loading Loading please wait....

Fiat 500 & Abarth 595/695 buying guide (1957-1973)

Fiat 500 & Abarth 595/695 buying guide (1957-1973) Classic and Performance Car
Speed isn’t everything; the original Fiat 500 certainly proves that. Slow cars can be just as much fun as the most powerful supercars, and whatever flavour of 500 you find yourself driving, there’s no shortage of entertainment to be had.

While the UK had the Morris Minor, France was mobilised by the Citroen 2CV and German roads were filled with Volkswagen Beetles, it was all about the Fiat 500 in Italy. More than 3.8 million rolled off the various production lines

Which one to buy?

Go for one of the extremely rare pre-1960 Nuova 500 models for the slowest experience, with a mere 13bhp from the 479cc engine. From 1960, a slightly larger 17bhp engine was fitted. All of the pre-65 models feature suicide doors, and are much more difficult to find parts for. Later models are the most straightforward to buy, run and restore.

Of course the original and replica Abarth models add a substantial kick and are an absolute hoot to drive. Factory built examples are extremely difficult to come across – especially in the UK – but thankfully there were more than a few converted to Abarth spec in period, as well as a great many that have subsequently been upgraded to various levels.

The most popular and best all-round option is to find a tidy post-1965 car, fitted with a few upgrades. The installation of a later Fiat 126 engine and gearbox is hugely popular, as it’s a significant step-up in performance. Tune the engine a little more with a fruity cam and better-flowing exhaust to free up some extra power, fit a disc brake conversion and you’ll have a very usable classic.

Performance and spec

1957 Fiat Nuova 500
Engine 479cc Vertical twin, OHV, aircooled
Power 13bhp
Torque 20.2lb ft
Top Speed 59mph
0-60mph N/A
Consumption 52.3mpg
Gearbox four-speed manual

Common Problems

• Unsurprisingly, the Fiat 500 was built very cheaply in order to keep costs down. This was great for new buyers, but it means that today, virtually every single 500 will have needed some bodywork repairs.

• Low-quality steel, and a lack of any substantial rust-proofing from the factory means that rust was a big killer. Today it’s the main concern for any buyer.

• Thankfully the small and simple nature of the 500’s structure means that it should be easy to assess the overall condition.

• Most panels are available off the shelf, although replacement parts for the pre-1965 cars can be a lot more difficult to source.

• There aren’t any particular areas to check, as rust can strike anywhere. Work your way through the sills, wheel arches, floors, windscreen surrounds and basically anywhere you can gain access to. Any signs of bubbling paint should be treated with suspicion.

• Crash and impact damage is not uncommon, especially low-speed bumps on the rear corners. This can knock suspension alignment out, as well as knocking the engine out of position, causing driveshaft and gear linkage problems.

• These are mechanically simple cars, and most parts are available. Engines become more clattery as they become tired. If combined with a strong oily smell and a desire to stall easily – it needs rebuilding or replacement.

• Straight-cut first gear can be noisy, and without synchros it’s sometimes a difficult ‘box to use. First is noisy, but it shouldn’t make too much sound while cruising.

• Listen out for any knocks and bangs from the suspension and driveshafts. It’s all easily fixed, but the cost should be taken into account when buying the car.

• The drum brakes are generally strong if in good working order. Budget for a rebuild if they aren’t up to the job. If the car has been tuned, a decent disc brake conversion is extremely desirable.

Model History

1957 Nuova (new) 500 model introduced, with 479cc, 13bhp, two-cylinder engine. Full-length folding fabric roof, suicide doors.
1958 Carlo Abarth produces his first modified version of the 500.
1960 D model with 499cc, 17bhp engine and shorter fabric roof.
1960 K or Giardiniera estate version introduced.
1963 Abarth 595 now available, with 26bhp and uprated chassis.
1964 Abarth 595SS introduced, with 32bhp. This is followed by 695, 695SS and 695 Assetto Corsa.
1965 F or Berlina replaces D and brings in front-hinged doors.
1968 L or Lusso introduced alongside the F. New dash and more comfortable interior, plus extra nudge bar on bumpers.
1972 R or Rinnovata replaces L. 594cc, 23bhp engine, and new interior with fuel gauge omitted (low fuel warning light only).
1975 F and R models phased out, replaced by new 126. Giardiniera estate continues until 1977.

Key clubs and websites

- fiatownersclub.co.uk
- fiat500club.org.uk
- fiatforum.com

Summary and prices

Fiat 500 prices continue to steadily rise, with Abarth models stronger than ever. Expect to pay around £15,000 for a great standard car, although a perfect car can be more. £7000-£10,000 is enough to secure a reasonably usable car. Any less than that and you will likely run into big bills further down the line.

Abarth replicas are generally more fun and well set-up than the originals, and can be picked up for around £20,000 in great shape. Collectors covet genuine Abarths, and in top-spec 695SS form can fetch upwards of £55,000. The slightly more sensible 595 models are generally about £10k cheaper, however all are exceedingly difficult to source in the UK.
Last updated: 4th Sep 2015
collapse this

Fiat 500 cars for sale

29 Search results
Fiat 500
6495 20200 GBP
  • Fiat - 500 N Transfomabile - 1960

    €16,500 - €21,450 est. (£14,711.40 - £19,124.82 est.) €16,500 - €21,450 est. (£14,711.40 - £19,124.82 est.)
    Online Auction
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Catawiki Auctions
  • Fiat 500 Giardiniera arriving shortly


    POA Overview The replacement for FIAT's much-loved 500 Topolino, the Nuova 500 debuted in 1957. A radical departure from its predecessors essentially pre-war design, FIAT's new baby featured unitary construction, an opening fabric roof and all-independent suspension while carrying its engine at the rear. The latter was an air-cooled, overhead-valve twin – the first such used by FIAT – and the gearbox was a four-speeder. Introduced in 1968 alongside the standard 500F, the deluxe Fiat 500L, while mechanically identical, came with exterior cosmetic enhancements and an improved interior featuring new instrument panel, seats and floor covering. An immense success for FIAT, almost 3,000,000 of these adorable little cars had been sold when production ceased in 1975. The 500 remains as popular today as it ever was. Arriving shortly: 1972 Fiat 500 Giardiniera. First launched in 1961, and from 1968 manufactured by Fiat in Milan as the Fiat 500 Giardinera, with full length sun roof, with rear door, ideal as a family classic runabout or with livery for an Italian Restaurant or delicatessen. EU taxes paid Estate car with hinged rear door, and full sun roof. Black, fully restored Excellent await

    • Year: 1972
    • Mileage: 33780 mi
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 Topolino 0,6 Coupé

    €20,200(£18,010.32) €20,200(£18,010.32)

    Fiat 500 Topolino 0,6 Coupé Equipment: Ekstrem fin restaureret sjælden udbudt til salg flot farve kombination ring for info

    • Year: 1938
    For sale
  • 1967 Fiat 500

    $15,950(£13,035.94) $15,950(£13,035.94)

    This 1967 Fiat 500 is a very collectible car. White with black interior and very original. It runs and drives well. The Fiat 500 was produced between 1957 and 1975. It was a affordable and practical car that was considered one of the first "city cars". A great buy at just $15,950.

    • Year: 1967
    For sale
  • 1974 Fiat 500R

    £6,495 £6,495

    Black with red interior, this late production 500R (600cc) with low kilometres (35,506kms) is in lovely original condition. Fully serviced by Middle Barton Garage with 12 months MOT.

    • Year: 1974
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 D

    £11,995 £11,995

    Opening the rear lid you'll find the engine bay in very good, clean order. The two-cylinder 499.5cc unit, which produces 22hp, runs well and idles up to temperature nicely.

    • Year: 1964
    • Mileage: 44532 mi
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 D

    £12,495 £12,495

    Opening the rear lid you'll find the engine bay in very good, clean order. The two-cylinder 499.5cc unit, which produces 22hp, runs well and idles nicely up to temperature. Brilliant in its simplicity the 500 certainly provides a gratifying driving experience.

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 39241 mi
    For sale
  • 1959 Fiat 500 Jolly


    This restored Fiat 500 Jolly is one of 100 likely survivors in existence. It is finished in Red, with wicker seats and a red and white surrey top. The Jolly is powered by a 500cc, 2 cylinder engine with 4 speed manual transmission, and is ready to accommodate up to 4 persons. With its body designed by famed coach builder Ghia, the Jolly stands as a highly unique and collectible micro car that was often used in exclusive beach resort settings. Numerous celebrities and other public figures have owned these micro cars, further adding to their uniqueness. This example has benefitted from a spectacular restoration by Fiat professionals, with strict attention paid to detail, so as to ensure the highest of quality. Without a doubt, the Jolly presented here is sure to bring smiles from all around, and is a perfectly unique choice to add to your collection.

    • Year: 1959
    • Mileage: 125 mi
    For sale
  • 1957 Fiat 500 Jolly


    This Turquoise Blue and White Jolly has been previously restored by the professionals at Classic Showcase, and is presented extremely well today. The car has been recently serviced, and is very well detailed throughout - from the engine bay to the trunk placed at the front of the car, the Jolly is full of charm and character where it counts. Moving this “beach cruiser” down the road is the 479-cid air-cooled, two-cylinder engine. Backing the engine is a floor-shift, four-speed manual transmission. The Fiat is complete with wicker seating, matching Turquoise Blue & White Surrey top, seat belts, spare tire, body-color steel wheels, polished wheel covers and thin whitewall tires. This Fiat Jolly is a unique choice to add to one's collection, or may be driven and enjoyed at your favorite resort or coastal area.

    • Year: 1957
    • Mileage: 37644 mi
    For sale
  • 1973 Fiat 500R

    £7,995 £7,995

    We are delighted to offer this very honest, original cult classic Fiat 500 R onto the market. Over recent years, the Fiat 500 has grown into a true icon and nice examples are becoming increasingly hard to find. The Fiat 500 was launched in 1957 and is considered as one of the first city cars. The 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe and today have an incredibly strong following. The last of the Fiat 500 line was the R model. It had a larger 594cc engine designed by Abarth giving it a more useable power rating of 23bhp and it came with a full syncromesh gearbox. The Fiat 500R was a stop gap for Fiat prior to launching the Fiat 126 and when the 126 was launched, sales of the Fiat 500 plummeted. It was sold alongside the Fiat 126 for two years before Fiat retired the 500.

    • Year: 1973
    For sale
  • 1968 Fiat 500 110F Berlina

    £8,995 £8,995

    The Fiat 500's are hugely popular; launched back in 1957 and were in production until 1975. The 500 is considered as one of the first city cars and proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe and today have an incredibly strong following. This stunning Fiat 500 110F Berlina came to the UK from Italy several years ago and comes with a well documented original Italian logbook/service book. The Fiat is fully UK registered with V5, current MOT and will be serviced, prepared and re-tested once sold. FND 325F has covered very little mileage since been in the UK but has attended some events to include Fleur-De-Lys C.V.S 2014 Thornes Park gathering. The Fiat drives well, is in strong mechanical condition with a lovely smooth engine and slick gearbox. It is clear the car has been fully re-painted in recent years and holds a lovely deep paint finish with straight panels. Chrome work is of a very high standard and the interior has been fully re-trimmed at some stage. The engine bay and compartment are clean, smart and well presented. On the whole this is a smart, usable Fiat 500 that does not require any work in order to simply use and enjoy.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 Giardiniera White '66

    €9,950(£8,871.42) €9,950(£8,871.42)

    Lowered price! The Fiat 500 (Italian: cinquecento, Italian pronunciation: [ˌtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]) is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa. Launched as the Nuova (new) 500 in July 1957, it was a cheap and practical town car. Measuring only 3 metres (~10 feet) long, and originally powered by an appropriately sized 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 redefined the term "small car" and is considered one of the first city cars. Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe. Besides the two-door coupé, it was also available as the "Giardiniera" station wagon; this variant featured the standard engine laid on its side, the wheelbase lengthened by 10 cm (4 in) to provide a more convenient rear seat, a full-length sunroof, and larger brakes from the Fiat 600. Production of the 500 ended in 1975, although its replacement, the Fiat 126, was launched two years earlier. The 126 was never as popular as its predecessor in Italy, but was enormously popular in the former Eastern Bloc count

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
  • Fiat 500

    £8,000 £8,000

    Black Seats with Black Carpets, Sunroof, Chrome Bumpers. This lovingly restored and original UK supplied right hand drive Fiat 500L has been owned by its current owner for more than 20 years, the mileage is not guaranteed, more details and pictures to follow...

    • Mileage: 6500 mi
    • Engine size: 499
    For sale
  • Fiat 500

    £12,000 £12,000

    Black Seats with Black Carpets, Sunroof, Chrome Bumpers. This lovingly restored and original UK supplied right hand drive Fiat 500L has been owned by its current owner for more than 20 years, the mileage is not guaranteed, more details and pictures to follow...

    • Mileage: 6500 mi
    • Engine size: 499
    For sale
  • Fiat 500

    £6,995 £6,995

    *SIMILAR CLASSIC CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. An adorable classic Fiat 500L lovingly restored and ready to show! EQUIPMENT Chrome bumpers, sunshine roof, swivelling quarter front windows, opening rear quarter windows, stainless steel brightwork and door furniture, side repeaters, padded dashboard, ashtray, tilt access front seats, folding rear seat, door pockets, front parcel shelf, fresh air heater and demister, windscreen washer. Aftermarket: 12v power outlet, Jaeger clock, Panasonic CD player. EXTERIOR Finished in the gorgeous colour of Blu Scuro, (Code 456), the paintwork boasts a deep luscious shine which suits the cheeky characteristics of this most famous of little Fiats. All quality chrome and brightwork trim is present and remains in excellent order as do the Fiat badges. The window rubbers with chrome inserts, door rubbers and sunshine roof have all been recently replaced in this high standard and catalogued restoration. The underside presents fabulously with components and floor pans Waxyol protected. Delightful in every respect. INTERIOR The interior styling of this classic Italian supermini is every inch a fashion icon and epitomises chic design. The Black vinyl seats with matching door cards and padded dash rail are in remarkable condition with no tears or damage. All original functions and controls operate perfectly and the floor mounted choke control and starter remain. The flat band style speedometer and warning lights function. A fully detailed front luggage compartment houses the spare wheel and rubber holding strap. A period Jaeger clock and modern 12v power outlet and CD player have been professionally installed. This is a lovely understated interior which is true to design. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The two cylinder air cooled rear mounted engine thrums along beautifully having the recommended and desirable 126 transplant. Visually almost identical it offers better maximum torque and flexibility and livelier acceleration for real world town driving. 23bhp with a top speed of 62mph is transferred through the 4-speed constant mesh gearbox which requires familiarisation to the novice classic car driver. WHEELS, TYRES, BRAKES Disc type steel wheels have been powder coated to give an impeccable finish and unmarked chrome hubcaps finish the classic look. Brand new matching Toyo 135/80 R12 tyres are fitted. Recent works to the hydraulic brakes on all four wheels give adequate performance compared to modern standards. HISTORY FILE This iconic 1971 Fiat 500L was originally a Dutch Bambino having come from the Netherlands. Sold by a classic car dealer there to our UK motoring enthusiast in December 2014 this perfectly useable example embarked on a detailed overhaul to meet the exacting detail of the current owner who is a stickler for neatness! With previous BMW mechanical training and an insane appetite for classic cars this restoration project was a simple challenge beautifully catalogued on the website lovemyclassic.com and is now ready for a new owner to simply enjoy. MOT January 2017, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/ZYNZGrK_RwY To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskydTkDr 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    For sale
Related Specification
Related content