The best-selling supermini is back, thanks to a full restoration from SEAT engineers.
In 1957, SEAT introduced the 600 supermini at Automobile Barcelona in Spain. The car shared its bones with the Fiat of the same name, and now 60 years gone, the Spanish automaker has decided to bring one of its most iconic vehicles back to life.
The 600 "put Spain on wheels," says SEAT, and one example recently underwent a full restoration in celebration of its 60th anniversary. A team of more than 30 engineers took on the task of bringing this classic car back to life, fully modernized and ready for road use. The car in question has been sitting untouched and unused for the past 25 years.
A total of 1,500 man hours were spent just in taking apart and restoring each individual component by hand. The team had to locate more than 1,000 missing pieces, which engineer Angel Lahoz says was one of the greatest challenges to the build itself.
A total of three gallons (15 liters) of bluish grey paint were used on the body, a color the company says is "absolutely on trend and reminiscent of the first 600s that came out." An impressive 164 feet (50 meters) of houndstooth fabric was used throughout the cabin, while the manually operated roof, original steering wheel and horn, and dash, were all completely restored.
The final result is a car that looks like it just rolled off the factory floor new. The light bluish grey finish, black top, and white-wall tires gives the classic a truly retro look. In case you needed any more reasoning as to why SEAT decided to restore this 600, between 1957 and 1973, more than 800,000 units of the now-iconic supermini were sold, making it one of the best selling SEAT models of all time.
Gallery: 1957 SEAT 600 Restored
The car that put Spain on wheels is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. For this reason, SEAT has restored a 600 convertible, which is exhibited for the first time at the Automobile Barcelona. A team of around 30 people set out to fully modernise, and completely by hand, this gem which had been sitting for the past 25 years. The following are some of the keys to its restoration.
More than 1,000 original spare parts: 1,500 hours were spent to take it completely apart and restore each separate part by hand. One of the greatest challenges was to locate the more than 1,000 original parts that were changed, according to Ángel Lahoz, an engineer at the SEAT Technical Centre who was responsible for the Project.
Rebirth after sitting for 25 years: The work was done to a SEAT 600 convertible that was built in 1965 and bought by a private individual. It had been sitting for 25 years and so required painstaking electronics and mechanical work. According to Lahoz, “the final result is almost better than when it originally left the factory”, over more than half a century ago.
15 litres of paint: 15 litres of bluish grey paint was used, a colour which is “absolutely on trend and reminiscent of the first 600s that came out”, points out Jordi Font, who is head of Colour&Trim at SEAT.
50 metres of houndstooth fabric: 50 metres of exclusive fabric was created for this car, representing “an allegory of the famous houndstooth pattern in black and white that echoes a time past”, explains Font.
Manually operated roof and original steering wheel: The manually operated sliding roof stands out in particular among the car parts, as it was also completely hand restored. The steering wheel and the horn button are the original.
Unique 60th anniversary version: This year the SEAT 600 is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Since its launch in 1957, it became a social phenomenon and Spaniards were finally able to start taking to the road. For many middle-class families, their dream of buying their own car for 70,000 pesetas finally came true.
A car that posted record sales: The SEAT 600 was such a success that in 1958 its production was multiplied by six. The model was built until 1973 and a total of nearly 800,000 units were sold.