Ten Things You Didn’t Know About the Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is popular the world over, including in Australia. The car’s cute retro style reflects its long history as an emblem of Italian design. As much a symbol of la dolce vita as a Vespa, and more affordable than an Italian super car, here are ten things you didn’t know about this miniature icon.

  • The original Fiat 500 A was launched in 1936 and was the world’s first mass-produced small car. Fiat were ahead of the game on that front!
  • Its original nickname was Topolino, which means ‘little mouse’ (Italians used this name for Mickey Mouse too). The 500 has also been known as the ‘Bambino’ (baby) or by its number, Cinquecento.
  • On 4th July 1957, Fiat introduced the Nuova 500 – the forerunner of the car that we are familiar with today. From the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, over four million of these were sold!
  • The huge popularity of the Nuova 500 cemented the car’s place as a true icon of Italian design. As a tribute to the vision of its chief engineer, Dante Giacosa, Fiat have reconstructed his office – including his original desk – at the firm’s museum in Turin.
  • The car’s success has continued since it was relaunched in 2007, with two million sold in the ten years since!
  • Fiat recorded the production journey of the car numbered 2,000,000. It now belongs to a German childcare worker called Melanie.
  • Today the Fiat 500 is the number one car in eight countries.
  • To celebrate sixty years of the Nuova 500, Fiat threw a birthday party for the Cinquecento at the company’s old home, the world famous roof top Lingotto race track, on 4th July 2017. Every generation from 1957 to the new larger and 4×4 models were there, representing the growing 500 family.
  • In recognition of its significance, the Italian state celebrated the car’s sixtieth birthday by launching a limited edition postage stamp. Fiat 500 aficionados and philatelists will be wrestling each other to get one of those!
  • MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art, New York) also marked the occasion by adding one of the 500 F Series, made between 1965 and 1972, to their permanent collection. Some accolade for a small and affordable car! Martino Stierli, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the museum, commented that ‘The Fiat 500 is an icon of automotive history that fundamentally altered car design and production’. No doubt the many millions of owners over the years would agree that the Cinquecento is indeed a special little car.




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