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

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

30 Search results
Fiat 500
3995 72600 GBP
  • Fiat - 500 C Belvedere - 1953

    €8,900 - €11,570 est. (£7,950.37 - £10,335.48 est.) €8,900 - €11,570 est. (£7,950.37 - £10,335.48 est.)
    Online Auction
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Catawiki Auctions
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 1959 Fiat 500 Jolly


    This restored Fiat 500 Jolly is one of 100 likely survivors in existence, and is particularly attractive in its finish of Red over a Tan wicker interior. The Jolly features a Ghia body design, and is a highly collectible and rare car that was often used in resort and beach settings as it provided a fun and versatile driving experience while capturing smiles from everyone nearby. This example has benefitted from a spectacular restoration by Fiat professionals, with strict attention paid to detail to ensure the highest quality. Many of these models were custom made to order creations that often found their way to coastal resorts around the world, including Monaco and Cannes. Numerous celebrities and public figures have owned Jollys, including Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brenner, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, Mae West, along with U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, who used his Jolly on his Texas ranch. Without a doubt, the Jolly presented here is a perfect and unique choice for your collection, or to simply drive and enjoy at your favorite resort or coastal area.

    • Year: 1959
    • Mileage: 125 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
  • Fiat 500

    €72,600(£64,853.58) €72,600(£64,853.58)

    Just as the new Fiat 500 was inspired the original Fiat 500, one of Italy’s oldest coachbuilders has used a version of the original Fiat 500 favoured by the rich and famous, the Fiat 500 Jolly, to produce a modern version, the Fiat 500 Ischia. The original Fiat 500 Jolly was produced by Ghia and sold from 1958 to 1966. It was known in Italy as La Spiaggina, the nearest English translation for which is “Beach-ette”. Its cut down, doorless sides, lowered windscreen, chromed bodywork and whicker pattern seats made it popular with owners such as Yul Brynner and Aristotle Onassis who used them as yacht tenders, golf carts and estate runabouts. That use of the original Fiat 500 Jolly as a yacht tender, it was small enough to be lifted on and off yachts so it could be used while in port, has inspired both the name of the new car, the Fiat 500 Ischia and its style. Ischia is the most beautiful island in the bay of Napels. With the removal of the doors and side and rear windows to produce an open car, as well as wicker-patterned dark Rotan upholstery from the original car, the Ischia has two-tone Cognac Brown waterproof leather all surrounded by a mahogany border with a gloss finish. The chrome elements like the rear roll-bar and accessories such as the 'need' profile on the hood underline the 'nautical' nature of the car. The Fiat 500 Ischia is painted in two tones of a special red (pearly coral based). A pleasant two cilinder sound is coming from the dual exhaust. The new electric front seats with integrated belts give the car a high degree of comfort for tall people. Thanks to the absence of the B-pillar, the access to the rear seats is very easy. Price € 60.000,-- + VAT To view this car and others, please visit the website at kucarfa.nl

    • Mileage: 1000 mi
    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

    £15,959 £15,959

    A rare opportunity to purchase this wonderful example of an Abarth 595 S recreation lovingly built by an Abarth specialist. The base, a 1970 Fiat 500, is in exceptional condition with a totally solid bodyshell. The seam and shut lines are excellent as are the beautiful hand rolled, wider Abarth style arches that are perfectly filled by the four genuine Abarth steel wheels. The roof gutter trims are stainless steel and not the standard plastic items. The quality continues on the inside with the door cards, Abarth style seats and trim being excellent. The attractive and functional instrument binnacle looks pure Abarth and even the rear view mirror, has the Abarth plastic trim, unlike the standard model. The starter and choke levers are polished and not painted, also as the Abarth. This 595 S recreation is upgraded with a Fiat 126A 595cc power unit and as so, replicates the Abarth 595 S displacement and is in excellent order featuring an Abarth alloy sump and sports exhaust. The car has just been mechanically inspected by the Italian super car specialists at GT Cars Chester and comes with 12 month MOT certificate. This fantastic little car is an exquisite recreation that is enormous fun to drive and gets a fantastic reception wherever it goes. For further information please tel: 07980611384

    • Year: 1970
    • Mileage: 35000 mi
    • Engine size: 0.5
    For sale
    David Espley
  • 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
  • 1967 Fiat 500

    £10,367 £10,367

    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 1967 Fiat 500F

    £7,950 £7,950

    Dark blue with red interior. Fitted with 126/650cc engine and syncromesh gearbox. Recent new alternator, carburettor, clutch, driveshafts by MBG. Abarth wood rimmed steering wheel and sports exhaust. Just serviced by MBG including complete brake overhaul, front wheel bearings, steering idler and gearbox mounts. A very nice example having benefitted from considerable expenditure. Will be supplied with a full 12 months MOT

    • 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
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