A car to be remembered by Italians and car aficionados alike, the original Fiat 500 was a revolutionary car in many respects, and is considered to many one of the most strikingly beautiful cars in the world. It is no surprise then, that Fiat wasn’t going to let the “cinquecento” name go to waste for much longer. Exactly 50 years after the original auto was released on July 4th, 1957, so is the new model, the 2007 Fiat Nuova 500. Sure, there have been 500’s between the original and this one, but there is a special connection between this and the original.
The original car was also first named the Fiat Nuova 500, but as this retro styled beauty came out of concepts and pictures into a real production car, the name decided to be true to the original in many respects. This is still a very compact city car by today’s standards, being 11.6 feet long, 5.3 feet wide, 4.8 feet high, and a wheelbase of 7.5 feet and weighs 1,900 up to 2,100 lbs. In turn, the mileage of this car is outstanding due to its small weight and a choice of three gas-thrifty engines available, from a gas-sipping 68hp engine to a quick and peppy 99hp engine, with an Abarth version on the way as well for even more power.
There are a lot of styling cues that have returned from the original, like the rear license plate light holder, and the “whiskers” on the front end of the car, but obviously this car is all new. Like the Volkswagen New Beetle, Mini Cooper. and the Ford Mustang, retro cars are on the rise, the likes of which we have never seen before. Think about it, these are the first cars to look awfully similar to their originally designed predecessors, and its a trend that is catching on in a big way. The New Beetle, it seems, was the first to come across a new design that mimicked the original, but it certainly will not be the last.
The other part that made this car so special was the design of the car came not only from Fiat, but from internet browsers all over the world. Fiat made a special site dedicated to just the 500, from everything to building your own concept of the car that you felt was the best, to creating logos, graphic stencils for the body, colors, and much more. With almost everything on the car, there was a chance to voice your opinion, which in turn created an even more people friendly car than before. There are 12 colors to choose, tons of options, from wheels to graphics, even the steering wheel has three choices for color, and an iPod jack, a navigation center, and believe it or not, a fragrance dispenser that sits in one of the cupholders. In all, there are a bit more than 500,000 combinations to personalize your Fiat 500, an important and growing trend in the car market today.
According to a reliable source, the first batch of Fiat 500’s has been sold out completely (in three weeks!) at 57,000 units, and they are only available to the Italian market at the time of the writing of this article. There are plans to up production to nearly 140,000 units from other Fiat production facilities, and that is only for the Italian market. To be prepared for the demand for the car, Fiat may need to drastically change its facilities in order to sell as many as these cars as possible, because the car will debut in the rest of Europe at later times, depending on each country.
The little car is truly a sight to behold, a sign of the times to come, and an absolute perfect example of excellent engineering with an emphasis on the design of the car itself. From the soft lines that give the car a more sturdy look, to classic cues from the original to really set it off. The car is a classic and brand new at the same time, and not only is it a quality car, but a beautiful one. Unfortunately, according to an Italian magazine regarding the car, the Fiat 500 will not be coming to the United States for quite some time, the CEO of Fiat Sergio Marchionne declared “Sooner or later it is a possibility that the 500 will arrive on the American market,” and also said “but it will not happen now, probably after 2010.” We can only hope it does!
By Daniel Lora