Amelia Island

8 March 2014


Lot 193

1938 Simca Cinq Cabriolet

  • Chassis no. 020724

Sold for $55,000

13 bhp (5 CV), 569 cc L-head inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with a transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 78.7 in.

  • Rare French version of the Fiat Topolino
  • High-quality restoration
  • Cute as a button and ready to go

In 1937, Fiat introduced a new 500 model, so designated from its metric engine displacement. Soon, however, it acquired the nickname “Topolino” (little mouse in Italian), for its exposed headlights that resembled mouse ears. At the time, it was one of the smallest cars in the world.

It was designed by brilliant engineer Dante Giacosa and was introduced with advanced features, which included independent front suspension via a transverse leaf spring and quarter-elliptic leaf springs with torque arms in the rear, hydraulically actuated drum brakes on all four wheels, and a 12-volt electrical system. Many of these features were not even found on some larger and more prestigious cars of the era.

Promotional materials boasted the Topolino’s top speed as 53 mph, from just 13 horsepower, and a fuel economy of 40 mpg, making it a truly remarkable design for its time.

The engine featured a two-main-bearing, four-cylinder engine, and fuel was fed to it by gravity, from a tank on the firewall, while power was transmitted by a four-speed transmission. At a price of about $100, it was also a real bargain.

It didn’t take long for the French to notice. Henri-Théodore Pigozzi, the Fiat distributor in France, had formed Société Industrielle de Méchanique et Carrosserie Automobile, abbreviated to Simca, at Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris, in 1934. Initially, he built some Fiat Billillas, badged as Simca-Fiat 6 CV (with “CV” standing for chevaux, the French formula for horsepower), and a few 11 CV cars. When the Topolino appeared, Pigozzi wasted no time putting it into production as the Simca Cinq (for 5 CV, its horsepower rating).

Like the Topolino, the Cinq was available as both a two-passenger coupe and a cabriolet with a slide-back roof. This Cabriolet was discovered by the current owner after an exhaustive, 15-year search for an original specification Topolino. Many of the Topolinos that reached the United States suffered from the removal of their bodies for use on dragsters, making unmolested examples very rare. This car, found in Holland, sports French-specification yellow headlights and cloth-trimmed seats, as well as other Gallic touches, including semaphore turn signals and full bumpers, which do not appear on basic Italian 500s. Conventional directional signals have since been unobtrusively fitted for safety in modern traffic.

This car, comprehensively restored in Europe, presents beautifully in its garnet over black paintwork. It will provide its owner with a unique driving experience, and it is sure to elicit many smiles wherever it is seen.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more