When the Fiat 500 Nuova appeared in 1957, longtime Fiat designer Dante Giacosa defended it by saying, “However small it might be, an automobile will always be more comfortable than a motor scooter.” Today though, the diminutive runabout needs no defense, for time has justified Giacosa’s faith—over four million 500s and derivatives were produced up … [Read more…]
For once Pininfarina was not the port of call for an Italian car company that wanted to create a stylish roadster. Instead, Fiat’s own central design studio handled the development of the Tipo B Spider 176 project. This tidy little sports car with its rounded contours and coupe-like soft-top was based on the Fiat Punto … [Read more…]
It was born in Italy as the Ritmo, but in Britain and North America it was called the Strada. For several years from 1978, this small family car appeared in equally dull versions whose only real claim to fame was that, thanks to Fiat’s pioneering investment in automated assembly, it could be advertised as ‘handbuilt … [Read more…]
There’s no getting away from it — the word ‘homologate’ had to be mentioned sooner or later, inevitably in a context involving Ferrari. Maranello was besotted with racing, but formulae in which Ferrari wished to compete required homologation — approval by the governing body (FIA) that a particular car is eligible to race.
It hasn’t actually been spotted around, but the ideal bumper sticker for a Fiat 124 would be MY OTHER CAR IS A LADA. For it’s the 124’s rebirth as Russia’s Lada BA3-2102/Zhiguli (later wisely shortened to Lada 1200, then Lada Riva) that puts the Fiat 124 series close to the top of the all-time bestseller … [Read more…]
This small rear-engined car was an important step in Fiat’s long march towards fully paid-up membership of the international car manufacturers’ club. The two-door Fiat 850 was introduced in 1964 to run alongside and eventually succeed the Fiat 600, that hugely successful Seicento city car produced between 1955 and 1969.
The Fiat 500 is art adorable bubble of a car conceived by a philosophy so successful that in 2007 it was relaunched in its umpteenth incarnation. The philosophy was originally dictated by post-World War II economics. Fiat took its prewar 500 (the ‘Topolino’, of 1936) and created the first true ‘city car’, capable (just) of … [Read more…]