Like many well designed iconic products a sixtieth anniversary not only surpasses the all too frequent 50th – recent milestones include The Beatles “Sgt Pepper” – please see here our previous post Peter Blake and Jann Haworth – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” , BBC’s Radios 1 and 2, the first ATM (cash machine) and the launch of McDonalds in Canada – but the longevity of a product with sixty years under its belt truly says something about its core appeal and durability. Even if it is re-imagined in the process.
Such is the accolade that the fabulous Fiat 500 celebrated in July this summer when the the stunning Dante Giacosa designed first iteration the Nuova 500 was launched, succeeding the Topolino and, in an 18 year total production run, sold over 4 million cars.
At under ten feet (less than 3m) long, with “suicide doors” and a roll-back roof its minute 479cc two-cylinder engine produced just 13 horsepower. I can bear testimony to the power of this sprightly little vehicle to whisk a car load of not small people and too much luggage – shooting too many red lights in the process – around the melting tarmac of Rome’s streets.
Roberto Giolito’s 2004 concept, the Fiat Trepiuno, paved the way for design guru, Frank Stephenson – who also designed the iconic new Mini – to re-imagine the Fiat 500. The new car was launched on 4th July 2007 to great acclaim, winning Car’s “Car of the Year 2007”.
Both the original 500 and its later incarnation have appeared in a number of guises including as Abarth special editions. The later model, which underwent some restyling in 2016, has also been styled as a Riva version – after the eponymous boat-yard – please see here our previous post Fiat 500 Riva.
Images courtesy of Fiat
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