Replacement for Fiat’s much-loved 500 ‘Topolino’, the Nuova 500 debuted in 1957. A radical departure from its predecessor’s essentially pre-war design, Fiat’s new baby featured unitary construction of the body/chassis, an opening fabric roof and all-independent suspension, while carrying its engine at the rear. The 479cc power unit was an air-cooled overhead-valve twin and the gearbox a four-speeder. The basic 500’s austerity was not well received, prompting the introduction of a revised and better equipped version endowed with refinements such as wind-down windows, upholstered rear seat, column-mounted switchgear stalks, and hubcaps. Introduced in 1960, the 500D used the 499.5cc engine of the 500 Sport in de-tuned (17.5bhp) form. In the spring of 1960, a Giardiniera (gardener) station wagon had been added to the 500 range. Built on a 4” longer wheelbase than the sedan, the Giardiniera featured a single side-hinged rear door and carried its engine horizontally beneath the rear load platform, thus increasing available luggage space. Testing a Giardiniera in 1961, Autocar magazine was mightily impressed by Fiat’s new baby: ‘The Italians match their affinity with micro-motoring to a happy flair for making little cars really well, and within the limitations of its body dimensions and engine power the Giardiniera is a real masterpiece.’ The miniature station wagon was found capable of carrying four adults and 2.5cwt of luggage (alternatively, one adult and 4cwt) while returning an impressive 46.8mpg over 1,000 miles. The maximum speed achieved was exactly 60mph. From the spring of 1968 Giardiniera production was transferred to Autobianchi and finally ceased in 1977.
This 500 Giardiniera is finished in it stunning classic colour of Italian white, with green, white and red stripe covering the body. The car is currently registered on a UK V5 certificate.