If ever there is a case of “Greater Love Hath no Man for His Topolino”, then this is it. Approached by a customer who wanted a perfect car, irrespective of market value, we have completed a full restoration on this lovely ‘little mouse’.
The Fiat 500, or Topolino as it was nicknamed in period, was produced by Fiat from 1936 to 1955, and was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of launch. Powered by a 569 cc straight 4 side valve (later OHV) engine, it proved to be hugely successful, both pre- and post war, with over 500,000 sold prior to the launch of its successor, the 600 and then the Nuevo 500. This tiny car, only 3.2 m long, has unexpectedly good interior space and exceptional all round vision. Whilst it is unlikely to break any land speed records, it has buckets of charm, and offers a buzzy and cheeky ride, best experienced on B-Roads and in town, rather than on the open motorways. These cars were extensively campaigned in period, including in the Mille Miglia. We are big fans.
After extensive consultation with the customer, we stripped the body to bare metal, repairing or replacing any corroded materials (lots), and painted the refurbished tub in ‘rosso scuro’ to concours standards. We sourced a number of missing or damaged parts, including the manual trafficators, and refinished various interior fittings. The interior was in surprisingly good condition and has simply been thoroughly cleaned, although a new hood was required and we have cut in a new set of rubber mats. A full engine rebuild was done, as was the gearbox, everything rechromed and the car is now set for a few more decades of enthusiastic use. Whilst these are commonly available cars, even today, you’re unlikely to find a better one on the road.
Remember the old adage – if it isn’t economic, it’s strategic. And if it isn’t strategic, it’s visionary.
Hats off to vision.