Italy’s location on the Mediterranean Sea meant innumerable beachfront cities and resorts. There was a brisk trade in beach buggy conversions of regular cars by the many specialist coachbuilders throughout Italy at the time. One such specialist was Ghia, who created the Jolly conversions on Fiat’s 500, 600, Multipla and Giardiniera platforms.
Known at home as a La Spiaggina, the Fiat beach-buggy was marketed worldwide as the Jolly. It was quite expensive costing around double that of a standard 500 and was bought by the rich and famous (Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brynner, President Tito) as yacht tenders, golf carts and estate runabouts. As a result, most surviving examples have covered low mileages only.
They were sold in the USA between 1958 and 1961. Considered a success, the model had a healthy run from 1958 to 1966. The cars’ specification included cut-down sides and windshield, a striped and fringed surrey top, and chromed body-pipework. They were available in pink, coral, white, pale yellow and sky blue. Mechanicals were standard Fiat. For a mere two years between 1964 and 1966 an “Economical” version was available and such is the one we have on offer here today.
Owned from new by President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, leader of the Yugoslav guerrilla movement, the Partisans from 1941–44. After the war, Tito became Prime Minister of Yugoslavia from 1944-1953 and President for life between 1953 until his death in 1980, of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Not undermined by its distinctive provenance, this charming Fiat Jolly is an original European version from the limited production run between 1964 and 1966 and not uncommon for these luxury cars, this example has a very low odometer reading of a little over 20,000km or 12,500 miles.
One of an estimated 100 surviving Ghia-made Jolly’s, this car has spent most its recent past as part of the Classic Automobile Museum’s collection in Belgrade, where it was refreshed and subsequently brought to London in preparation for sale.
Offered with a Certificate of Authenticity from Ghia confirming it is an original Ghia Jolly, this very original example has spent the majority of its life as part of the Classic Automobile Museum’s collection in Belgrade who have also provided a certificate confirming it was formally owned from new by Marshal Josip Broz Tito.