Fiat Topolino

Qualified at: Meguiar’s MotorEx

ROD Hadfield is a legend in the Australian car community and his latest build is yet another brain-melting block-buster. Based on a rare 1936-1949 Fiat Topolino hardtop, the diminutive French coupe, Rod has built it with a strong American LeFrance firetruck theme.

The beginnings of the project required a trip to the US, to track down the heart of FIRE CHIEF; a gorgeous-looking, LeFrance V12 firetruck engine. Another, hard-to-find, must-have feature of FIRE CHIF is those original 1960’s, 15×16 magnesium Halibrand wheels – true collector’s items.

“I’ve never seen a LeFrance V12’s in a hot rod or car anywhere in the world,” says Rod.

And he should know, he built the world famous ATTACK, a ’55 Chev powered by a 3000hp, supercharged V12 Merlin out of a Spitfire fighter plane.

The LeFrance was very advanced for their day, it’s fitted with twin dizzys, twin plugs and can run on six or 12 cylinders. Rod personally travelled had to the LeFrance reconditioning section to source the engine – they specifically pulled it out of vintage firetruck for Rod.

At 527ci the LeFrance V12 is pretty big and shoehorning it into the Topolino required adding 14-inches into the body and the fabrication of a custom chassis. Handling all that torque is a bullet-proof ZF six-speed-double-overdrive manual and a very narrow nine-inch with 4.7:1 gears.

FIRE CHIEF is littered with interesting pieces, such as German helmet air cleaners, five in-line Stromberg 97s bolted to custom manifold made from a specially-imported tubing, down to how engine coolant is added in through a genuine LeFrance fire extinguisher. To add that finishing touch to the old American fire truck theme, Rod commissioned HOK to mix him the redest red possible.

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