Earlier this year, actor Tom Hanks professed his love for the Fiat 126 by posting pictures of himself next to the tiny classic car on his official Twitter page. And, who can blame him? Manufactured for decades in Italy and in Poland, the 126 is one of the cutest cars Fiat has ever built in its long, illustrious history.
Unfortunately for Hanks, Fiat never sold the 126 in the United States — it was way, way too small. After seeing the Tweets, a 42-year-old Hanks fan named Monika Jaskolska set out to make his dream a reality by raising money to buy him a 126, having it resto-modded, and shipping it to the United States.
Luckily, the 126 isn’t terribly sought after in former USSR countries. Jaskolska found a turquoise example in need of work which she managed to get for free, and tuner Carlex Design offered to carry out the restoration. It looks almost stock at first glance, but a closer look reveals it’s decked out with numerous one-of-a-kind features.
Die-hard Hanks fans will know the The Circle star is an avid typewriter collector. Carlex Design caught wind of his hobby, so it installed switches and buttons that look like they come from a vintage typewriter on the 126’s dashboard. The entire dashboard was wrapped in green leather except for the instrument cluster bezel, which is upholstered in black leather. The two-tone look continues on the seats, while a white steering wheel adds contrast to the interior. If you’re into modified cars, this is the nicest 126 on the planet by a long shot.
The exterior is mostly stock, though it’s evidently no longer turquoise. Carlex added whitewall tires, painted the stock 12-inch steel wheels white instead of grey, and added custom emblems. One on the deck lid, right below the original 126p emblem, tells other motorists they’re not following a run-of-the-mill Fiat 126. It’s just as slow as the standard car, though.
It doesn’t sound like the restoration included any major mechanical modifications. If it’s fully stock, the 126p is powered by a 650 engine. No, not 650 horsepower like the McLaren 650S, or even 6.5-liter. We’re talking about a 652cc air-cooled two-cylinder mounted right behind the passenger compartment. It makes 24 horsepower at a screaming 4,000 rpm, which is enough for a zero-to-60-mph time of — wait for it — 48 seconds.
Hanks won’t have to fly to Poland to pick up his new car. Polish national airline LOT has offered to ship the car to his home free of charge. We suspect the United States customs won’t be as benevolent, though, and he’ll have to pay a value-based fee to get it released.
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