One of the world’s first city cars ever to be produced was Fiats Cinquecento as it was originally called; this little Italian beauty was built with a 479 cc two cylinder engine and was just 9 feet and 9 inches long. However it came in many variations including a very practical estate version called the Giardiniera with its rear engine laid flat to allow boot space.
The Fiat sport was another version with more stylish looks including racing stripes and a more powerful engine bored out from the original 479 cc to a 499.5 cc respectable power was gained concidering the engine size increasing up to 21 bhp. By the late sixties the original suicide doors were replaced with regular forward opening ones and Fiats very own tuning specialists Abarth converted 200 Fiat 500s as well as offering Abarth parts to existing owners of Fiat 500s so today few surviving models will have the same specification.
The Fiat 500 stayed in production from 1957 to 1975 and has gained a huge following across the world, so much so that in 2007 they re-introduced the model into Fiats line up and is still in production today all be it a revised new model all together.
- The first thing to look for if you are going to buy one of these little Fiats is corrosion. Check the whole body for signs of rot or indeed shoddy restoration for that matter. Inspect the front luggage compartment for corrosion and leaky batteries spilling acid that will corrode the cars metal work, also check the floor pan for signs of rust as leaky roofs will show up under the cars carpet.
- Start the engine looking out for excessive exhaust smoke also check for oil leaks which can come from the sump or rocker cover gaskets, make sure you get good history with the car as regular oil changes and spark plug replacement means longevity. The steering box and idle arm can wear so make sure no oil leaks are apparent and make sure the front kingpins have been regularly greased to prevent seizure.
- As interiors are small it’s relatively easy to check for any signs of wear. Switch gear and trim parts is rare to find for early models so make sure everything is in its place. Lookout for leaky wheel cylinders when checking the brakes. Remember the gearbox will be non synchro so listen out for excessive noise and make sure it doesn’t jump out of gear.
- Fun and practical these little Fiats are great classics just don’t buy one you’ll regret.
The current Fiat 500 model, in production since 2007, is one of the company’s best-selling models to date. It won European Car of the Year back in 2008. The model is so popular that you are not likely to spend a day on any road without seeing at least one of them! And wherever you are in the world, you will find at least one annual car event dedicated just to this car model only!
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“The iconic little Fiat is well loved by owners and enthusiasts alike with its Italian charm and style it’s a true classic icon”