1950 Fiat 500

C Giardineria Legno

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1950
  • Mileage 
    29 955 km / 18 614 mi
  • Car type 
    Station Wagon
  • Chassis number 
    500C*233062
  • Engine number 
    500B*237262
  • Lot number 
    114
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Original Condition
  • Exterior brand colour 
    Metallic Beige
  • Metallic 
    Yes
  • Interior colour 
    Red
  • Interior type 
    Leather
  • Number of doors 
    3
  • Number of seats 
    4
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

The Fiat 500, popularly called "Topolino", is without doubt one of the most famous Italian cars. In 1930, Benito Mussolini had summoned Senator Giovanni Agnelli to inform him of the "imperative need" to motorise the Italians with a cheap car that did not cost more than 5,000 lire. Concerned about the difficult task, which he wasn’t too keen to take on, Agnelli put the matter back to the designers of the FIAT technical office who divided themselves into two opposing currents of thought. The first one believed it was possible to achieve the aim with technologies and schemes already used by FIAT, thus saving money on equipment and materials. The second, considering that the Turin company was not able to supply a suitable product in a short time, proposed to entrust the project to Oreste Lardone, an imaginative technical student of Giulio Cesare Cappa, who had already made an interesting prototype of a small economic car for the Itala. At the beginning, Fiat's management decided to experiment both solutions. It commissioned the technical department to proceed with the design of the model with company standards and, at the same time, hired Oreste Lardone, assigning him a small group of technicians and workers with whom to develop his own mechanical theories. Lardone's ideas were simple and clear: the new car should have four seats and a 500 cm³ air-cooled twin-cylinder engine with front wheel drive. It was the summer of 1931 when the prototype of the "500 - tutto avanti" was ready for its first outing with the test driver, the designer and Senator Agnelli on board, eager to check the product and telegraph the good news to Mussolini. The car came out of the Lingotto and drove a few kilometres, but on the Cavoretto climb, an engine fire forced the occupants to jump out. The accident was probably due to a trivial fuel leak, but Agnelli ordered that front wheel drive be banned forever from FIAT, while Lardone was fired. The design of the small car continued without enthusiasm until Mussolini's visit to FIAT in October 1932, which reminded Agnelli of his commitment. The “finest” of the FIAT design office, Antonio Fessia and Tranquillo Zerbi, were convinced that Lardone's "forbidden" idea was the right one and they didn't want to go on with a project that was clearly wrong just to support the senator's prejudice. It was Fessia himself who turned the assignment over to Dante Giacosa - a young engineer who had already been his assistant in designing the "Balilla" - aware that he was the right man. Thus was born a micro-car with shapes inspired by those of the famous Beetle with an engine of 13 horsepower and 85km/h speed. Thanks to its rounded shapes, its balanced and compact volumes and its low cost, it soon became an icon that lasted over time.
In 1949, a new model, the 500C, was presented at the Genoa Motor Show. The bodywork was entirely redone to make it more modern. The front end was compact and strong, with large headlamps recessed in the bodywork. The front and rear bumper in chrome-plated steel with rostrums. The spare wheel was no longer visible, but located in a comfortable compartment under the boot, allowing the central positioning of the rear number plate. The interior remained similar to the B version, with the same dashboard and cabinetry, but the heating became standard. The engine head was built with aluminium instead of cast iron. With these changes, it became a wonderful model that continued to be produced for a long time, both for aesthetic taste and comfort. It won everyone over with its ability to carry four people plus luggage and by reclining the backrest of the rear seat, the loading space became really remarkable.
The car offered here is a marvellous Fiat 500C in the prestigious Giardiniera Legno wooden trim in metallic beige with a red imitation leather interior. Registered for the first time in 1950 in Varese, in 1961 it was purchased by a gentleman from the Marche region where it remained for the following 70 years. In 2004, it changed owners one last time but in fact never moved from its home, as it was bought by a friend and neighbour of the former owner, who continued to keep it with the highest care as the car had covered only 29,955 km in 70 years, and that had never been subject to any kind of restoration. Yes, because the real peculiarity of this car lies in the conditions it is in: the car is in amazing condition, the body is still covered with the first factory paint, it has only a small bump on the left front and that’s all. The woods and the hardboard with which the sides and the tailgate (characteristic of this model) are covered show how they came out of the Fiat Special Bodywork Section. The tires mounted on its original fiat rims are still those of original equipment. The interiors are intact and original with some elements of absolute value such as the lining of the panels that is signed by the prestigious company Ebel of Turin. The mats that cover the interior are the original ones in rubber and coconut, the tools contained in the rear are still wrapped in the original cloth used by Fiat and have never been used. Even the screws on the car do not show signs of scratches from screwdrivers. In short, it is a true Italian masterpiece of the post-war period, in perfect condition, a rare jealously guarded pearl that for too long has been denied to the eyes of the world.