Today our leap into the past takes us to the story of the Fiat Nuova 500.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Fiats first born 500, start with forgetting about today’s 500, it has nothing to do with it.
The Fiat 500 has quite a history, dating back to 1936 with the Fiat 500 ‘Topolino’ produced until 1955 (from model A to C) and the next model Fiat Nuova 500 (models N-G-D-F-L-R) produced from 1957 to 1975.
A little spoiler: we got our hands on the last Fiat Nuova 500 model R produced in history.
But first, CONTEXT! I’ll be brief, I promise…
We are in Italy, around the ‘60s. The new 600 was on sale and was a huge success thanks also to the “Italian Economic Miracle” and the advent of the installment system (yes, back there you couldn't pay your life with installments), but there was still a good portion of the population that couldn’t afford it.
Therefore, the good old Vittorio Valletta, CEO of FIAT - commissioned a new city-car (model N) to the engineer Dante Giacosa that could be afforded by the working class… and the rest is history. The 500 becomes an Italian design icon, one of a kind.
Since then, many models were produced, starting from model N and ending with the last ever produced – the Fiat Nuova 500 model R, our girl.
The “500 R” was first presented on November 1, 1972, at the Turin auto-show as the last version destined to end the legendary saga of these little beauties.
On July 31, 1975, out from the Termini Imerese car plant in Sicily – comes the last 500 ever produced from FIAT S.P.A - Frame number: 5.231.518 - she will inevitably become part of the Italian history, thanks also to the incision made in the inner passenger side wheel trim – that recognizes Fiat S.P.A as the last manufacturer of this last specimen and we found it.
We met Luciano, son of Gaetano and Venere, the first and only owners of Azzurra (that’s her name), who kept it for 46 years as a family member. Luciano knows everything, like literally everything about his 500 and he’s one of the kindest, passionate, and prepared guys that we ever met.
We spent a fantastic afternoon at Seregno, province of Monza – running around with Azzurra (it means ‘light blue’ by the way). It was a beautiful day, cuddled by the sun, and Luciano told us some interesting anecdotes about his beauty.
The car was destined to the CEO of the SicilFiat establishment of that period – as a gift for his wife, but she didn’t like it because it was too small… We had a laugh about it and thought how they could really fit 4 people plus luggage in there.
Then, Gaetano bought it as a gift for his wife Venere who became the first registered historical owner of Azzurra, on January 13, 1976. It was assembled with a 126 engine with synchronized gearbox; folding seats; ignition and steering lock lower left – lock type 126 pentagonal bonnet and not handle.
Another peculiarity is that Azzurra is fitted with Pirelli Cinturato tires and a couple of years ago, this same car was the star of a Pirelli commercial – she’s kind of famous.
It was awesome to be able to see such a legendary model, emblem of Italian history and design.
And that’s all for now Folks.
Peace and love.
Thank you very much to Luciano (@ultima500_the_last_fiat500)
Milano Historic Cars Club (@milanohistoriccarsclub)
and to Samuele (@supercarsofmilan) for the amazing pictures