Return of the Fiat 500

Fiat 500
Manufacturers and marketers have sucked the efficiency and economy out of the Vespa, Beetle, and Mini, by repositioning them as upscale nostalgia items, so you just knew the Fiat Cinquecento would be next. It’s weird that you have to dig around the site to find actual photos of the car itself. The interior is handsome, but the body is not mind-blowing, nor does it evoke the original as successfully as the other retro-vehicles on the market.

Update In the five minutes since I posted this I learned that the car will be built in Poland and will be fairly inexpensive compared to the Beetle and Mini. Plus, the design is growing on me, I didn’t notice the rolltop at first. I just think the appeal of the Mini and 500 was in the paint and chrome and that’s all gone.

8 thoughts on “Return of the Fiat 500”

  1. The update doesn’t surprise me, the factory in Tychy had been building the polish version of the 126 which was an update of the 500. But will a V-twin, rear mounted engine car make it to these shores? Highly unlikely. You’ll probably see a couple 126’s in the upcoming Polish Constitution Day Parade, they’re old and in need of replacement!

  2. I like it. Very clean and simple, imo. Plus, I like how Fiat is doing more than just cashing in on the old 500’s nostalgia appeal. Turning it into (what appears to be) a low cost city car like the Smart strikes me as a clever repurposing of the 500 for the 21st century that is completely in the spirit of the original’s concept.

    think that’s where the New Beetle, the Mini and even modern Vespas have missed the boat. They all worship at the altar of Design without maintaining their purpose. The only exception I’ve seen recently would be the Ford Mustang, which does an excellent job of honoring the design and purpose of the original in a 21st Century manner.

    In short, Fiat recognized the importance of the aesthetic but also recognized the 500s iconic status is more than just aesthetics — there is a purposefulness that the design must recognize, as well.

  3. I should note I never cared for the original 500s design very much. I thought it was too ungainly and cartoonish — especially when compared to the original Mini.

  4. exactly, al, that’s what sank in when I learned more… that it IS a utilitarian and low-cost vehicle, not an expensive retro plaything.

  5. Huh, am I the only one who thinks it looks like a scaled-down PT Cruiser?

    Maybe (hopefully, for I heart old Cinquecentos) it will look better in person. That was the case for me with the GT. I was able to get over the crazy ergo-banana-nomic seat and huge-ness face to face.


  6. I wont like it intil I see Valentino Rossi driving it in a rally car event with the Fiat “Yama” liverly. then it will be cool

  7. Damn skippy! Lets see that in blue and white with some Acer and Fastweb logos! What ever happened to Tinymotorworks?

  8. No rear-mounted v-twin for the new 500; it was developed in partnership with Ford (not unusual in the car biz these days) and shares its underlying architecture with a new Ford Ka (see the current one at to be introduced this year or next.

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