Jayaram and his sons patiently sourced one part after another to give their Fiat Millecento a fine makeover

In the 1950s, the Fiat 1100/103 was subjected to a series of changes and re-launches. Despite the redesigning frenzy, the models were not radically different in their core design. Yet each variant has special features which attract serious collectors, who generally have preferences for one model over another. Knowledgeable collectors, Jayaram (in picture) and his sons Srikumar and Jaikumar love the Millecento more than any other 1100.

“In contrast to any other car in the 1100 family, the Millecento supports the spare wheel on an L-shaped bracket in the boot. The upper and lower portions of a taillight are uniformly red. In the Elegant, the upper portion is orange and the lower, red. We also loved the triple slat grille and the dashboard which sported a Millecento badge,” says Jaikumar. “We resisted offers of Selects and Super Selects for Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000 and waited for a Millecento.”

They found their car in Puducherry; but the 1956 Millecento displayed signs of capricious maintenance.

“A square lattice Super-Select grille had taken the place of the triple slat grille. The dashboard was studded with Ambassador Mark IV meters. The knobs on the dashboard were not Millecento's. All lights, on the front and back, had been replaced.”

Patiently, the men sourced one Millecento part after another. “Millecento knobs are of ivory colour. We sourced from eBay knobs that come close to the original.”

From paint to upholstery, the Millecento underwent a thorough change.

When Jaikumar and Srikumar went to Puducherry recently on a rally, the mechanic who had sold the car to them was stuck with disbelief. “He took our permission to take the Millecento and show it to his friends.”

They consider this the best compliment they have ever received.