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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
5950 60000 GBP
  • Fiat - 500 Nuova - 1966

    €5,750 - €7,475 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €5,750 - €7,475 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €5,750 - €7,475 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €5,750 - €7,475 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Catawiki Auctions
  • Fiat - 500 L - 1969

    €7,950 - €10,335 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €7,950 - €10,335 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €7,950 - €10,335 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €7,950 - €10,335 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 F - 1967

    €7,600 - €9,880 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €7,600 - €9,880 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €7,600 - €9,880 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €7,600 - €9,880 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 D - 1963

    €11,800 - €15,340 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €11,800 - €15,340 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €11,800 - €15,340 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €11,800 - €15,340 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 R - 1975

    €7,250 - €9,425 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €7,250 - €9,425 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €7,250 - €9,425 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €7,250 - €9,425 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 D - 1964

    €11,000 - €14,300 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €11,000 - €14,300 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €11,000 - €14,300 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €11,000 - €14,300 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 F - 1967

    €6,400 - €8,320 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,400 - €8,320 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €6,400 - €8,320 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,400 - €8,320 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 L - 1972

    €3,600 - €4,680 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,600 - €4,680 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €3,600 - €4,680 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,600 - €4,680 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 L - 1972

    €6,200 - €8,060 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,200 - €8,060 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €6,200 - €8,060 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,200 - €8,060 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat 500

    €6,995(£0) €6,995(£0)

    Fiat 500 L with Giannini Spec 1971 / Documents in order / LHD / Located in North East Italy / Completely rebuilt, zeroed and now showing 3000 kms / Ready to go / Venice registration 'VE' / Listed on behalf of private owner by ASMG Italia.

    • Year: 1971
    • Mileage: 2000 mi
    For sale
    €6,995(£0) €6,995(£0)
    Alan ASMG Italia
    Alan ASMG Italia
  • Fiat 500

    £5,995 £5,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY 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. A classic adorable and funky Fiat 500L in superb condition. EQUIPMENT Chrome bumpers, sunshine roof, swivelling quarter front 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. Accessories; Mille Miglia alloy wheels, door mirrors, bumper overriders. EXTERIOR The iconic classic Fiat 500 needs no introduction as the instantly recognisable and cheeky Italian city car. This example is finished in beautiful and vivacious Ivory Pearlescent metallic boasts a bright and vibrant shine which catches the light almost psychedelically. Only minor cosmetic markings are visible but certainly do not spoil the cheeky characteristics of this most famous of little Fiats. All chrome and brightwork trim is present and remains in good order as do the original Fiat badges. The number plate lamp shroud is pitted. The underside is clean and free from excess applied underseal to allow easy inspection of the structural integrity. Delightful and super cute 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 good condition with no tears or damage. All functions and controls operate including the floor mounted choke control and starter lever. The flat band style speedometer and warning lights function. The front luggage compartment houses the spare wheel and rubber mat and correct black painted fuel tank. The fold back full sunroof is fully intact and effortlessly allows open top classic motoring. Design simplicity in its truest form and fashionably chic. 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. Sought after upgrades include a Giannini aluminium sump. 23bhp with a top speed of 62mph is transferred through the upgraded 4-speed synchromesh gearbox, a common conversion that offers far easier usage than the original fitment. WHEELS, TYRES, BRAKES Genuine and desirable Mille Miglia polished rim alloy wheels are in pristine order with matching 125 R12 tyres, all showing virtually full tread. Recent works to the hydraulic brakes on all four wheels give adequate performance compared to modern standards. HISTORY FILE This iconic 1970 Fiat 500L was sourced from Italy in 2015 by its only UK owner, Italian born Mr Saverio Fasulo, an avid classic Fiat fan wanting to relive his childhood days spent travelling in these iconic cars. Sourced from the warm and dry climate of Bovino in Italy, the car arrived in the UK whereby it has been enjoyed at classic car shows and undergone extensive maintenance including full engine servicing and brake overhaul. Now wanting for nothing and in superb working order, this little Fiat is ready to enjoy and its cheeky character is certainly disproportionate with its dinky size! MOT December 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/TNnO4XsESzg To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6PhpKJ 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1970
    • Mileage: 68092 mi
    • Engine size: 0.6
    For sale
    £5,995 £5,995
  • Fiat 500

    €60,000(£0) €60,000(£0)

    Just as the new Fiat 500 was inspired the original Fiat 500, one of Italy’s oldest coachbuilders Carrozzeria Castagna Milano 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. More information on: www.kucarfa.nl Price: € 60.000,-- +VAT Year: 2012

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 2000 mi
    • Engine size: 0.9
    For sale
    €60,000(£0) €60,000(£0)
  • Fiat 500 White '69

    €5,950(£0) €5,950(£0)

    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
    €5,950(£0) €5,950(£0)
  • Fiat 500 Giardiniera White '66

    €7,250(£0) €7,250(£0)

    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
    €7,250(£0) €7,250(£0)