The ladybug is a Fiat 500 Topolino from 1937, and it has been in dad’s garage for about 40 years now. In fact it is my mother’s car, but I wonder if he ever finishes it for her.
Forty years ago, mum did not have a driving license, which dad found very unpractical since they had three kids. One day on their way to the Isle of Moen, where they had their Summer cottage, dad stopped at a breaker to buy some spareparts (a roof rack for his Morris 8, named “Trille”, which translates to “rolling”, he had sold her to a friend). Mum saw the Fiat and thought it was sweet. Dad said: “If you get a driving license, I’ll give it to you!”. Mum said OK and dad went right in and bought it for what equals to 100 dollars including 10 dollars freight – 40 km to their cottage at Moen. Here it is in my grandparents’ garden (which is now mine):
Dad burned the paint off it in the garden:
But it was in a bad shape, so dad has got tired of its renovation several times during the past 40 years. It was also too small for three kids and something else was always more important, so it had to wait.
Topolino means ”little mouse” in Italian, but in Denmark it has always been called the ladybug. For many years dad wanted to paint it like a ladybug, red with big black spots and he even found antennas for it, but as we kids grow up he dropped the idea. It is a luxury model with four gears, most of the models only have three gears and no reverse gear. It must have been a fun sight when dear husband had to push it back then! The Topolino is not as rare a car as the other cars my family owns, you see it quite often in museums, and Simca made one very much alike it. Dad has built a Fiat 500B top-valved engine into it, as the normal side-valved isn’t very durable. Dad and my brother have made most of the steel plate work and they are not missing much. Dad had it approved by inviting the surveyor to his garage many years ago, he had made the frame in which there was a lot of rust, and he would not risk problems with the approval later. Here most of the family plays in its frame:
Yes, it’s me at the right, dad is sitting on it, grandpa stands at the left and my sister and brother smiles.
And here is dad working on the frame:
This is how it will look one day when it is finished:
I think dad has planned exactly this colour.
Mum got her driving license and has driven a lot of other cars since and one day dad gave her another very nice vintage car, but it is another story.
I’m sorry about the photo quality, it is 40 years old photos I’ve scanned, but you can click them to view larger versions.