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Lot 137: Fiat 500

Classic - Collectors and Sports Cars, Barons (28 October 2013)

When Fiat launched the 500 Nuova things did not go according to plan, with  the initial response being unbelievably poor.  After just a few weeks, the virtual lack of interest meant that the new car was not finding buyers and it was necessary for Fiat to discover the cause and put it right with all haste in order for it to survive.  The 500 had been created to appeal to the masses as a cheap form of transport and this included the two-wheeled motorcyclist/moped riders, who should have been overjoyed at the prospect of owning a four-wheeled vehicle that would also protect them from the elements. But it was considered to be too austere in its conception. It was really only a two-seater and the platform behind the seats was obviously there just for luggage. There were no flashing indicators on the front,  just those on the side of the front wings, the windscreen wipers had no return/park facility when they were switched off, there were no hubcaps and the body was devoid of any brightwork, save for the narrow bumpers, the Fiat badge in its small grille and the almost invisible flush fitting headlamp bezels.  But worst of all, it was priced at 465,000 lire, when 590,000 lire would buy a Fiat 600, powered by a 633cc engine that gave a higher top speed, was better equipped and, most importantly, was designed to seat four people.  It was to Fiat's credit that they identified and sorted the problem quickly by turning the Nuova 500 into a two car range in time for the 1957 Turin Motor Show only three months after the original launch. Two cars were put on show, that Fiat called the 500 'Economica' and the 500 'Normale'. Both had uprated engines and the rear platform had been converted into a homologated seat. The rest, as they say, is history. This 1973 registered but 1972 built example was purchased by the private vendor in 2010 and not used. The car benefited from a nut and bolt rebuild on behalf of the previous private owner. All body panels are said to have been replaced with new prior to a full body repaint in original colour. There are photographs of these works in the history file. The car is now equipped with a Fiat 126 650cc engine, electronic ignition and 126, full syncro, gearbox. It has also benefited from new drive shafts and couplings, Abarth rocker cover, sump and twin pipe exhaust, front disc brake conversion and xenon headlights! To complete the picture the car has a new sunroof and all new chrome.

Lot Details
Auction Classic - Collectors and Sports Cars
Barons, Esher Hall Sandown Park Exhibition Complex Surrey. UK
TypeCar
Lot Number137
Estimate£5500-£6000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£5500
Year1973
Condition rating2
Registration numberEEL 273L
Mileage-
Chassis number3094790
Engine number3445046
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors