Pietro Milazzo obituary: North London mechanic known for his trademark red Fiat 500 and ‘permanent smile’
- Credit: Archant
Pietro Milazzo’s red Fiat 500 was a common sight around Camden, and the popular mechanic’s “permanent smile” made him a friends all over north London.
Pietro – sometimes known as Peter – died in early June aged 65 after a short illness. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just two months earlier.
Born in Sicily, Pietro came to England aged 12 and spent the vast majoity of his life in north London.
A mechanic by trade, he worked for Alfa Romeo and Maserati dealers before moving to work for Portman Garages in Camden, and then going self-employed in 1983.
From then on, his red Fiat 500 became a calling card as he worked around Camden and Barnet.
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His daughter Joanna Milazzo-Greaves told the Ham&High: “He would run around in his red van. He had the most compelling smile, and people have said they’ll really miss that. He had lots of customers around Hampstead and north London widely.”
The family lived in Cleveland Gardens, NW2, and after going self-employed, Pietro’s three children would often be greeted by the sight of him busying himself fixing a customer’s car at home.
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Joanna added: “He went around in his little red Fiat 500. He’d leave it outside of customers’ homes and bring their car back to our drive. He was totally devoted to his kids, and if you were his friend he treated you like his brothers and sisters.”
Pietro’s trademark Fiat, a replica of a Fiat Abart 695 which he built himself, was even featured in a 1988 edition of Classic and Sportscar magazine. In the piece, Pietro lovingly wrote: “I drive the car every day, and I have fun with it. Because when I’m pulling off at the lights, people look at the car and think they can leave me miles behind. But they get a surprise when I take off!”
In recent years, his grandchildren became one of Pietro’s great joys. Joanna added: “Becomming a ‘nonno’ made him so happy. He was such a classic Italian family man, and he really considered so many people family.”
Pietro is survived by his three children, Lucy, Joanna and PJ, wife Clare, and grandchildren Luca and Sienna. Due to social distancing rules, the funeral will be a small family affair, but the family plans to hold a memorial service in due course.