Vernon’s favourite car was the Fiat 1400. The car was bought by his father, Reverend Canon Ivan Corea. Vernon used the car to travel to Badulla in the 1950s when he taught at Uva College. It is also the car he used after his marriage to Monica de Silva who was a teacher at Uva College.
The Fiat 1400 was with the family right up to 1969 when one night Vernon and his family were involved in a near tragic accident on the Balapokuna Road – Colombo was under curfew and Vernon and his family were at a dinner – they were travelling back to Maha Nuge Gardens when the car went into a deep ditch breaking into two. It was a miracle but the family survived the accident – there were news reports from the 1960s saying that so many people had been killed as result of that ditch down the Balapokuna Road in Kirulapona, Colombo-5. Vernon and his family were the only family to survive a crash.
During the annual Royal-Thomian match Vernon travelled around Colombo with his children with both Royal and Thomian flags on the Fiat 1400. But of course Vernon was an Old Royalist, so the flag that took pride of place on the bonnet of the Fiat 1400 was a huge Royal flag.
Here are some rare films of the beautiful Fiat 1400 on youtube:
A History of the Fiat 1400:
The Fiat 1400 is a model of car produced by Italian automotive manufacturer Fiat between 1950 and 1958. The car was introduced in 1950 Geneva Motor Show. It was the first chassisless Fiat automobile. In 1953 the introduction of a diesel version with a 1900 cc engine marked another Fiat first, although the diesel version was known as the 1400 Diesel.
Also in 1953 the Fiat 1400 became the first model to be produced by SEAT in Spain.
Possibly the 1.9 litre diesel engined version was branded as a 1400 in order to avoid confusion with the petrol engined Fiat 1900 which announced in April 1954, when the entire range received a facelift. The petrol engined Fiat 1900 A now offered a claimed 70 bhp. It also featured a hyrdraulicly operated clutch and, unusually for that time, a five speed (manual) gearbox.
- The engine had a 1,4 ltr capacity and a power output of 44 hp (33 kW) with 4400 rpm.
- The larger engine offered from 1953 engine had a 1,9 ltr capacity and a power output of 70 hp (52 kW) with 4400 rpm.
- It had a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) (1400 cc version).
- Unloaded weight of 1,120 kg (2,469 lb).
- Hand brake handle under instrument panel,
- Retaining loops for front seat passengers at the roof and at the backrests,
- Armrests in the doors
Approximately 77,000 of the cars were built.
A 1400 cc model tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 74.4 mph (119.7 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 35.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of 24.2 miles per imperial gallon (11.7 L/100 km; 20.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £750 including taxes on the UK market.
The same magazine tested a 1901 cc diesel model in 1954 and recorded a top speed of 63.8 mph (102.7 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 45.2 seconds and a fuel consumption of 33.9 miles per imperial gallon (8.33 L/100 km; 28.2 mpg-US). The car was not at the time available on the UK market but a price in Italy of 1,545,000 Lire was quoted which they worked out as equivalent to £909.
|1400||straight-4 ohv||1395 cc||44-56 hp||single carburetor|
|1400 D||straight-4 ohv||1901 cc||40 hp||diesel|
|1900||straight-4 ohv||1901 cc||60-80 single carb.||single carburetor
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan
2-door cabriolet (1400)
2-door coupé (1900)
|Transmission(s)||4 and 5-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||265 cm (104.3 in)|
|Length||424 cm (166.9 in)|
|Width||166 cm (65.4 in)|
|Height||153 cm (60.2 in)|
|Curb weight||1,150 kg (2,500 lb)-1,250 kg (2,800 lb)|