During a recent visit to Paris I stumbled across three Italian superminis. They were all parked within a block of each other, and judging by their state, I would suspect that they belong to the same person. While it would have been fitting if they had been green, white and red, like the Italian flag, they were instead flying the colours of France, blue, white and red.
These three little warriors had seen better days. Looking like cast-offs from the movie 'Cars', they were all suffering from varying states of corrosion damage, and a general lack of TLC. There were holes in the bodies that one could stick their fingers through, and more than once piece of tape was visible, which is never an encouraging sign on an old car.
The blue and red cars were nearly identical models, the blue one badged as an Autobianchi A112, and the red one a Lancia Autobianchi A112. In total, over 1,250,000 units of these cars were produced, from 1969 to 1985. It was Fiat's response to the Mini, and was considered a big success as a step up in size from their tiny 500. It was notable in that 80% of the volume was used for passenger space and the remaining 20% for the engine, whereas many cars of the era had closer to a 60 / 40 split.
The white car was also a Fiat, this one the legendary 126. An incredible 5,600,000 units would roll off multiple assembly lines between 1972 and 2000. The 126 would eventually replace the 500 on which it was based, and while it had big little shoes to fill, it became a legend in its own right. Countless variations and versions of this car were produced, including succesful rally models.
I don't know if these cars are driven anymore, but I like to hope that they are fired up occasionally to take a drive around the block, perhaps down to the Italian quarter of Paris to get back to their roots.