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Fiat 500 - Classic Italian Car

Updated on April 5, 2014

The Fiat 500 - Old and New Classic Cars

The Fiat 500 is a new retro-styled car based on the style of old classic 1960s car of the same name.

This article is about the new Fiat 500 a modern interpretation of the classic Fiat 500 of the 1960s and a look at the original car, many of which still grace the streets of Italy. A new Fiat 500 Convertible version has also been launched: The "Fiat 500 C".

I rented a brand new Fiat 500 for a tour of Tuscany and Umbria in Italy and liked it so much I decided to write a review of this future classic car and a comparison with the original.

The Fiat 500

The Original Classic 1960s car

The original Fiat 500 or "cinquecento" (meaning 500 in Italian) was produced by Fiat from 1957 until 1975. The classic design was created by Dante Giacosa. It was a cheap people's car similar in concept to the VW Beetle in Germany, Morris Mini in England and the Citroen 2CV in France.

The original car is tiny at just 10 feet long with a 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine (i.e. a 500cc engine)

The new car was launched in 2007 based on the original in terms of styling, but based on the modern Fiat Panda for mechanicals.

Still Gracing the Streets of Italy

Still Gracing the Streets of Italy
Still Gracing the Streets of Italy

Lots of Fiat 500s (in Switzerland)

Lots of Fiat 500s (in Switzerland)
Lots of Fiat 500s (in Switzerland)

The New Car

The New Fiat 500

Beautiful classic interior with a modern chunky steering wheel and gear lever. All of the main displays are in a single large round, retro-styled pod similar to cars of the 1960s, although it is in front of the steering wheel instead of the centre of the dashboard and has some digital LCD displays along with the needles for rev-counter and speedometer.

The modern car has a good 5-speed manual gearbox and an option of a torquey little diesel engine which sounds quite sporty when pushed hard. The steering is precise and direct and it is certainly a fun car to drive. It isn't fast and does understeer a bit round the twisty roads of the Tuscan hill towns, but the torque of the little diesel engine make it very easy to drive. Parking is also very easy because of the tiny size.

The seats are firm, but comfortable and the suspension fairly stiff, but with a reasonable ride for car of its size. I was still feeling quite relaxed, even after a few hundred miles on fairly rough, twisty Italian side-roads. The rear seats are tiny and there was little room for anyone except a small child behind my seat (I am 6'2" with long legs) Access to the rear via the two doors is also quite tight and the boot (trunk) is small; big enough for a couple of small suitcases - plenty of room for luggage for a long weekend away, or even a, week for two people (see picture below).

The exterior of the car is so close the the original, although quite a lot larger, it is easy to mistake it for the original it first glance. The steel of the body work does appear to be quite thin and in just a week of driving (in Italy) it had picked up some marks from car-park knocks.

This is a cute little car with loads of character. I prefer it to the modern Mini or Beetle, but I won't be trading in my other car just yet

50 years on...

50 years on...
50 years on...

At Home in the Vineyards of Chianti

Specifications (New Car):

Three petrol four-cylinder engines are available:

1200cc: 69 BHP

1300cc: 75 BHP

1400cc: 85 BHP

There is also a special "Abarth" 135 BHP model

Specifications (Original Car):

Three two-cylinder petrol engines were available:

479cc: 21 BHP

499cc: 17 BHP

594cc: 23 BHP

weight: 500 kg (1100 lb)

Not Much Luggage Space

Not Much Luggage Space
Not Much Luggage Space

Fiat 500 Abarth SS - TopGear Fiat 500 Abarth SS Review

Please Leave Some Feedback

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    • robertred24 profile image

      robertred24 4 years ago

      I have had a classic Fiat 500 during my university years. It was very funny, with low fuel consumption and you could park it almost everywhere!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      I love the Fiat 500!

    • Elis173 profile image

      Elis173 4 years ago

      Beautiful cars, great lens!

    • Vortrek Grafix profile image

      Vortrek Grafix 4 years ago

      We used to call them "cinque piotta" when I was a kid in Rome. The poitto was slang 100 lira (before there were euros). they were very common, and great for zipping around the little side streets over the cobble stones. They appear to be pricier in the USA, and marketed more as an "upscale" concept than the affordable car for the people they were originally designed for in Italy.

    • profile image

      SkinCareExpert 4 years ago

      I'm actually thinking about trading my Mini S in for an Abarth. The Abarth's sound amazing, and are a ton of fun. Lots of good info on here.

    • profile image

      chickie99 4 years ago

      the superior alternative to the "punch buggy"

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent lens

    • emmajowebster profile image

      emmajowebster 5 years ago

      My brothers drove one back from Italy - it was great!

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens with some beautiful photos!

    • Projectlazy profile image

      Projectlazy 5 years ago

      I work for a Rental company by day. We got these a few months back and there so much fun. I never payed much thought to the classic but now I really wanna see how it holds up.

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      This car is one of my favorite! Great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      beautiful cars, Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      its my uncle dream to buy a car like this nice lens he is owner of

      ink cartridges for printers company . i will give him suggestion like this .

    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 5 years ago

      Aren't they just the cutest. When I was choosing my first car, it was between a cinquecento and a 2CV (the latter won because you could take the roof off).

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Wow, tht car was amazing and thanks for the memories. We don't see many of these in Australia. Actually have not seen a Fiat in years. Featured this on Classi and Vintage Cars, hugs

    • profile image

      giovpugliese 5 years ago

      Such an iconic car!! .... I have very old one sitting in my garage back home in Italy that belonged to my grandfather. This lens is making me want to bring it over! ;)

    • profile image

      ekkoautos 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      CUT car!! Luv it and the lens as well. THUMBS UP

    • profile image

      teatree 6 years ago

      My first car was a cinquecento - bought it in 1994, and it ran like a dream for ten years till it got totalled in an accident (which wasn't the fault of me or the 500). I still miss it, LOL.

    • Rudy145 LM profile image

      Rudy145 LM 6 years ago

      Not a bad car

    • profile image

      match137 6 years ago

      nice lens

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      The only Fiat I know of is the one my dad owns...a Fiat Ritmo. It's really old, but with a solid body and lasted him a really long time. I like the Fiat. I like this model (500) though, it's really cute.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens! Full of good information that was useful. Well at least for this young squid.

      One big thumbs up vote left for ya!

    • profile image

      yesperu 6 years ago

      The Fiat is a nice small car. Perhaps great considering the price of gas, small but with everything you need for commodity.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 6 years ago from London, England

      @TonyPayne: Yes. It's a cute car, that is becoming very popular here. They really have tried to keep the basic look inside, but it is of course a far bigger and more luxurious car than the original. I went for the opposite extreme though and have just bought an old Daimler.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am begging my husband to buy me one of them!! Went to Italy for 5 wks this year and loved the original 500 but would 'settle' for a new one :) Want a diesel convertible. Thanks for sharing.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      The new versions are getting really popular in the UK. It would be interesting to see what the inside is like, because the original Fiat 500's were incredibly basic.

    • profile image

      friendshipquotes 6 years ago

      Wow! Great collection..

    • profile image

      grifith 6 years ago

      Very Nice Lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice job...thanks!

    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

      Comparing this to my Toyota Yaris...I'll have to drive one soon. Thanx for the info

    • profile image

      andylightfoot 6 years ago

      nice!, bloody lovely cars, hoping to save up for one myself if the boss lets me :)

    • MrDarcy LM profile image

      MrDarcy LM 6 years ago

      A very informative lens. Thumbs up!

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Rhode Island

      cool lens Nice car

    • kguru1979 lm profile image

      kguru1979 lm 6 years ago

      I love this car .. nice lens...

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 6 years ago

      Congrats on the Purple star! The Fiat is a cute little car. probably great considering the price of gas, small but with everything you need for luxury. Great job Nice lens Topic!! Joni

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      such a lovely car! thank you for this delightful lens! cheers

    • Tobbie LM profile image

      Tobbie LM 6 years ago

      Bravo on winning all the trophy's on this lens! Me thinks I want to add a Fiat 500 to my bucket list! Cheers!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      \\\ell-done on the lens and well-well-done on the purple star.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The 1960s car look very classy and cute, traveling in it must be real fun.

      Congrats on Purple star.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      wonderful collection. really a awesome lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      way to go andy po

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Congrats, well deserved

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 6 years ago from Redcar

      A great lens.

    • RecipeFoodie profile image

      RecipeFoodie 6 years ago

      I have always liked the Fiat 500 car, they are shown a lot in movies etc. They are so compact but easy to get around in with just enough room - really how much room does one need in a car? Great lens and I can see why you got lens of the day (twice). Great job!

      Italian Tiramisu Desserts

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks. Great lens about Fiat 500!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love these old cars. Like to drive one.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      The new models definitely look a lot nicer than the old ones. Must be cheap to run I would think.

    • profile image

      BodiEko 7 years ago

      Hehe when I was little, there were only this sort of cars on the streets, now you rarely see one of them.

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 7 years ago

      you have created a unique and very informative lens

    • ArtformTheHeart profile image

      ArtformTheHeart 7 years ago

      cute car, most likely for city driving I'd imagine, nice and economical ..... and easy to park, lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Nice Car! Kinda cute!

    • profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      They are so cute. When we were kids we used to squish in the back of one and be whizzed around farm lanes with a bale of hay sticking out the back. We have a Punto now and love its economy and reliability. We only spent £30 in repairs over the last two years (until this Saturday when it had to have a new exhaust).

    • unik lm profile image

      unik lm 7 years ago

      Nice lens! I had a chance to ride in this particular Fiat, and it is probably the smallest car i ever sat in.

    • mosaic lm profile image

      mosaic lm 7 years ago

      Woohoo. Sexy car! :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I like the Fiat 500, it has got personality!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I like the Fiat 500, it has got personality!

    • profile image

      Cameos-Home 8 years ago

      Fiat 500? I sure know this car, because I am from Europe :) Thanks to bring back some old souvenirs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to AndyPo] You wouldn't want to take the Fiat 500 on the The Amazon Jungle Experience travels, didn't see it on that lens that you did such a nice job creating, too!

      Nice little car, would love to test drive it. Great photos Andy!

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for all of the kind comments on my lenses.

      We were traveling quite light, in Italy: I even left quite a lot of my camera equipment at home (some of the bigger lenses) but we still almost managed to fill the boot of the little Fiat. Not that my cars have particularly big boots either - even the Jaguar doesn't have much space.

      The original Fiat 500 is similar in style to the Alfa Spider, although the Alfa came along almost a decade later. They were very different in terms of function though: The Fiat was very much aimed at getting the general population mobile, whereas the Alfa was pure decadence. [in reply to Shelly]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      You had me sold on the Fiat 500 right up until......well, let's say my husband saved our marriage by giving up the idea of my ever being able to get the hang of a standard transmisson! As always, a delightful presentation and review--you always draw me into your experience of the moment. I'd say if you the trunk seems too small, then it's time to downsize one's luggage-less is best when traveling. I would guess this gets a bit difficult at times with all your equipment.

      I wonder how you would compare the vintage model to the Alfa Romeo Spider. Just visited your lens "Alfa Romeo Spider (The Star of the Graduate Film)", but wasn't able to access the guest book there. I love that you included the video of the end of the film. Another "bravissimo" squid eye view by you!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I believe that we rented a Fiat when we were in Italy -- drove a Mercedes-Benz in Hungary and Romania -- had to sign some special documents though to drive it into Romania.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      I wish I had known that I could rent an old Italian car, before I came to Italy. I shall consider doing that next time I come. [in reply to sophie]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hello, I like you photos. You can also rent a vintage Fiat 500 from the 60's. I started a business in Florence Tuscany just over a year ago to give people the amazing opportunity to get behind the wheel of these lovely little cars and visit Italy like a local. see www.500touringclub.com

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Neat little car. It's almost as small as my Honda Fit.

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very classic. Another good lens.