Meet the winner of our Awesome Autumn Tophy
A little Fiat 500 which has been in the same family for nearly sixty years has won a prestigious classic car trophy at the Lakeland Motor Museum in Cumbria.
The 1959 Fiat 500 Nuova was awarded the prestigious Awesome Autumn Trophy at the museum’s Classic Drive and Ride in Day. During its life it has spent 41 years in storage.
It belongs to Blair Williamson from Ulverston and was first bought by his father back in 1967 for his mother to learn to drive in.
“She failed her test and lost her confidence,” explains Blair: “After that, she never took another one. So my father decided to use the car for a few years.”
When Blair turned seventeen, he learned to drive in it and passed his test in 1970. In 1971 he bought the Fiat from his father and used it for his 50 mile daily commute.
But by 1977 Blair’s head had been turned by a Lotus 7 and he parked the Fiat 500 up.
“I went from having one of the slowest accelerating cars to one of the fastest!” he says.
The Fiat remained in storage for the next 41 years! For most of that time it was kept in a barn in Ulverston.
In 2018 Blair decided to get it out of the barn. “My intention was to sell it. But I soon realised I was too attached to it and just couldn’t!”
Instead, he decided to gently recommission it.
“I did some repairs to the brakes and steering and have enjoyed driving it and taking it to shows ever since. I was very surprised to see it awarded the trophy – it was the tattiest car there! But I’m very pleased - it’s a very special little car.”
Awarding the Awesome Autumn Trophy, Curator at the Lakeland Motor Museum Chris Lowe says: “Blair’s car just makes me smile!
“That is both because of its design and the fact he has no intention of restoring it fully. He simply enjoys showing off the well-used little vehicle that has been in his family for 56 years.”
The hand-crafted Awesome Autumn trophy is made from a 1960s steering wheel produced by racing driver and motorsport pundit Les Leston’s company. It’s supported by a BSA spanner which has been bent to create the stand and rests on a plinth created from an original ‘Wright’ registration plate.
This year’s autumn Classic Drive and Ride in Day at the museum saw a special display area for owners of Morris “Moggie” Minors who were invited to bring their cars along to mark the 75th anniversary of the much loved British classic.
Some of the many Morris Minors that gathered at the Lakeland Motor Museum to mark 75 years of the classic model
October marks 75 years since the famous little car made its debut at the Earls Court Motor Show in London in 1948.
Chris Lowe says: “It was lovely to see so many Morris Minors gather at the event. It is a nostalgic symbol of British motoring heritage and there is an enduring affection for them. You could see that reflected in the attention they received from visitors to the Classic Drive and Ride in Day.”
* Photo of colourful Fiat 500 Neuvos used from Wikimedia under creative commons licence