FIAT 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 500
Economy cars were in high demand after WWI, prompting Fiat to produce a two-door small car with a sun roof named the Fiat 500.
In 1954, the Fiat was upgraded to a lighter model that took design cues from the Volkswagen Beetle and bore a rear-mounted engine like the flagship model. It was also featured early on in a variant version with a longer wheelbase, full-length sunroof and an engine that laid on its side.
The iconic Nuova 500 rolled off production lines in 1957 with a completely foldable, fabric roof and a 479 cc two-cylinder engine capable of a humble 13 horsepower and suicide doors.
That was 60 years ago.
Since then, the Italian-American automaker has produced 10 versions of the Fiat including the Nuova 500 Sport, the 500 Giardiniera and the 500 America – maintaining a strong market presence oversees and in the U.S from inception.
This year, the legendary post-war brand celebrates its 60th anniversary in style.
Last month, Fiat announced the debut of a special edition 500 convertible that features Dolcevita bi-color paint, chrome mirror covers, 16-inch allow wheels and white diamond finish, a bordeaux vinyl dashboard, retro-inspired ivory leather seats and gear knob, as well as bespoke floor mats and vintage Fiat logos.
The special edition 500 includes a few other enhancements like a burgundy and grey pinstripe on the exterior and burgundy trim lining on the dashboard, plus the classic Fiat logo design on the steering wheel, giving it that 1950’s flare.
While paying homage to the original model, Fiat incorporated contemporary design elements such as a 7-inch display screen and navigation system, automatic climate control, a multi-function steering wheel, seven-inch HD U-connect Radio Live touchscreen system with Bluetooth, rain and dusk sensors, automatic cruise control, fog lights, rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – all of which come standard.
The Fiat 500’s big reveal happened during the 2017 Geneva Auto Show where the brand also showcased its 124 Spider - Limited Europa model with a throwback-like design. Fiat will also feature upgraded packages adding more of a luxurious feel to some of the its other vehicles.
According to wheels.ca, more than 6 million 500s have been sold worldwide since 1957. The Italian-American automaker also announced that it would be producing 560 units for the anniversary edition and would be taking orders in the European market beginning March 4.