The Fiat 500 is classified as a city car and is manufactured by Italian carmaker Fiat, initially launched in 1957 and discontinued in 1975. Sales for this car started in July of 1957 and it was marketed as an inexpensive and practical town car, measuring only 2.97 meters or 9×9 feet and was powered by a 479 cc two-cylinder air-cooled engine which contributed to the uniqueness of the 500, as its internal components changed the way that cars like it were defined.
In 1949 the Fiat 500 was released and it featured a 2-door coupe body with a sunroof which was complimented by the an Estate or Station Wagon version which was released later on. Both of these vehicles continued to be made until 1954 when they were replaced with a new much lighter body which featured a rear-engine design like the kind that the Volkswagen Beetle has. There were other carmakers who followed this type of unconventional engine design in their vehicles and were quite successful in doing so. Despite its somewhat large size, the Fiat 500 was an immensely practical vehicle and became extremely popular in countries throughout Europe.
Other than the 2-door coupe version of this vehicle, there was also a “Giardiniera” station wagon which used a standard engine laid on its side as well as a wheelbase that was lengthened by 10 cm for a more convenient rear set setup as well as larger brakes and a full-length sunroof. The sports model versions of the Fiat 500 were produced by Abarth along with Giannini. An Australian variant of this car, which was produced by Steyr-Daimler-Puch in 1957 to 1973, used a Punch boxer twin motor which was derived from that of a motorcycle.
Production of the Fiat 500 came to an end in 1975, even though the Fiat 126, which was its replacement, came out two years prior. Although the 126 did have a lot to offer in terms of its interior components and a stylish exterior design, it never attained the same level of popularity as its predecessor, at least in Italy. The Fiat 500 has a Cx aerodynamic resistance coefficient of 0.38, which made for excellent performance, especially during that time. The Nuova model, which was made from 1957-1960, featured a small two-cylinder engine that was smaller than all of the other newer models at the time. This engine clocked in at 479 cc with the ability to produce just 13 bhp.
The D model Fiat 500, which was manufactured from 1960 to 1965, replaced the original Nuova in 1960 but still looks very similar to it with a few exceptions. One of the differences between these two vehicles is the engine size, with the D features an uprated 499 cc engine capable of producing 17 bhp, and the roof which does not fold back on the D model as far as back as it does on the Nuovo.
The K or Giardiniera model of the 500, produced from 1960 to 1975, was the estate version of this vehicle and also the longest running. The engine in this car is located under the floor of the boot so as to create a flat loading surface inside. The roof of this vehicle stretches all the way to the rear and does not stop above the driver and front passenger like it does in similar models of the same time period. The K features what are sometimes referred to as “suicide doors” and was the only model to to keep the same door design well into the 70s. When it comes right down to it, the Fiat 500 was a very popular and solid vehicle that will go down in history as a true classic.