1970 FIAT 500L Saloon Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. 2442840 Engine no. 2554401
Replacement for FIAT's much-loved 500 'Topolino', the Nuova 500 debuted in 1957. A radical departure from its predecessor's essentially pre-war design, FIAT's new baby featured unitary construction, an opening fabric roof and all-independent suspension while carrying its engine at the rear. The 479cc power unit was an air-cooled overhead-valve twin and the gearbox a four-speeder. The basic 500's austerity was not well received, prompting the introduction of a revised and better equipped version endowed with refinements such as wind-down windows, upholstered rear seat, column-mounted switch gear stalks and hubcaps. Introduced in 1960, the 500D used the 499.5cc engine of the 500 Sport in de-tuned form. In 1965 it was superseded by the 500F, the latter's altered bodywork incorporating front-hinged doors and a shortened sunroof, while mechanical improvements included a strengthened transmission. Maximum power increased to 22bhp and the top speed to within a whisker of 60mph.
Introduced in 1968 alongside the standard 500F, the deluxe 500L, while mechanically identical, came with exterior cosmetic enhancements and an improved interior featuring new instrument panel, seats and floor covering. An immense success for FIAT, almost 3,000,000 of these adorable little cars had been sold when production ceased in 1975. The 500 remains as popular today as it ever was, and a few years ago was voted 'Sexiest Car' by the readers of Top Gear magazine.
This FIAT 500L is currently in the hands of only its second owner. The first owner was a senior police official in Palermo, Italy, an enthusiast for classic cars, who gave the FIAT to his wife. She, however, preferred a more modern Mercedes-Benz and so the little FIAT was kept for many years as part of the owner's private collection, from which it was purchased by the vendor. A highly original example, the car had been well cared for by the first owner's staff and thus was an excellent candidate for restoration, having a solid body. Completed in the summer of 2015, the rebuild consumed numerous new parts of original specification, while the engine had been maintained in good condition and is original, as is the interior. The latter had been removed and another interior fitted when the car was first used on the road; it has since been refitted. We are advised that, in total, more than 7,000 has been spent on the restoration (some bills available).