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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
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Fiat 500 cars for sale

33 Search results
Fiat 500
5950 17495 GBP


    SOLD TO THE UNITED STATES, This specific example took part successfully in the 1951 Mille Miglia drove by Lippi-Albertoni Brand Fiat Type 500 C “Topolino” Color Grey Interior Grey Year of build 1950 Price Sold 1950 FIAT “TOPOLINO” An original 1951 Mille Miglia Fiat “Topolino” With lot of old photos of the car during its racing career and copies of original Mille Miglia documents With the original of the italian registration in Bologna This very unique Fiat “Topolino” Mille Miglia 1951 has been sold to a customer in the United States. If you are interested in the same model or If you are willing to sell a rare/unique automobile or your entire collection, we are looking forward to hear from you. Our collection is changing on a daily base and exists of approximately 90 cars. Due to the fact that some cars are transported or restored we do not offer all of our cars on the web. If you have specific requests, please let us know as we might have the car in our collection or we can help you in find your specific car. The car is expected very soon and more information will be on line. In the meantime if you would like to receive more information please contact us. MORE INFORMATION For more

    • Year: 1950
    For sale
    The Houtkamp Collection
  • Fiat 500

    £10,995 £10,995

    Variant name:S ,Derivative:MK1 FL (312) ,Variant: S 1.2 3Dr Sports Body Kit, Sports Front bumper, Rear Spoiler, Side Skirts, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Smoked 15inch Alloy Wheels, Part Leather Sport Seats, Leather Steering Wheel, Electric Windows, Central Locking, Bluetooth and USB, Fixed 7 Air B S 1.2 3Dr

    • Year: -1
    • Mileage: 50 mi
    • Engine size: 1.2
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 White '69

    €5,950(£5,489.47) €5,950(£5,489.47)

    The Fiat 500 was produced by the Fiat company 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 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. To meet the demands of the post-war market which called for economy cars, the Fiat 500 was rear-engined on the pattern of the Volkswagen Beetle, just like its bigger brother, the 1955 Fiat 600. Several car makers followed the now uncommon rear engine configuration at the time and were quite successful. The Neckar version manufactured in Heilbronn under a complicated deal involving NSU, was introduced in October 1961. Upper Austria the firm of Steyr-Puch also produced cars based, by agreement, on the Fiat 500. 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", wheelbase lengthened by 10 cm (

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
  • 1974 Fiat 500 110F - 2600 miles from new

    £14,995 £14,995

    We are delighted to offer this ultra-low mileage cult classic Fiat 500 onto the market. Over recent years, the Fiat 500 has grown into a true icon and top class examples are becoming increasingly hard to find. This exceptional car has only covered an astonishing 4200 kilometres from new, just 2600 miles and is one of the last produced with a very unique history. The car was first registered on the 4th June 1974 in Bologna, Central Italy. The car was bought as a gift from husband to elderly wife and during the first three months of ownership the Fiat did not leave the garage. The couple's niece visited from Turin and saw the car for the first time, she fell in love with the little car and it was given to her as a gift. The niece drove the car home to Turin in Northern Italy and the Fiat had covered its first 340 kilometres. From 1974 to 1983 the Fiat covered just 3500 kilometres and was used to take her son to school, just half a mile from the family home. On summer days they would walk, other days take the Fiat. Unfortunately the owner became unwell in 1983 and health issues prevented her from driving. She did not want to sell the Fiat and persuaded her husband to keep the car taxe

    • Year: 1974
    • Mileage: 2600 mi
    For sale
  • Clic Fiat 500 LHD Abarth styled

    £6,750 £6,750

    imported from Matelica Italy 2012 from Fiat 500 enthusiast who kept the car in his garage. Car has been overhauled and restored, it has been resprayed and the chrome is all in a great condition, the inside has been re-upholstered with sports seats in keeping with the Abarth style and is in a clean and tidy condition with sports wheel, dials etc. The car is in excellent condition with no rust – all as per the photos. Sunroof with good cover. Had major service and new lighting loom, new battery, always garaged and only used in dry weather, sports exhaust. Available with the car if wrap around section of bumper bars and original wheels. It has a new 650 engine believed to have done 30,000km when put in the car and now has under 9,000km on the new clock. The car is very reliable. No road tax to pay, clic insurance so cheap to keep and run. mot until 2018 £6,750 open to sensible offers. Car is in Bromley Kent.

    • Mileage: 37000 mi
    • Engine size: 500
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 L Abarth

    £14,450 £14,450

    A more richly trimmed and better-appointed version of the standard 500 F named the 500L (or Lusso), was launched in 1968 and remained on sale till 1972. Perhaps the most obvious new feature of the Lusso were tubular guards protecting the front bumper and corners of the rear one making the car about 6cm longer than the previous F model. Other model-specific exterior items were a new Fiat badge at the front, redesigned hubcaps, chrome plastic moulding covering the roof drip rails, and bright trim around the windscreen and rear window. Inside was fitted with a new trapezoid instrument binnacle replacing the round one used on all other 500 models. The steering wheel was black plastic with metal spokes. The door cards—upholstered in the same pleated pattern l eatherette used on the seats—carried redesigned and relocated door handles and new door pockets. More storage space was provided in the form of a tray on the centre tunnel, which like the rest of the floor was covered in carpet rather than rubber mats. Except for radial instead of bias ply tires, from a mechanical standpoint the 500 L was identical to the coeval 500 F. The Fiat 500 L here at Hofmanns was first registered in August

    For sale
  • Fiat 500 Giardiniera White '66

    €7,250(£6,688.85) €7,250(£6,688.85)

    Lowered price from €9.950 -> €7.250! 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 for

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 L 1971

    €12,950(£11,947.67) €12,950(£11,947.67)

    Fiat 500 L 1971, restored This Fiat 500 L was originally delivered in Holland in 1971. The car has only had 2 owners since 1971. In 2016 this 500 L was restored and was provided with beautiful yellow paint, beautiful chrome and a new sunroof. The interior has black leather and is in very good condition. The original 499 CC engine was fully checked. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • Fiat 500 L 1972

    €11,950(£11,025.07) €11,950(£11,025.07)

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Fiat 500 L 1972 in very good condition Marvelous 1972 Italian Fiat 500L. This Fiat has a sunroof and beautiful whit paint. Both the body and interior are in very good condition. The interior has brown leather with black piping. The simple dashboard has a single combi-clock and beautiful original steering wheel. This Fiat drives perfect. The car has the original 499CC, 2 cyl engine. This is a very beautiful Fiat 500, a pleasure to drive. Car has Italian title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1972
    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 nicely up to temperature. Brilliant in its simplicity the 500 certainly provides a gratifying driving experience.

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 39241 mi
    For sale
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