Driveable Fiat Bambino Prop

Driveable Fiat Bambino

The 1991 production of "Rigoletto" required a Fiat Bambino prop to be driven on stage during the performance. Since the opera was set in Italy it also needed to be left hand drive and as light as possible.

 

An old right hand drive Fiat Bambino was located at a wrecking yard in Sydney and David Wilson set to work making it suitable for use in the production. The first task was to strip the car down to a body shell to get rid of all unneccessary weight. This involved removing the engine and drive train, the steering wheel column and all seating inside.

 

The car also needed functioning headlights and tail lights. The exisiting handbrake was retained so the back wheels could be locked.

 

Fiat Bambino propulsion

After the steering column was relocated to the left hand side of the car and the steering linkages modified accordingly attention moved to how to propel the car. David devised a hand operated crank mechanism which fitted snuggly into what was the boot cavity of the Fiat Bambino. The hand crank was connected via a reduction chain drive to one of the rear wheels. While one person drove the car another was hidden under a black cloth in the back of the car who turned the hand crank which propelled the car.

Converted to left hand drive
Left hand drive

One of the first things to do was convert the Fiat to left hand drive. The opera is set in Italy!

Hand crank drive system
Drive mechanism

A hand crank propelled the car via a chain drive to a back wheel.

Fiat Bambino
Fiat Bambino

A picture of the Fiat in he loading dock of the Opera House.