The vehicle that transformed Italy, taking advantage of the wave of the ‘economic boom’ but also contributing to the same, the “Nuova 500”, was presented in 1957, exactly sixty years ago. In the first three years of its life it reached maturity both from a technical point of view as well as in terms of the market, and had over 181,000 customers.
Its growth was exponential and, as happened with the “Topolino”, the more were produced the easier and cheaper it became to produce them: 642,000 of the second series (500 D) were built and then, with the subsequent ones, a few million!
For almost thirty years the ‘Cinquecento’ was the absolute protagonist of many aspects of Italian history: from the economy, which it helped to grow, to social development, to art and cinema: today the Cinquecento is still a central part of the image countless lovers of Italy around the world have of our country.
With the 500 D, an example of which we are proposing at today’s auction, the engine of the Nuova 500 was increased from 479 to 499.5 cc and from 15 to 17.5 horsepower. The price had gone down from 465,000 Lire to 450,000: the phenomenon invented by Henry Ford was repeated according to which the higher the production the lower the costs, so it was possible to reduce the price for the end consumer whilst increasing the factory’s margin.
In the collectors’ world today, the “D” is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after models as it still has the rear hinged doors – which are very 1950s – but the mechanics are already more tried and tested.
The vehicle offered today is even more interesting as it features the rare transformable bodywork: i.e. the sun roof goes right down to the engine compartment, creating an almost spider-like opening. The Trasformabile had been planned ever since the launch of the Nuova 500 in 1957, but from 1959 it gave way to the more practical and less delicate ‘Sunroof’ version. The ‘Sunroof’ basically became the classic 500 that we all know and maybe even owned, given that the ‘Trasformabile’ was soon abandoned and the mass produced versions, after 1965, were all ‘Sunroofs’. The 500 presented here is therefore one of the very last produced with suicide doors, and has just been fully restored by a specialist workshop. They started with a car that was in good condition and completely took it apart. Each element was checked and, where possible, overhauled and reused. The engine and gearbox were totally renovated, as were the electrical system and all the vehicle’s other systems. All in all this is a new car having only been driven a few hundred kilometres for adjustment and running in.
In the year of the sixtieth anniversary of possibly the most important Italian car ever, today you have an opportunity to purchase a fantastic example of the most popular series in the rarest and most highly requested body style version: an unmissable occasion!
The vehicle is in excellent mechanical condition but, for safety reasons, we advise the purchaser to have it checked over.