Of course there was the original Mini but over in Italy, where they are the kings of small cars and low-speed crashes, Fiat had created the 500. Again, if you have been stuck on an island with Tom Hanks for the last five years, that’s the one that looks a bit like Fiat’s latest small car.
This however was no bad thing, especially if your other car is a Porsche 911. The 126, like the 500, was rear-engined and rear-drive so traction was good, as was the possibility of going backwards into a hedge.
Get it right though and the 126 was an absolute hoot to drive, with handling you would never get bored of, in much the same way as you could never bore of telling people your car rolls with a ‘straight two’.
The engines ranged from 594cc to a heady 704cc and while performance was not something to shout about, who cares when you can tail slide at the kind of speeds where you run the risk of being overtaken by a pushbike?
You may not get it – and you won’t be alone – but a Fiat 126 on some cheeky Minilites in white is just working for the PH office this morning. Maybe it’s a Friday thing.
Autotrader ad reads: '1990 FIAT 126 BIS 3dr Hatchback, White, 704cc Petrol, Manual, Minilite Wheels, Tinted Windows, CD Player, Tax Aug 2009, Mot Feb 2010, good condition for year, a clean economical fun car £950.'