Erica Hyman interviews Jeff Lane and Christine O'Neill from the Lane Motor Museum about their 1970 Fiat Giannini Camioncino, based on the Fiat 500K Giardiniera (wagon), hauling a very unique 1936 Le Carabe. Jeff and Christine brought these to the Grand Motoring Hanger Night & Film Festival .
In 2002, Jeff Lane established Lane Motor Museum. Jeff has been an automotive enthusiast since an early age. He began restoring his first car—a 1955 MG TF—when he was a teen. His personal collection was the donation that began the foundation.
Lane Motor Museum unveiled its collection to the public in October of 2003. As director, Jeff Lane continues to search out cars for the collection that are technically significant or uniquely different. The goal of Lane Motor Museum is to share in the mission of collection and preserving automotive history for future generations.
1970 Fiat Giannini Camioncino Replica
A testament to the adaptability of the Fiat 500 platform, this apparently homebuilt homage to coachbuilder Giannini’s Camioncino (translation: pickup truck) is itself based on the Fiat 500K Giardiniera (wagon). As in the Giardiniera, the rear mounted, air-cooled engine is laid down under the bed to allow for aflat load floor.
Many of Giannini’s trucks were put into service as city service vehicles throughout Italy. Original Camioncinos had slatted sides surrounding the bed to maximize cargo capacity. Our replica has a snap-on cover to conceal the up to 400kg (880 pound) payload.
1936 Le Carabe Replica
Little is known about French inventor Hippolyte Delimal. But in 1936 he attempted to create the world's smallest car, which reached a speed of 24 mph and touted fuel economy of 118 mpg. He affectionately named it Le Carabe, or the “Ground Beetle”.
His vision and enthusiasm could be seen in a completely intact, hand-written, hand-drawn, 63 page manuscript he left behind. The found booklet details his trials and tribulations of building the car. Most remarkably, it contains detailed instructions, complete with dimensional schematics that rival anything out of Popular Mechanics from years past. This is fitting because, according to this arduous account, Delimal stated what he wanted most was for the everyday person to build and drive his Le Carabe. In neat penmanship, he wrote the vehicle was, “…designed specifically for amateur construction. No special tools or machines.”
In materials alone, Le Crarabe could be built for around 450 Francs (about 4% the cost of a new car at the time). He repurposed a Motobécane 175cc single cylinder two-stroke engine of the time and coupled it with a light wooden body. “Plywood is the sheetmetal of the carpenter.
The body should be light and very strong.” For steering, he fitted old bicycle handlebars and a telescopic fork. He also reused bicycle sprockets and rear hubs, motorcycle drum brakes, and he even suggests filling the empty space of the body sides with cotton to keep the feet warm during the cold winter.
Some of the stories, pictures and articles that we have been included in over the years.