1970 Fiat 500 F
Today Fiat is a subsidiary of Stellantis, a company formed in 2021 that is a merger of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and the PSA Group or Peugeot SA. Stellantis is based in The Netherlands and includes the following brands in its stable: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall. Fiat, which is an abbreviation for ‘Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino’, has a fascinating and rich history dating back to 1899. It was founded by Italian entrepreneur Giovanni Agnelli on 11th July 1899. Later that year, the first ever Fiat production car, the Fiat 3½ HP was released. Over the next ten years Fiat went from strength to strength establishing itself as one of Europe’s major car manufacturers and the company was listed on the Milan stock exchange in 1903.
Over the last forty years the Fiat name has been synonymous with budget priced family cars. However, in the early years Fiat was recognised as building some of the world’s very best cars. In the early 1900’s a Fiat cost more than four times the price of a Ford Model T. Post World War II Fiat built some ‘world class’ sporting cars, including the Fiat 8V or ‘Otto Vu’ of which just over 100 examples were built from 1952 through until 1954. Fiat always built cars with a sporting pedigree and many of their models were offered as a saloon, coupe or cabriolet.
In 1936 Fiat introduced the Fiat 500 A Topolino (or ‘little mouse’) which was then the smallest mass-produced car in the world. Its low price made it accessible to people who had never before been able to afford a car. These fabulous little cars pioneered what is today referred to as ‘budget priced small cars’. In addition to the 2-door sedan, there was also a transformable version with a sunroof and a van version originally created for the army.
The post-war period saw the launch of the 500 B in 1948, boasting a new engine and various technical innovations to improve performance and efficiency. But the novelty lay in its giardiniera version, a genuine compact family car with 4 seats and a big loading space when the back seat was down. The 500 C arrived in 1949, with an aluminium cylinder head, a heating system and especially a more modern body, in which the headlights were sunk into the front guards. The Topolino morphed into the Fiat 600 in 1955 and the Fiat 500 ‘Nuova’ in 1957. The ‘Nuova’ was produced from 1957 through untill 1961. It featured a fabric roof which folded down to the rear of the vehicle, suicide doors and was powered by a 497cc engine generating 13 hp. The 500 ‘Nuova’ was succeeded by the 500 D, which was produced from 1960 through until 1965. This was the last model with suicide doors. In 1965 the Fiat 500 F or Berlina was introduced. The 500 F was produced from 1965 through until 1973 and the fabric roof was also changed and now only covered half of the roof. It also has an uprated engine bored out to 499 cc generating 18hp.
The Fiat 500 was available as a two door ‘saloon’ as well as a two door ‘station wagon’ or ‘estate’ (Giardiniera).
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for a sale a 1970 Fiat 500 F two door ‘saloon’.
This Fiat 500 F‘s early history is not known, however, it is understood to have been a long term Perth car. The current owner acquired the car in March 2008 and at that time the odometer read 68,132 km and the car was registered in WA as 1CRG951.
Shortly after acquiring the car it had some mechanical problems. In 2009, with the odometer reading 68,213km, the engine was completely rebuilt with oversize pistons and the cylinder head was reconditioned. All this work was done by Brisbane based Fiat specialist APF Motors. Other work done included the installation of a new front bumper bar (which was damaged when the car was transported from Perth to Brisbane), fitting of seat belts in the front & rear, fitting new muffler brackets and reconditioned the starter motor.
In 2018 the brakes were completely overhauled including the installation of a new brake master cylinder, new front wheel cylinders, new brake hoses and new brake shoes. In 2019 the wheels were refurbished and a new set of Michelin X tyres where fitted.
Today this car presents well. The ‘rosso’ paintwork is vibrant and from say a meter it looks fabulous as you will see from the photos. On closer inspection there are some minor defects in the paint, most noticeably some small ‘pimples’, particularly on the bonnet. The exterior trim and all of the glass is in good condition. The fabric soft top is also in good condition and it seals well. The interior in these little Fiats is basic, yet charming. There is only the speedo in the instrument binnacle, which is in excellent condition. All of the controls on this car are in working order. In this particular example the white instrument binnacle and white steering wheel create a nice contrast with the red dashboard. The upholstery is all in good condition with no rips or tears. Surprisingly, the seats are relatively comfortable given their simplicity.
Driving a Fiat 500 is always great fun! These little cars have a huge cuteness factor and whilst they are small, they certainly stand out on the open road! You can’t help but get noticed by other road users and pedestrians wherever you go. There’s always lots of finger pointing and smiles as you drive on by!
The starting procedure is simple. You put the key in the ignition and turn it clockwise. These cars have a choke lever and starter lever, both located between the seats. Pull the choke lever up, then pull the starter lever and the little 499cc engine bursts to life immediately. It takes a few seconds for the engine to warm up and once it has you can push the choke handle back and the engine will settle into a smooth idle.
It’s time for a test drive! Whilst on paper the 499cc engine doesn’t have a lot of power, the car doesn’t weigh much and as a result it is quite zippy and surprisingly easy to drive in modern day traffic. The engine is strong and the car has no issue accelerating ‘hard’ up to 60 km/h and beyond when necessary! The gearbox has no synchro so it takes a little getting used to. You soon get the hang of how to drive the car and the lost art of double de-clutching gets you up and down the gearbox smoothly. This car handles well and the brakes pull the car up effectively in a straight line.
Accompanying the car is a Fiat 500 instruction manual, an owners workshop manual and a history file with receipts of the work done since the car was purchased in 2008. There is also a spare wheel and jack.
Today the odometer reads 68,794 km, confirming the car has been used sparingly throughout the current owners 13+ years of ownership.
- a well presented and well maintained example of an iconic car
- mechanically sorted and ready to use and enjoy.
- recently fitted with new tyres
- only 580 km travelled since the engine was rebuilt.
La dolce vita indeed!
- Fiat 500 F
- 68,794 km