The Fiat 500 “Nuova” (Italian for “new”) was unveiled in 1957 as a replacement to the outgoing 500 “Topolino”, being smaller with its 72-inch wheelbase. It was designed by Fiat’s lead engineer, Dante Giacosa, who was also responsible for the industry standard front-wheel drive layout that was first seen in Fiat’s 128 in 1969. It was designed to be a small rear engine, rear wheel drive city and family car to commute with around the narrow city streets of Italy, competing with the likes of Germany’s VW Beetle.
However, it was also released in different body styles such as a semi-convertible, an estate and a panel van, providing flexible options to suit the needs of everyone in the Italian and international markets. As a result, the Fiat 500 became immensely popular to a point where almost 4 million examples were made until the end of production in 1975.
Changes to the updated 500 include the location of the 479cc two-cylinder engine which produced 13bhp and was relocated to the rear and coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. To make the Nuova comfortable and handle well, it was equipped with independent suspension to all four sides of the car and came with drum brakes for adequate stopping power. Other unique features include the twin-hinged “suicide” doors and the fabric roof which opens all the way to the rear, providing a similar open-top experience to that of a cabriolet with none of the drawbacks.
Despite its low displacement engine, the 500N weighed in at a kerb weight of 500 kilograms. This combination resulted in decent fuel economy which was also a selling point among the rest of its unique features.
This example of the 500 is a 1958 model that has undergone a complete nut and bolt restoration in 2017 and 2018. It was painted in a Lambretta beige and has a red leather interior.
Additional safety features were added to this example, which include the following:
Other items that were completed and added to this example of the 500 include:
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