5 June 2003
This lot is offered without a reserve
1965 FIAT 500 GIARDINIERA
Chassis No. 120.0097388
Sky blue with red and white vinyl interior
Engine: twin cylinder, horizontally opposed, 499cc., 22bhp at 4,600rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual and reverse; Suspension: independent front by wishbones, transverse semi-elliptic springs, rear quarter-elliptic springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Steeped in character, lively, great fun to drive, the tiny Fiat 500 was a familiar sight across Europe for well over twenty years after its launch in 1934. It could be glimpsed for a generation after that in Italy's ancient cities, snugly parked in a corner of a byway too tortuous for any larger automobile. The idea of a practical, modern, economy car had been proposed by Fiat Chairman Giovanni Agnelli in 1933 when he had invited engineers from all divisions of the company to participate in a competition to create a sensible new type of economy model. In the following year an idea by the promising Dante Giacosa was chosen for production. With input from Fiat's aviation division, the car was a neat combination of well-tried and forward-looking features along with well-considered engineering all wrapped up in a wind-cheating bodyshell. The Fiat 500 opened up a new market and sold briskly.
The adaptable Giardiniera estate variant first appeared in 1960 when styling was updated and a heater option was offered. The idea was to provide greater cargo area as well as more shoulder and leg room for 4 adults to travel, relatively speaking, in comfort. The concept of positioning the engine under the cargo floor was neat. Top speed was a quoted 95kph, although that might have been slightly optimistic for the 17.5 horsepower motor and a full payload!
This example has benefited from a full nut and bolt restoration in Italy using new old stock parts which was completed in 2000. The little car is described as being completely rust free and the restoration was both mechanical and cosmetic. Painted in sky blue with a red and white vinyl interior, it has traveled no more than 1,000 miles since the work was finished. Optional extras include the front over-rider bar to the bumper, heater with demister and the full length folding sunshine roof. The front opening 'suicide' doors are testament to the pre-war design origins. Evocative of La Dolce Vita, few of these ultra-rare Giardiniera versions exist in the US. This might be the ideal machine for nipping around the paddock at Laguna Seca or taking the family out for a picnic.
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This lot is offered without reserve.
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