Over the past two years I have frequently mentioned the new Fiat 500. It’s a car that I like. This new Fiat 500 bears a great deal of similarity with the second generation Fiat 500 that was manufactured from 1957 to 1975. By the way, the first generation was the 500 Topolino which was a two-seat car with a 570cc side valve four-cylinder engine that first came out in 1936.
The second generation Fiat 500 cars, while quite common in many parts of the world, are not frequently seen in the USA. While these second generation Fiat 500 cars were made from 1957 to 1975, they were only commonly imported into the United States from 1957 to 1961.
1968 – 1972 Fiat 500 L
In the summer of 2012 I saw the Fiat 500 shown above at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation. I recall speaking with the owner who told me that the car had been recently restored. At that time the owner was interested in selling the car and I think that he was asking for something like $23,000 to $26,000. This seems a like pricy to me, but I’m no expert on Fiat 500 prices.
This Fiat 500 is actually a Fiat 500L which was made from 1968 to 1972. This might be the most comfortable of the Fiat 500 models. Some of the visual clues about this Fiat 500 model are the nerf bars on the bumpers and the square “Fiat” emblem at the front.
The Wheels Are Not Standard Fiat 500L Wheels
The Fiat 500L was powered by a rear-mounted 500cc engine that produced about 18 horsepower. With this amount of horsepower, thankfully the weight of these cars was only about 1,100 pounds. As a result, the 500cc engine would propel the Fiat 500L to a top speed of 95 km/k or just short of 60 miles per hour. The good news was that the Fiat 500 would get about 40 to 50 miles per US gallon.
The Fiat 500 Had The Engine In The Rear
The Fiat 500 cars were very economical to purchase. In 1961, the last year that the Fiat 500 was imported into the United States the selling price of the Fiat 500 was about $1,000, while at the same time, the Volkswagen 1200 sedan sold for $1,565.
The Canvas Sunroof Is A Nice Feature
The Fiat 500 had a non-synchronized 4-speed transmission which required double-clutching through all gears.
The Fiat 500 Interior Is Quite Spartan
The Fiat 500 was a very successful car for Fiat and this no doubt fed into Fiat’s decision to develop the current third generation Fiat 500.