18 May 1998
1953 FIAT 500C BELVEDERE ESTATE CAR
Chassis No. TBA
Green with red interior
Engine: four cylinder, 570cc overhead valves, 16.5bhp at 4,400rpm; Gearbox: manual four speed; Suspension: independent with transverse half elliptic leaf spring and wishbones, rear live axle with quarter elliptic leaf springs; brakes: four-wheel hydraulic. Left hand drive.
The Fiat 500 Topolino derived from an economy car design competition launched by Fiat Chairman Senator Giovanni Agnelli in 1933 in which he invited designers from all divisions of the company to take part. In 1934 a winner emerged, designed by the talented Dante Giacosa with help from Fiat's aviation people. Underneath the tiny car's charming, windcheating bodyshell was a clever amalgam of conventional and original ideas, beautifully engineered and entirely practical. In 1948 the first Giardinera estate car came along with half-timbered two-door and rear-gate body. A roll-back fabric roof section, that much-loved feature of the first Topolinos, was still provided. With well-judged restyling in the front and rear and useful improvements such as built-in heater, the 500 contrived to remain up-to-date season after season. A two-door all steel 500C Belvedere estate wagon arrived in 1951 with front bucket seats and folding rear bench. Even before the end, the 500, particularly the estate versions, had achieved cult status and today good examples are highly prized for their appealing looks and capable manners. Described as in "beautiful" condition, the Belvedere has been owned and restored by the proprietor of a restoration shop. A rebuilt replacement engine will be fitted before the sale.
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