Fiat, long known for producing inexpensive, efficient cars, surprised the automotive community in 1957 with an all-new 500 model that was even smaller than its predecessor, the beloved Topolino (Little Mouse). Designed by Dante Giacosa, the 500 Nuova or “Cinquecento,” much like the Volkswagen’s “Beetle,” featured an economical air-cooled rear-engine design. While purpose-built for practicality and limited in top speed, its compact dimensions and fully independent suspension made it a joy to drive.
Introduced with an air-cooled 479 cc two-cylinder engine that was later upgraded to 499.5 cc, the Cinquecento received various technical modifications over the course of its healthy 18-year production run, while styling remained essentially unchanged. Importation to the USA continued through 1961. The “F” variant arrived for 1965 with several changes, including front-hinged doors, a slight power increase and other detail updates, mainly to the heater and driveline.
The “L,” or Lusso (Deluxe) model, appeared in mid-1968. While it heralded no mechanical changes, this upscale model was easily identified by its additional brightwork, radial-ply tires, revised hubcaps, modernized speedometer and unique, two-spoke steering wheel. Additional storage pockets, revised door handles and switchgear, reclining front seats and full carpeting rounded out the comprehensive package.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
21 hp (SAE), 499.5 cc rear-mounted, air-cooled inline two-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring and wishbones, independent rear suspension with semi-trailing arms and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 72.4".
Source: RM Auctions