Fiat - Fiat 500

The tiny Fiat 500 "Nuova" introduced in 1957, was a modern unitary construction chassis car with a twin cylinder air cooled engine of 479cc., yet capable of carrying 4 people. The new Fiat 500 Cinquecento was so much smaller than the previous Fiat 500cc Topolino (that dated back to 1936) that had stayed on in production in various forms until 1957 when the new Fiat 500 Nuova Cinquecento replaced it. Note that the new Fiat 500 came into being well after the rear engined water cooled 600 (introduced 1955) and was a totally new design by the same Dante Giacosta, sharing nothing with any other Fiat model. Throughout the Fiat 500's long production the car had minor alterations as the years went on, and below we list these different Fiat 500 models and when they were made:

-  Fiat Nuova (1957 to 1961). This model had the "suicide" front opening doors and a fabric roof that could slide back to the top of the boot lid. The initial problems with driveshafts breaking were solved and the engine power improved from its original 13 to 15bhp with new camshafts, compression and carburettor work. The Fiat 500 was available in the UK by 1958 for £556, compared to some £300 in Italy, no doubt due to UK Purchase tax and import Duty from Europe.

- Fiat Nuova 500 Sport (1958 to 1960). "The car for the enthusiast" as it was advertised! With displacement increased to 499.5cc and a producing a healthier 21.5bhp this Fiat 500 had a maximum speed of 68 mph. The new engine now had steel cams (not cast iron) for the extra lift and special valves along with a revised combustion chamber design. For extra rigidity this Fiat 500 had an all metal roof with 3 strengthening ridges, although later models did come with a shortened sunroof that ended at the door pillars, these features making for a sturdy chassis. The Fiat 500 Sport came in only one colour combination of grey with a red flash on the side of the body. By the time it was offered to the public the model had won its class at the 12 hours of Hockenheim.

- Fiat 500 D (1960 to 1965). Aside from Fiat producing the Giardiniera and the Fiat 500 Nueva Sport, the first real change to the Fiat 500 came with the Fiat 500D, when the 499.5cc engine was universally adopted (rated at 17.5hp) and now fitted with Weber carburetion. The Fiat 500D identifying features were the short sunroof and much larger rear lamps. A reworked fuel tank also allowed for a little more room under the bonnet. Internally, foot wells appeared for the rear passengers and the rear seats could fold down to help carry things behind the front seats. As the years progressed so other improvements were added such as windscreen washer, interior light while ergonomics of the instruments changed.

- Fiat 500F (1965 to 1973) With a small increase in power Fiat claimed 59mph and a fuel economy of 51mpg, although when tested shortly after by "The Motor" magazine it was actually capable of 64mph and returned nearly 54 mpg. It was the Fiat 500D model that first saw the door hinges to the front brought about due to new Italian safety regulations. This change allowed the altered body to have thinner door pillars and at the same time a taller screen was added which increased the height by 10mm. There were other changes with improved drive shafts and heavier duty clutch, slimmer sills and altered bonnet. And for the first time right hand drive cars had the windscreen wipers going the correct way! When the Fiat 500 L was introduced in 1967, the 500 F carried on but as the less expensive option in the Fiat 500 range.

- Fiat 500L (1967 to 1971). By the time nearly 1.7 million Fiat 500's had been sold, the Fiat 500L was announced. L stood for Lusso, or translated from Italian, Luxury. These cars can be distinguished from the Fiat 500F by the new rectangular badge on the front, the new nudge bars over the bumpers (which increased the overall length of the 500L by 50mm) and the new rectangular instrument cluster, which now incorporated a fuel gauge - real luxury at last! There were many other features such as carpets replacing the practical rubber mats along with redesigned seats and fully reclining passenger seat as well as slightly smaller and different hub caps. The Fiat 500L was the first model to offer the introduction of radial ply tyres, size 125R12, the tread pattern for which Blockley uses on their Fiat 500 tyres.

- Fiat 500 R (1971 to 1975). The final model of Fiat 500 which had the larger air cooled twin 600cc, tuned to give no more power but to do this at lower engine revs, but producing more useful torque. With less frills than the Fiat 500L, and fitted with the crash box of the Fiat 500F it was the fastest model yet, but not long after when the new Fiat 126 was unveiled the 500R was sold alongside, until the long life of the Fiat 500 line came to a close, with total sales of the Cinquecento being some 3.25 million units.

Fiat 500 Giardiniera (1960 to 1977) which was an estate version of the Fiat500. Due to the extra size and weight the 499.5cc engine was used and to get the flat floor needed the engine was turned on it's side. This meant room for 4 adults along with some luggage, or two adults and 200 kilos worth of luggage space. Production of the Fiat 500 Giardiniera was transferred to Autobianchi in 1967 and continued at this Fiat company subsidiary until 1977, being renamed the Autobiachi Giardiniera, available also as a panelled van. This Fiat 500 model also featured the forward opening doors.

As an aside there was also the Autobianchi Bianchina range that was also based on the Fiat 500. There was the saloon (Berlina), cabriolet and Transformabile, the Panoramica and a couple of versions of  van called the  Furgoncino.

The Fiat 500 was also built by NSU with different bodywork called the NSU/Fiat Weinsberg 500 or Neckar Weinsberg 500 between 1959 and 1963. In addition there was also Steyr-Puch who built Fiat 500 with their version of the Steyr-Puch Haflinger engine in the back. The Fiat 500 was also built by Simca and in Italy Autobianchi as already mentioned. And let us not forget the Abarth versions of the Fiat 500 with the larger 695cc engines built between 1964 and 1971.

The Fiat 500 tyre size was originally cross ply 4.90x12 which is radial equivalent 125R12 size, which was later also fitted by Fiat. We have a Fiat 500 ourselves, and so we have produced the best 125R12 that is possible to make. This tyre has been produced with a whitewall. The quality of this 125R12 tyre is exceptional and its low price is only because we sell direct to the end user, rather than through the tyre wholesalers who need to add a margin. That is why our Blockley whitewall tyre costs very little more than a standard tyre! We have also made a thicker high quality correct dimensioned butyl inner tube for those that need inner tubes, which are unlike anything else available, after we could not source anything that we liked. See full details of this exceptional 125R12 Fiat 500 tyre below:

Blockley Products for Fiat Fiat 500

125R12 White Wall

Blockley Radial

£75.00 (£90.00 inc. VAT)

125/145x12 TR13 extra thick butyl Inner Tube

£12.00 (£14.40 inc. VAT)