Unmistakenly Italian, the image of the Fiat 500 has been universally linked with Italy. Evolving from the Fiat 500 Topolino the 500 was designed to be a small car that would be affordable for everyone.
The car was designed by Dante Giacosa and first launched in July 1957, quickly earning the name ‘the people’s car’. It measured in at just over 2.5 metres long and was powered by a 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine making it the quintessential city car. Production ran for only 18 years, (1957 – 1975), but the car had made a deep impression on people, mainly due to its low maintenance and fuel economy.
The original design were two-seater cars with rear hinged doors, a top speed of 85km/h however, these didn’t meet sales expectations so two new models called the Normale and Economica were designed in December 1957. Both new designs had a greater horsepower engine and the Normale had rear seats, wind up windows and indicator controls on the steering column.
Fiat manufactured a sport versions (white with red stripes) between 1958 and 1960 which had a 499cc engine and 15 horsepower in an effort to appeal to the younger generation making the age demographic that the car appealed to much wider that Fiat originally thought. In the years that followed there came the Fiat 500N with an opening sunroof, which proved very popular.
Between 1965 and 1968 the rear hinged doors were replaced with front hinged ones on the model 500F, making the car safer. Other changes included more angular lights and a larger windscreen. The new model’s top speed reached 120km/h.
In the years that followed from 1968 to 1972 and changes made were more cosmetic and included an extra chrome bumper (both front and back), pleated upholstery on the door panels, a new improved layout for the dashboard and a black steering wheel. Not to mention the reclining seats and carpeting. This was also the first time the badge would see the name FIAT spelled in all uppercase letters.
From 1972 to 1975 the car design saw yet more changes when it reverted back to a simpler era. Gone were the bumpers and the luxurious interior to be replaced by a more basic look.
Production ceased but owing to it’s durability, the Italian roads were still filled with huge numbers of Fiat 500’s. It was evident that the public felt an attachment to the Fiat 500 and although many years had passed, they were still hugely popular! In 2007 Fiat began production again but this time gave more thought to what the modern driver needed in a small car.
Although the retro 500 is larger than its predecessor, it still bears all of the iconic detailing that customers look for when buying the “peoples car”. Call us to arrange to view and test drive the Fiat 500 at our showroom on The Greenhills Road.
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