Amelia Island

8 March 2014

Lot 193

1938 Simca Cinq Cabriolet

Sold for $55,000

  • Chassis no. 020724


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.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

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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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

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

Vinnie Mandzak

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more