In 1965 FIAT introduced an up-dated version of the Nuova 500: the 500F Berlina. Finally updating the suicide doors to more modern and practical front hinged versions, it also had a shorter sunroof than the earlier D model. Mechanical improvements included a strengthened gearbox, a power increase to a heady 22bhp at 4,400rpm, and the top speed increase to within a whisker of 60mph. Production continued until 1972, by which time a staggering three million FIAT 500s of all types had been produced.
Imported and first registered in July 2006 the Fiat is thought to have been treated to a major restoration soon after it arrived. The first UK owner kept the car until 2015 when it became part of a small collection owned by a hotel owner near Bedford. Skip forward to mid-2020 and the little Fiat was offered as 1st prize in a raffle. The vendor bought a ticket for £10, and subsequently forgot about it. Much to his surprise he answered the phone on New Year’s Day 2021 to hear that he was the winner of the 1st prize –one Fiat 500F!
On the 26th January the Fiat arrived by transporter outside his house, and the driver unloaded it onto the road. The lucky winner then drove it the few feet from the road onto his driveway where it has been since, under a decent cover. He says there are two reasons he hasn’t driven it any further; firstly there is a Corvette that is his first love sitting in the garage! Secondly, the Fiat is “just not his kind of thing” as it is a little short of cubic capacity!
So it’s being offered for sale, and somebody will become the lucky 3rd UK owner of a nicely restored Fiat 500.
As is quite often the case with imported cars there isn’t much in the folder from its earlier life in Italy. There is a set of Italian insurance certificates dating from 1996 to 2005 which upon investigation may reveal more of the Fiat’s past. A set of UK tax discs from 2006 to 2014 are present but don’t give us much more info, plus details of the raffle competition from 2020. Unfortunately there is nothing that tells us about the restoration once it arrived in the UK. There is an MOT certificate valid until 17th December 2021, and a V5c in the Vendors name.
The interior is in a very presentable condition overall, and has obviously had plenty of money and time invested. There are still a few small details to be addressed but nothing that would stop the Fiat being used immediately. Some parts including the gear stick, ashtray, seat frames and pedals look to have missed the restorer’s attention, so a little time spent on these items would be an easy way to improve the overall look. The steering wheel has been leather wrapped, and although it’s likely to have been done in period, perhaps it too could do with attention.
The black vinyl seats are all in excellent condition, and there are 3 point seat belts in the front, none in the rear. The grey carpet is clean as is the headlining. The simple folding sunroof looks to be a new replacement, and opens and closes correctly.
The outside of the Fiat is nearly perfect, in fact if it were any better you might be inclined not to drive it. The baby blue paint has been well executed with no orange peel areas or runs and it looks to have been well prepared which shows in the shine and finish. New door rubbers have yet to “give” which means the doors need a good push to close. Generally the panel fit is as good as you would want it. The chrome work, bumpers, badging and glass are all in excellent condition.
The wheels are all freshly painted, the hubcaps undented, and the tyres are all nearly new Continentals all round. The car cover seen in the photographs will come with the car.
Although we were unable to drive the Fiat when we visited we did hear it start and run and it sounds to be in good health. The engine bay is clean, with plenty of new parts in evidence. There are new gaskets and wires and it looks like the engine has been reconditioned at some stage. There are no tell-tale drips or stains to be seen.
In this particular case the Vendor hasn’t driven the car further than from the end of his driveway (which is about 30 feet!) so we can’t say how it drives, but there is nothing to suggest that all is not well; it is just begging to be used.
When it comes to appeal few cars have more! Not many cars are “cute” –although not our favourite word, you have to admit that the 500 has it! With looks that appeal to all generations, simple mechanics with great parts availability, and an involving and amusing driving experience it’s no coincidence that values continue to creep up. Plus it’s one of the few cars that will actually fit a modern garage! So much more fun than an ISA!
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