21 Fiat 500 Classic Cars 1957-1975, Fiat Abarth Vintage Cars Models Nuova, Nuova 500 Sport, 500 D, 500 Giardiniera, 500 Furgoncino, 500 F or Berlina, 500 L or Lusso, 500 R or Rinnovata – Designed as Italian people’s car, Fiat 500 was sometimes considered the 4-wheels version of Vespa scooter. It was manufactured from 1957 to 1975 in many different versions. All those versions were actually the second generation of the breed following the Fiat Topolino which ended its production years in 1955.
The official name is Nuova 500 and was manufactured by Fiat, but people simply refer to the car as Fiat 500. Compared to its pre-war predecessor, this next generation introduced quite radical changes both in design and engineering point of view. In terms of design, the overall aesthetic was more about functionality and unity rather than elegance yet it turned out to be one of the smallest good looking cars in motoring history.
While many people think of the small design as an intended feature, it was actually more of an economic concern. However, Dante Giocoso did not design Fiat 500 so that people could drive into even the smallest alley in rural Italy, but because he wanted to use as little metal sheet as possible; in 1950s in Italy, steel was expensive. To save production cost, Fiat 500 even featured fabric sunroof; it was not an optional feature but it came as standard option.
From engineering perspective, there were some improvements as well. The predecessor and earliest model of Fiat 500 developed a whopping 13 horsepower, but later versions called with 500 D produced a widow-making 17 horsepower. If you needed more power for quicker drive to a spaghetti restaurant, Fiat offered the sport version, the Nuova 500 Sport, with a mindboggling 21.5 horsepower with a top speed of a blazing 65mph. Abarth was in charge of the production of some sport models.
Another important thing about the car was that it required only simple, easy, affordable maintenance. Even corner shops in Italy would supply spare parts from the likes of sparkplugs and belts, so there was no need to drive to specialty shops for repairs. Despite its small dimension, Fiat 500 was fitted with 4-seats, which meant a small family could take a ride together in blissful post-war Italian city streets with ease.
In addition to the standard, 500 D and sport versions, the small car had a number of other iterations including Giardiniera (or 500 K in some markets), Furgoncino (van version), Berlina (500 F), Lusso (500 L), and Rinnovata (500 R). Other notable versions include Ghia and America.
Fiat 500 was a big success; even if you read any Fiat 500 review today, chances are you will find it praising the car for its style, practicality, and simplicity at the same time. At the end of the production years in 1975, Fiat managed to sell 3,893,294 units.
To commemorate its success, Fiat has revived the production of the car but with major changes to overall design and of course engines. In fact, it is still in production until today. Most notable iterations are:
- Fiat 500 Abarth – it is manufactured by Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Abarth subsidiary. It was introduced for the first time a year after the rebirth of Abarth brand and company. All models are fitted turbocharged and intercooled 1.4L straight-four engine.
- Fiat 500 Gucci – celebrating Gucci’s 90th anniversary and 150 years since the unification of Italy, another version was introduced in 2011. Fiat 500 Gucci comes in standard body configuration, cabriolet, hatchback, and convertible.
- Fiat Vintage 57 – also commonly referred to as Fiat 500 2015, this version features dual-layer power-operated cloth top. It came in white, light green, and pastel blue sky.
Fiat 500 Models List
- Nuova 500 (1957–1960)
- Nuova 500 Sport (1958–1960)
- 500 D (1960–1965)
- 500 Giardiniera (1960–1975)
- 500 Furgoncino
- 500 F or Berlina (1965–1973)
- 500 L or Lusso (1968–1972)
- 500 R or Rinnovata (1972–1975)