The FIAT 500 Story
The Fiat 500 (or Cinquecento in Italian), was launched as the Nuova (new) 500 in July 1957 as a cheap and practical town car. Under 3 metres long, and originally powered by a 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the FIAT 500 redefined the term “small car” and is widely considered as the first city car. Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe.
The FIAT 500 has always had a lifestyle appeal that transcends class, status or budget. For some families it was their only car, the family’s workhorse as well as the means to their weekend escape to the seaside or to the mountains. For the well-to-do, it was either the perfect city runabout or a cheap and cheerful little car to keep at the family country estate.
It has now gained cult status around the world, and is as immediately recognisably Italian as the equally ubiquitous Vespa scooter or Pizza Margherita.
Production of the FIAT 500 ran from 1957 to 1975 with a range that included not only this classic shape, but also the world’s first MPV the Giardiniera and a fun beach version with no doors and wicker seats, the Jolly.