The Fiat Campagnola was a heavy-duty off-road vehicle produced by Fiat. Production started in 1951 to 1973 then it was upgraded in 1974 with production continuing until 1987.
Since 1975 it was delivered to all Italian armed services, in many variations with standard or long wheelbase, canvas or hardtop options.
In 1951 the 1101 Fiat Campagnola was completed ahead of a public tender for the supply of vehicles to the Italian army, replacing the tired and dated American jeeps. The vehicle was the first off-road Italian made unit. The open competition prevailed with competing projects of Alfa Romeo presenting the 1900 M Matta, technically superior but considered too expensive compared to the Campagnola which drew most of its components from FIAT cars in production; the civilian version was launched in September 1951 and immediately produced for the Army then later provided to all military services.
The initials AR51, AR55 and AR 59 “AR” stands for “Car Recon” and the number indicates the year of entry into service of the model.
The initial name in 1101 Alpina was considered too “militaristic” as the war had just ended. The name was immediately revised into Campagnola, in order to emphasize the possibility of employment for civil use and, especially, for agriculture. The name was also preferred by the trade unions who had become hostile to all things derived from military backgrounds.
During his long life has been adapted and built in several versions, including specialized services for civil and military, from snowplough versions, to tow trucks and by varying the wheelbase and rear overhang ambulances etc. As well as the military, it was adopted, from its earliest incarnations by the Police and the Civil Protection Service, later also in a special version called AR55 PS.
Many coachbuilders of Savio and Boneschi used the frame of Campagnola special version (AR55 PS)the best known version is the stretched Hard Top Savio “Turin” produced in moderate amounts for Italian Television. Also well known are the conversions of the company ISOLI for their tow truck, very well liked at the time and still used in places today.
In December 1951, two Fiat Campagnolas, LWB versions, organised by the Special Arrangements Section of Fiat, , led by Cesare Butti, made the crossing Algiers to Cape Town round trip in 11 days 4 hours and 54 minutes, setting a world record, still not beaten to date.
The 1st series Campagnola was 3,775 m long, 1,945 m wide 1,600 me high. The wheelbase was 1,365 m. The ground clearance was 0.27 m.
The Campagnola Diesel first series.
It was initially equipped with a petrol engine 4-cylinder Fiat 1900 cm³ (105 007) which developed 39 kW. In 1953 a diesel option was introduced, but with only 29 kW @ 4600 rpm.
In 1955 a new petrol engine was introduced with 45kW, and a diesel with 31.5 kW. The petrol version could reach 116 km / h, while the diesel engines could get only reach 95 km / h.
In 1969 it takes place the last update with the introduction of the C Diesel with the new engine derived from a Fiat van .
Ar59 version produced from 1959, with the engine 105B.017 and a 24v submersible variant, so as to facilitate its use even in extreme situations. The engine was a 1900 cc 4-cylinder petrol with a Solex carburetor, the power is increased from 53 hp up to 64 hp in the final versions. The diesel engine derived directly from the petrol block engine and replacing the head with a swirl chamber type, initially developed at 40 hp and then 48 hp by the latest version.
The transmission was on the rear wheels and can be selected on to the front axle, suspension was independent on the front and beam axle to the rear.
The truck was produced under license in the former Yugoslavia by Zastava with the code AR 51 / V and AR55 / V in various versions with metal roof and rear overhang extended.
In 1973 officially production ended, after producing 39,076 vehicles of which 7,783 were a diesel version.
Unveiled in Belgrade in 1974 the remodelled version was revealed for civilian use, the Fiat 1107 Nuova Campagnola was produced until 1987. The military version was built in 1976, called AR76 (4-speed gearbox), and updated in 1979, with the model AR76 / A (5-speed gearbox).
The new Campagnola was a pure off-road vehicle, the design was entirely new compared to the previous model. It had the bearing body which allowed considerable more ground clearance, instead of the previous separate chassis, it consisted of spars that had welded cross members directly the under body, a new 4wd system, suspension was independent with torsion bars on all four wheels rear double shock and limited slip differentials both front and rear.
The petrol engine was a 2.0-ltr. derived from Fiat 131 and 132 saloons, suitably simplified and strengthened with a maximum power of 80 hp at 4500 rpm and maximum torque of 150.92 Nm at 2800 rpm, in 1978 the timing belt was replaced with a more reliable chain.
A new diesel engine was introduced in1979, with a displacement of 2,445cc, giving out 72 hp at 4200 rpm and maximum torque of 147 Nm at 2400 rpm.
Also in 1979 Fiat replaced the 4-speed transmission of the petrol engine with a new 5-speed version that slightly reduced consumption and the low power of the engine made it more usable.
The Campagnola was used as a Mobile Command Post or as a mobile radio unit. It was equipped with first aid equipment for the ambulance version. The electrical system was 12 volts for the civilian version, but the AR76 has a system of 24 volts for heavy duty radio/communications uses.
In 1976 Renault built in collaboration with FIAT twenty copies of the new Campagnola with the Renault 829 engine. It was called the Renault TRM 500, created to bid for the contract to supply reconnaissance vehicles for the French Army, who finally chose the Peugeot P4.
The new Campagnola was also exported in the former Yugoslavia with the initials JD 1107 in partnership with Zastava which subsequently also developed a version with a hard top to use as a mobile radio unit.
In 1980 a new Campagnola was donated to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Turin, and has served as a Popemobile, the pope was on the car when he was wounded in 1981
Production finally stopped in 1987 of the Campagnola, but that is not the end.
In 2008 Fiat announced the heir to the Campagnola: the Iveco Massif (very Defender looking). Fiat reported that the name of Campagnola would be used for branding in certain countries for the new Iveco Massif.
In October 2008 Fiat released a limited edition of the Massif in Italy as the Campagnola.
Here are a few restored Campagnolas doing what they were built for …