This charming 1937 Fiat 500 Topolino or ‘Little Mouse’ consigned by David Mitchell, a 92-year-old classic car enthusiast from Lewes, East Sussex sold for £19,550, three times its estimate, at the latest H&H Classics sale on July 22.
The little car is just like the one which featured strongly in that superb 1953 film ‘Roman Holiday’ with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It was estimated to sell for £5,000 to £7,000 but after some fierce bidding made £19,550.
“The sight of a six foot plus Gregory Peck endeavouring to get into the back of a Topolino was a great sequence,” says John Markey of H&H Classics.
In the film, Audrey Hepburn is a bored and sheltered princess who escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman, Gregory Peck in Rome. The little Fiat adds greatly to the charm of this story.
The Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1936, three models were produced until 1955. It was equipped with a 569cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, later an overhead valve motor.
Owners frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominal two-seater car, and in later models, the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs. With horsepower of about 13 bhp, its top speed was around 53 mph (85 km/h), and it could achieve about 47.1 mpg. Nearly 520,000 were sold.
1965 Alvis TE21 Drophead Coupe sold for £51,750.
This superb car is one of only 18 automatic examples known to have survived worldwide. It sold for £51,750.
It was illustrated in Kenneth Day’s definitive work ‘Alvis, The Story of the Red Triangle’ and in ‘The Complete Encyclopaedia of Sports Cars Classic Era’ by Rob de la Rive Box.
It had had new sills, rear springs, leather upholstery, hood bag fitted by the previous owner who also had the car rolling road tuned and given halogen headlights.
It came from a collection of four cars owned by Louis Gendebien In Belgium, a cousin of Olivier Gendebien who drove for Ferrari in the late fifties early sixties and was brilliant in Sports Ferrari’s.
Former British race driver, John Markey of H&H Classics, who sourced the four car consignment from Belgium said: “By happy coincidence when Olivier won Le Mans in 1958 I was standing over his pit at La Sarthe.”
“His cousin, Louis whose collection this was has written a book about his illustrious cousin. His decision to sell through H&H Classics is once more an indication of the international appeal of H&H Classics.”
1991 Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6 sold for £24,150
This Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6 is the most original and best-preserved 1.6 GTi H&H Classics have encountered. It sold for £24,150.
Supplied new by Dixon Motor Holdings Ltd of Morecambe to Mr Waterhouse on 2nd January 1991, this exceptionally original 205 1.6 GTi has covered just 49,800 miles. Self-evidently cherished over the past twenty-nine years, with paperwork on file to substantiate the mileage, it comes with an assortment of MOT certificates (dating back to 1994 at 14,569 miles) and stamps in its original service book up to 48,587 miles. Entrusted to Colehill Garage of Wimborne in more recent years, accompanying bills from them describe ‘H142 XEC’ as ‘probably the best 205 GTi 1.6 in Dorset’ and encompass one issued on 2nd July 2015 for £2,359.72.