Brief History of the Classic Fiat 500

The nouvo FIAT 500 or  was designed by Dante Giacosa and was launched in 1957 as the replacement for the 500 Topolino. It was designed to be a practical, cheap,  small, four seat family car.

It was a masterstroke in packaging as the new car was only 2.97 m (116.9 in) in length, 1.32 m (52.0 in) wide and exactly the same 1.32 m (52.0 in) height. The first models were powered by a small and economical 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine.

Although it went through a number of variants during its lifespan, the Fiat 500 remained in production until 1975. Eventually a new model was introduced in 2007, which was the 50th anniversary of the original.

Fiat 500 Models Demystified

Classic Fiat 500N (Mark1)

The original 500N was manufactured in July 1957 the car was very basic and had no opening windows or quarter lights – it was an overheated tin for sardines for the Italians and was quickly replaced by the Mark 2 October 1957 with opening windows.  The car was a great success and they produced only 28,438 in 1957 and 181,037 in total. This figure includes the 500 Sport. Few remain and are treasured and very collectible.

 

The 500D came into production in October 1960 and became the iconic car of it’s day, the option of a fully retractable roof, heating, and suicide doors. Known as such because of the opening method.  The car was a great success and Fiat produced 640,521  of them but are now increasingly rare and hence more expensive, production of the collectable cars ended in in October March 1965, along with the suicide doors, much to the chagrin of Italian men who loved opening the doors for the girls!

 

Then came the F and L the most common of cars found for sale today, built between March 1965 and 1972 with normal opening doors and the L having the luxury of  reclining seats and a fuel gage.

Some 500F’s were build until late 1973 in Desio ,mainly with 308 chassis (126 Platforms).

Also Sicilfiat built 80,521 500F and 500L in Termini Imerese Sicily.

The Fiat 500R was only built in Sicily, between December 1972 – October 1975, similar to the F, but came with a few luxuries, but a larger engine and semi-synchro gearbox.

Autobianchi 33,709 and 168432 in total.

 

The Fiat 500G was the estate car. Fiat 500  Station Wagon.   500 Giardiniera  was built by Autobianchi in Desio. From May 1960 – March 1965 with variations going on from February 1974 until August 1978.

Autobianchi also made the 500 Van or Furgoncino 500.

The total 500’s made by Fiat, Autobianchi and Sicilfiat were 3,432.226.

This did not include other manufacturers statistics.

 

Ghia 500 Jolly

Simca 500 Montecarlo