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Fiat 500C Topolino

Overview

Produced: 1949-1955, 376368 produced.
Types: Saloon,2 doors,2 seats
Convertible,2 doors,2 seats
Van,2 doors,2 seats(+ 2 rear doors)
Station Wagon,2 doors,4 seats(+ 1 rear door - Giardiniera - wooden body)
Station Wagon,2 doors,4 seats(+ 1 rear door - Belvedere - metal body)
Fiat Topolino C Berlina Transformabile 1 (1952)

In the 13 years since its inception in 1936, the FIAT 500 had become a well known and easily recognisable 'Icon' to young and old throughout the World.  But in March 1949, a completely new Topolino was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show.  Totally redesigned, the body had been 'up-dated' to bring it into line with the current market trend.  Gone was the shield type grille in favour of a less attractive mouth organ type front.  The front wings had been substantially modified and had the headlamps built into them.  There was now a very prominent boot, although it still didn't have a bootlid and luggage could only be loaded through the two doors as previously.  But the rear body had a small covered compartment that housed the spare wheel which could now be safely locked away out of sight.

Whether the re-design did anything for the appeal of the car was very doubtful, but it did have new features that added 'creature comfort' to the occupants.  The main addition was a built-in heating/demisting system (which was fitted to all 500C's) the first to be fitted as standard by FIAT.

The new car was still available as a 'fixed head' hardtop saloon or a convertible and front and rear bumpers were fitted as standard.

The 569cc overhead valve engine that had been introduced for the 500B was retained, but now had an aluminium cylinder head.

Specifications - both saloons.

Engine: 4 vertical cylinders in-line, water-cooled of 569cc giving 16.5 bhp at 4,400 rpm. Overhead valves with aluminium cylinder head.
Engine Lubrication: gear driven pressure pump (2 kg/sq.cm - 28 psi) with suction filter submerged in the sump.
Maximum speed: 95 kph (59 mph)
Fuel Consumption: 5 litres per 100 km (59 mpg)
Fuel pumped to carburettor from 21.5 litre ( 4.5 gallon) fuel tank located under the scuttle.  With change-over reserve tap in the cabin.
Gears: Four forward and reverse with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears.
Brakes: Hydraulic, foot operated drum brakes to all road wheels plus hand operated transmission brake.
Electrical Equipment: 12 volts with coil and distributor.
Suspension: Front: Transverse spring and wishbones, with telescopic shock absorbers.
Rear: Rigid axle, semi-elliptic springs, telescopic shock-absorbers, anti-roll bar.

Dimensions:
Length: 3,245mm (10' 7 3/4")
Width: 1,288mm (4' 2 3/4")
Height: 1,375mm (4' 4 1/8")

The FIAT 500C Van.

Steel body over wooden frame.
Two adjustable leather seats with drop backs.
Double rear doors.
Adjustable driving mirrors to side doors.
Spare wheel fitted in drivers end of cab, but on passenger side.
Useful Load: 300kg (662 lbs)
Carburettor - Solex 22 IAC down draught, or Weber 22DRS as fitted to the cars in the range.
The starter knob could be set in three positions: 1/ Rest. 2/ Midway, for a slightly rich mixture, or 3/ Pulled fully out giving a rich mixture for starting.

The FIAT 500C 'Giardiniera' Station Wagon.

The Giardiniera had been a big success when introduced in the 500B series and was consequently continued as part of the 500C range.  As before, the body was constructed of steel, timber and laminated plastics and the rear seat squab folded flat when required to carry goods.  And, as before, it had a single rear door.  Other differences of the Giardiniera from the 500C saloons:

The final drive ratio was lowered from 4.875:1 to 5.125:1.
Maximum speed: 90 kph (56 mph) and it could climb a gradient of 2 in 5.5.
Fuel Consumption: 5.8 litres per 100 km (48 mpg)

Dimensions
Length: 3,310mm (10' 10 3/8")
Width: 1,288mm (4' 2 3/4")
Height: 1,400mm (4' 7") 

The FIAT 500C 'Belvedere' Station Wagon 1951 - 1955

The continuing success of the 'Giardiniera' Station Wagon prompted FIAT to introduce a more substantial all-metal Station Wagon in 1951 which they called the 'Belvedere'.  Mechanically, it was almost identical to the 'Giardiniera' having the same 500B type engine, same folding roof and the single rear door.  A single raised bar ran horizontally across the doors instead of the Giardiniera's two wooden style bars and the panels were painted in a contrasting colour.

Specifications - 

Engine: 4 vertical cylinders in-line, water-cooled of 569cc giving 16.5 bhp at 4,400 rpm. Aluminium cylinder head.
Engine Lubrication: gear driven pressure pump (2 kg/sq.cm, 28 lbs/sq.in).
Maximum speed: 90 kph (56 mph)
Fuel consumption: 5.8 litres per 100 km (56 mpg)
Gears: Four forward speed and reverse with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears.
Suction filter submerged in sump.
Brakes: Hydraulic, foot operated drum brakes to all road wheels plus hand operated transmission brake.
Electrical Equipment: 12 volts with coil and distributor.
Suspension: Front: Independent by transverse spring and wishbones, with telescopic shock absorbers.
Rear: Rigid axle, semi-elliptic springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar.

Dimensions:
Length: 3,420mm (11' 2 1/2")
Width: 1,288mm (4' 2 1/4")
Height: 1,455mm (4' 9 1/4")

Note! When the front engined, water-cooled FIAT 500C Topolino ceased production in 1955, the rear engined, water cooled FIAT 600 was introduced that same year.

But a new FIAT 500, rear engined and air-cooled, would be unveiled by FIAT in the summer of 1957.

Source: Reg J. Prosser

Engines

CapacityConfigModelBore/StrokeCR
569ccS4 OHV52mm x 67mm0

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