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Snapshot, 1957: An Italian alien lands on British soil

It’s July 1957, and underneath a typically overcast sky at Brands Hatch, a pack of automotive journalists has surrounded an Italian oddity — the new Fiat 500. Surely the public won’t be interested in this tiny Turin tearaway?

It may look far removed from its Topolino forefather, and with its gaping sunroof slid back, suicide doors wide open, tiny trunk and equally tiny 479cc air-cooled engine on display, the little Fiat looks more like a children’s toy than a car of the people. But little do the assembled press know, Fiat will go on to sell almost four million 500s over an 18-year production run, cementing the car’s place in history as an automotive icon all before a rebirth of the model some 50 years later. She may not offer the most captivating performance around this British racetrack, but the 500 is going to be sticking around for some time…

Photo: Edward Miller/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Should you wish to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the little Fiat in style, there's a selection of Fiat 500s for sale in the Classic Driver Market.