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Fiat car fan takes delivery of his 55th car at Thames Motor Group

David Franklin and his new red Fiat 500 Electric.

David Franklin, an 84-year-old car enthusiast, has taken delivery of his 55th Fiat – a Fiat 500 Electric Red Edition nearly 60 years after purchasing his first ever Fiat.

He has been purchasing almost of all his Fiats from Thames Motor Group in Slough, including his latest purchase.

Franklin’s relationship with Fiat started in 1962, having joined the marque as a progress chaser at Fiat’s UK based concessionaire in Wembley.

Within the year, he went onto buy his first Fiat, the Fiat 500D, setting him back £399 (£5,800 in today’s money).

Spending 12 years with the brand, progressing through the ranks as a car tester, technical representative, and technical office manager, he progressed to holding the role as operations manager for the Fiat 130 – the brands, then, flagship saloon.

Franklin added: “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.”

The Fiat 500 hatchback was Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle (EV) in April 2022, helping to propel Stellantis to top spot in the EV sales stakes.  

Franklin also was a budding racing car driver competing in off-road production car trials across the country. Between 1963 and 1967, he entered 31 events, placing first, 14 times, second, nine times and third, once.

He also met his wife, Michaela, born in Milan Italy, who moved to the UK in 1964, where she went onto work for Fiat.

He estimates that he’s covered 600,000 miles behind the wheel of a Fiat, he said: “Fiat never let me down, so I didn’t let them down.

“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.”

Franklin ranked the Fiat Multipla as his favourite, followed by the Fiat 850 Coupe and the Fiat 500 Electric.

Fiats owned by Franklin (by model)

  • 500
  • 127
  • 850
  • Uno
  • Uno Turbo
  • Croma
  • Multipla
  • Panda
  • Lancia Thema Turbo
  • 1300
  • 1500
  • 128
  • 850S
  • 850 Idroconvert
  • 850 Coupe
  • 124 Estate
  • 131 (2 door)
  • 131 (4 door)
  • 132 Argenta
  • 2300 Estate
  • Hot Uno 55S
  • 600
  • Marea
  • Tipo 16 Valve
  • Coupe Turbo 5 Cylinder
  • Lancia Dedra Turbo
  • Bravo
  • Coupe. 5 cylinder 
  • Punto
  • 500X
  • 500X Sport
  • 500 Electric (RED) Edition

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