Over the course of years and decades, an indelible link is sometimes forged between a car and its county of conception. Neither pulse-pumping leviathans of power, nor jaw-droppingly seductive in their beauty, the vast majority of these four-wheeled national symbols were – and have always been – cars for the everyman. Nevertheless, their historical and cultural significance is invariably unparalleled.
This select club of vehicles includes such household names as the era-defining and thoroughly British Mini, the revolutionary and unmistakably German ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle as well as the epitome of French chic, the Citroën DS. Looking south meanwhile, what of the motoring mad nation of Italy? There can surely be no more evocative symbol of la dolce vita than the sight of a Fiat 500 breezing its way through the cobbled streets of Rome or Florence?
The original Fiat 500, regarded by many as the first true city car, has been an enduring picture postcard favourite since its debut back in 1957. Even today, the sight of a classic 500 deftly negotiating its way through Italy’s towns and cities is by no means uncommon. Of course, a whole new generation has now grown up with the Fiat 500 in a fresh new guise. Reimagined for the model’s 50th anniversary in 2007, Fiat’s new-look 500 took joined the retro revolution ignited by the New Beetle and New BMW Mini before it.
Ten years on, and the Italian stable is marking the 500’s next big milestone by launching a special edition 500 convertible, the Fiat 500-60th .
To celebrate its diamond anniversary, the 500-60th sparkles in retro chic with a grey fabric roof and exclusive two-tone paintwork combining white with pastel ivory for the bonnet and upper section. Chrome mirror covers and special edition white 16-inch alloy wheels also evoke the decidedly 50s feel of the popular city car’s forbearer. Badged with vintage Fiat logos and a bespoke 500-60th icon, the period styling doesn’t end on the outside. The limited edition 500 melds mod cons like a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with smartphone connectivity as standard, a multi-function steering wheel and cruise control with bags of characterful, retro fittings. Highlights include the vinyl dashboard, 50s inspired ivory leather seats as well as distinctive 500-60th stamped kickplates.
Whilst the Fiat 500-60th’s design harks back to simpler times, its three efficient powertrain options remain thoroughly modern. On offer is the existing assortment of petrol engines, from the 69bhp 1.2-litre to the 0.9-litre TwinAir unit, available with either 85 or 105bhp. A standard manual gearbox is joined on the roster by Fiat’s Dualogic clutchless automatic transmission.
Exclusivity is very much the name of the game for this 60th anniversary edition of the new Fiat 500. Just 250 models will make their way to the UK this summer, making the drop-top 500-60th edition a real collector’s item. The price for this piece of history? £19,240 on the road, with first deliveries from showroom to driveway scheduled for early July.