“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 500.“
Happy Birthday Babe!
Sixty years old and still looking the same little and pretty as ever: it’s the 500 , “il Cinquino”, a long way and a lot of travel since 1957. A myth and a legend that embodies the beginning of the “new” world as we witnessed from the second half of the end of the century onwards.
And we all still love it a lot, and it is not only for the sweet memories of our childhood and adolescence or for the many movies we watched where our preferred movies stars where driving around in the 500 “Fiat bambino” , as the Americans nicknamed the car. And only who drove a Fiat 500 knows what it is a “doppietta“ the double clutching and double declutching to change gears, fun for many, a nightmare for others!
The 500 came out in July 1957 and the “Autostrada del sole” , the longest highway connecting the North to the South of Italy, was ready only in 1964, as the tangible sign of the ecomonic boom of those days, and the first rides and trips in a Fiat 500 were kind of pilgrimages, bravely sit in a really tiny passenger car and not so really confortable seats, to cross Italy and feel the freedom of a new era.
Ads were infact promoting the little car as the tool to be and feel free to move, to travel, to meet people and to visit new places. A revolution in the customs and traditions of the Italians in the post-war times.
Celebrities and famous people too were captivated by this little car and many of them have been seen and photographed inside a Fiat 500. And for over 60 years, from the Dolce Vita days till today, Fiat 500 acted as a co-star in many movies, among them :
I tartassati, 1959, di Steno, Mamma Roma, 1962, di Pier Paolo Pasolini , Effetto notte, 1973, di François Truffaut and the great Vittorio Gassman in the movie C’eravamo tanto amati (1974) di Ettore Scola
In 1972 the production was suspended, and people started to collect them, as they could not separate themselves from these very pretty little cars . The old Fiat 500 are sold at vintage and old cars auctions at very high prices, last sold in UK was paid over 40.000,00 Euro. Not bad for a little one! So these days the treasured Fiat 500 has become a real “treasure “ by all means, especially in London and UK. Then in 2004 the 500 was brought back to life, but a new one, which changed “dress and accessories” to become a more updated version with a look more suitable for the times, but always and still mantaining its true essence of “sweetheart” you cannot do without, these days it’s the cute and cool city car which has charmed and attracted also the Millennials.
And when in Florence, you can rent a real old Fiat 500 and drive around plunging into the past while enjoying the ride and the beautiful landscape. Have fun!
From La Dolce Vita :: by Cinzia Azzerboni