The Fiat 500 is without a doubt the most romantic of all iconic Italian cars. On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Cinquecento, a dozen models will be on show at Autoworld.
It was in 1957 that Fiat started making the Nuova 500, so called in order to distinguish it from the Fiat 500 from 1936. The latter was in turn renamed the ‘Topolino’. The little car designed by Dante Giacosa remained in production until 1975, and had its engine in the rear. This resulted in a relatively spacious interior, given the total length of the ‘Bubble Car’.
A career of nearly twenty years saw the appearance of model after model, although the Nuova 500 was regarded as something of a disappointment at its launch in 1957. In 1958 the ‘Economica’ was joined by a better-equipped ‘Normale’ variant. The ‘Sport’, with an engine of 499.5 cc and a power rating of 21.5 hp, came out in the same year. It was easy recognised from its red bodywork and red lines, as well as from its metal roof, which replaced the version made of synthetic fabric. Two years later, the ‘D’ version was added, which gained the ‘Compasso d’Oro’, the highest Italian award in the field of design. With the ‘Giardinieri’ from 1960, the Fiat 500 became the favourite van of bakers, greengrocers and small producers, who used it for their deliveries. 1965 was the year the ‘F’ made its appearance, with its hinged doors. It was followed by the luxury ‘L’ version in 1968, and the ‘R’(Rinnovata - renewed) in 1972.Finally, Fiat successfully launched the follow-on from the 500, the Fiat 126, in 1974.
The most famous coachbuilders were involved in one or another model in the series – the likes of Bianchina, Ghia, Lombardi, Moretti, Pininfarina, Siata, Vignale and Zagato.