The Fiat 500, or in Italian Cinquecento, was an exceptionally popular urban model, which was produced from 1957 to 1975. With the length of 297 cm and the 2-cylinder 479 c.c., air-cooled, it was the ideal choice for the narrow streets of the city centers of the Italian metropolises. It is rightly considered to be one of the first urban cars at all, because it has attracted many fans with affordable cost and functionality and has been sold in nearly 3.9 million units.
On the occasion of the 50th birthday celebration in 2007, the reincarnated Fiat 500 arrived, which many, ignorantly, called the successor of Fićo. The popular model on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, Fićo, is actually the Fiat 600 manufactured by the Zastava factory under license. He was equally likable, but not nearly as charming and as good as the Fiat 500. Nevertheless, it can’t be denied that Fićo is the first responsible for the motorization of most of the people of the former state. The difference between Fićo and Cinquecento are also visible in numerous technical details, so he can freely be called a crude version.
The original Fiat 500 emerged as the successor to the Fiat 500 Topolino and was succeeded by Fiat 126. Although using low-powered engines, the 500 kg weight was quite lively and fun. The short wheelbase contributed to agility, and the successful concept was applied by others.
The Fiat 500 Topolino, which was produced from 1936 to 1955, was sold in more than half a million copies and therefore hit a good foundation. He was one of the smallest cars in the world, and was created by Fiat’s main constructor Dante Giacos. Although Topolino had a front drive, Giacosa managed to persuade the then Fiat leaders that 500 should be shifted to the rear. The first versions had only 13.5 hp but still managed to achieve a solid 85 km/h.
The design seems likable nowadays as well, so it can be considered truly amazing. The caravan version of Giardinier, which had the engine shifted to the side and a 10 cm bigger wheelbase, so that the rear bench could become fully usable was pretty popular as well. The Fiat 500 was constantly improving, and in 1958 its power was increased to 15 hp, and a model with 594 c.c. engine that could develop 21.5 hp was introduced as well.
The most important change occurred in 1965 when the standard opening door started to be built-in, unlike the original that had the opposite, in other words the so-called Suicide door. In the same year, the base engine power was increased to 19 hp, so the highest speed was 95 km / h.
Although the production of Fiat 500 hasn’t stopped until 1975, the Fiat 126, popularly called Peglica, was introduced in 1972. Peglica’s level of success in Italy, was nowhere near the success of Fiat 500, but the 126 model was quite popular in the eastern bloc countries.