2011, 01:56:04 PM
i might be funny for you but these were 2 different factorys, placed in totaly different locations... ;)
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on September 28, 2011, 12:24:48 PM
Thanks for that, nice little read!  [-/

Does anybody know the production figures per model? I understand 4.6 million were made (i think?) but how many of those were the BIS model? Is the BIS rarer?

Check this site to find which is the rarest. http://howmanyleft.co.uk/

Marc
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Amateb8 on February 25, 2012, 04:13:41 PM
I reckon a high percentage of the 274 126 Bis on SORN will never see the light of day.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on April 13, 2012, 06:45:15 PM
Did the BIS actually go sale in the uk in 1987? I can't find any rhd 1987 BIS. I know the aircooleds were supposedly produced from 1972, but didn't really go on sale until 1973.

Just found this (scroll down quite a way), it states the uk sales brochure was dated january 1988.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fiat-126-BIS-704cc-1987-92-UK-Market-Sales-Brochure-/180758397348#ht_500wt_922
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: amam on April 30, 2012, 09:33:18 PM
sorry reply from a newbie  :)

so do all 126 gearboxs only have synchromesh on 2nd,3rd and 4th?

bit like my reliant rebel im running atm, doesnt have syncro on 1st, just cant engage it while moving
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on April 30, 2012, 10:38:25 PM
Was tempted by a rebel a while back  :D. The BIS doesn't have synchromesh on first.

Marc
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Sciu on April 30, 2012, 10:40:04 PM
None of them have synchromesh on first or reverse  :D
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on April 30, 2012, 11:26:19 PM
So you can't put it in reverse when in motion either  :o !  :D
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Scratchski on June 17, 2012, 10:04:18 PM
Hey guys, this topic was kind of what I'm looking for but I'm also hoping for an idea of weak points to look out for when inspecting a car (certain areas commonly rusted through, any signs of common engine faults etc) Can anyone advise or point me in the right direction? If it helps I'm set on bringing in a 126p from Poland  8)

Sorry if this is staring me in the face on another thread, i had a look first, promise  ;D
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on June 17, 2012, 10:43:36 PM
Practical classics did a buyers guide a couple of years ago, don't know if anyone could scan it in. Think my scanner is dead. That is what I used to buy mine with.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Scratchski on June 17, 2012, 10:56:49 PM
That could be perfect, thanks

Can anybody oblige? Would be greatly appreciated  ;D
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on June 17, 2012, 11:09:07 PM
I have it still, just need to poke my scanner with a stick.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: gason on March 04, 2013, 10:56:14 PM
So do you have to de clutch for 234 , I cannot remember as have not driven one for 30 odd years , I have an 84 air cooled how do i know where it came from does anyone know
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on March 04, 2013, 11:08:31 PM
It's Polish, they stopped making them in Italy in 1979. I tend to double clutch throughout, don't know if it is needed on 2,3,4.

Marc
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: gason on March 04, 2013, 11:16:24 PM
Thanks got to get the tax first  ;D and fix the head lining which has dropped
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Hazey-n-Marc on March 04, 2013, 11:18:25 PM
The common fix for the headlining seems to be throw it away :D.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: 126partssupl on April 07, 2013, 07:17:41 PM
Any one know somethings about fiat 126 red on ebay caled bambino with ferari badge wird
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: kev126 on April 08, 2013, 08:14:59 AM
Check the eBay section of the forum  :P
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: fixit on April 08, 2013, 03:21:16 PM
you could aways remove then turn over and recover the headlining ;D ... If you watch American Hot Rod Gabbe does all sorts of interiors, I liked the one he did on the peddle car (edit just realised there was no headlining on that car lol but the door card method should work)
(new ones range from around 46euro cough cough not sure about the postage)
that would fixit
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: pyrrhic on November 27, 2013, 02:35:32 PM
The Polish apparently just glue the headliner back on once it drops. This video is all in Polish but still worth a watch:

Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: andyzeetec on May 10, 2014, 05:30:35 PM
Thanks for that, nice little read!  [-/

Does anybody know the production figures per model? I understand 4.6 million were made (i think?) but how many of those were the BIS model? Is the BIS rarer?

Check this site to find which is the rarest. http://howmanyleft.co.uk/

Marc

Interesting site, 2013 Quarter 4 for uk BIS was..

Licenced:99
SORN:321
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: poxxxy on July 08, 2014, 09:54:55 AM
2014 Q1 for BIS:

On road: 83
Sorn: 322

So either some aren't sorn or on the road.. or totally scrapped :(. How sad. lol.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: kitten on July 24, 2014, 12:14:59 AM
I get 75+ in my mk2 reliant robin
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: 1977Personal on May 10, 2015, 09:19:19 PM
Evening All,

Has anyone heard about any 126 Personal for sale?
I found one in Italy and one in Portugal but these all LHD...
I have LHD but struggle to find RHD Personal.
BTW does anyone know what would be estimated cost of RHD?

Many thanks,

M
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: 1977Personal on May 23, 2015, 09:22:21 PM
Hi All,

Does anyone has any information about Fiat 126 TA (tetto apribile), e.g. how many were manufactured, if there are any left and what would be the cost of it. Friend of mine have found one (RHD) and he is considering to buy it. Any help would be highly appreciated.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: jkwinning on October 25, 2015, 01:33:08 PM
The only downside is the insurance if you're a young driver
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Frigorius on March 20, 2016, 01:10:51 PM
As I have ascertained myself, I think the buyers guide should say: don't buy a water cooled one.

I have a water cooled BIS from 1989, and it costs a serious amount of money to keep it on the road, because I had to change about everything inside the engine area (except the engine itself).
The car had been on a field for 14 years when I decided to buy it, so I guess that also has something to do with it.

Are there other water cooled drivers who can contradict or confirm if the water cooled is really worse then the air cooled?
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: mintex on March 20, 2016, 08:16:55 PM
We have a bis and ive not had any problems, its been very reliable for the last 12 months we've owned it
Only money ive spent is on things like a rev counter and converting it to electronic ignition, oh and i put new engine mounts on  :)
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Pete126 on March 20, 2016, 10:27:36 PM
As I have ascertained myself, I think the buyers guide should say: don't buy a water cooled one.

I have a water cooled BIS from 1989, and it costs a serious amount of money to keep it on the road, because I had to change about everything inside the engine area (except the engine itself).
The car had been on a field for 14 years when I decided to buy it, so I guess that also has something to do with it.

Are there other water cooled drivers who can contradict or confirm if the water cooled is really worse then the air cooled?

You can't expect any vehicle that has been stood outside for 14 years to have no faults even the air cooled engine would need to be stripped down and refurbished to make it reliable
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Frigorius on March 21, 2016, 10:26:53 AM

You can't expect any vehicle that has been stood outside for 14 years to have no faults even the air cooled engine would need to be stripped down and refurbished to make it reliable

That's good reasoning. But still I hear from my suppliers the BIS is more "faulty" than the others. I have to admit that it starts to be more reliable now I've done all the costs to the engine, but I only drive when it's dry weather and she's sleeping inside, so I'm not sure what she would do if she stays outside. An old car needs to be comforted off course
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Xylaquin on March 21, 2016, 12:46:00 PM
Perhaps it's a case of the BIS has more things to go wrong, rather than more faulty in general. Although that pretty much means the same thing really.

It doesn't help that the BIS is rarer; it had a run of 5 years in a single type of car, whereas the aircooled had 27 years and was used in the 500 too.
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: Da Londo on April 24, 2016, 09:54:18 AM
Is it just me or did the buyers guide go a bit off topic?
Title: Re: 126 Buyers Guide
Post by: 5816nick on April 19, 2019, 10:20:10 AM
Hi, I'm after a bit of advise....

I have rescued AN earlier aircooled UK Fiat 126A - it is in very good condition  and won't want much work to put it back on the road, it is from a deceased estate and unfortunately there is No log book and the registration plates have been removed however The chassis plate is still attached.

it is chassis number 4584252

How do i work out what year it is?

I want to get it back on the road As soon as possible but would need to find out the registration number to apply for a UK logbook

Can the DVLA give the registration number from the chassis number supplied, or am i going to need a bit of help from you guys and obtain a letter stating the year of manufacture and trying to get an age related plate?

Thanks Guys! Any help would be greatly appreciated!