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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

    £5,990 £5,990

    Variant: 1.2 S 3dr (start/stop)

    • Mileage: 35516 mi
    For sale
    £5,990 £5,990
    Mangoletsi (Holdings)-Mangoletsi Fiat
    01565 722899 View contact number
  • FIAT - 500 L -1970

    €6,900 - €8,970 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,900 - €8,970 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €6,900 - €8,970 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,900 - €8,970 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 F - 1968

    €6,950 - €9,035 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,950 - €9,035 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €6,950 - €9,035 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,950 - €9,035 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • FIAT - 500 R - 1974

    €5,900 - €7,670 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €5,900 - €7,670 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €5,900 - €7,670 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €5,900 - €7,670 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Fiat - 500 F - 1966

    €6,700 - €8,710 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,700 - €8,710 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €6,700 - €8,710 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €6,700 - €8,710 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • FIAT - 500 L - 1969

    €3,300 - €4,290 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,300 - €4,290 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €3,300 - €4,290 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,300 - €4,290 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • 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

    £17,000 £17,000

    BETTER EQUIPPED THAN MANY CARS TWICE ITS SIZE, THE FIAT 500 C SOON BECAME NICKNAMED ‘TOPOLINO’. THE NAME “TOPOLINO” TRANSLATES LITERALLY AS “LITTLE MOUSE” IN ITALIAN, BUT IS ALSO THE ITALIAN NAME FOR MICKEY MOUSE. THE 500C WAS AVAILABLE AS A TWO-DOOR COUPE AS WELL AS A COUPE WITH A FULL SUNROOF CALLED THE ‘CABRIOLET’ AND A THREE-DOOR STATION WAGON. THE FIRST WAGON, A 500B, WAS CALLED THE ‘GIARDINIERA’ AND WAS A TRADITIONAL WOODIE. IN 1951, IT WAS JOINED BY THE ALL-STEEL BELVEDERE. THE TOPOLINO HAS AN INDEPENDENT FRONT SUSPENSION, FOUR-SPEED TRANSMISSION WITH 3RD AND 4TH GEAR SYNCHROMESH AND HYDRAULIC BRAKES. TOP SPEED WAS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF 56 MPH. THIS TOPILINO BELVEDERE HAS A WONDERFUL STORY TO ITS NAME, 10 YEARS AGO ALBERTO VALSTRONA HAD JUST CELEBRATED HIS 75TH BIRTHDAY AND WANTED TO WORK AT A PROJECT WHICH PROVES HIS TECHNICAL SKILLS. WITH FANTASTIC MEMORIES DRIVING AROUND THE NEARBY LAKE D’ORTA IN A FIAT TOPILINO HE OWNED MANY YEARS PREVIOUS, HIS SEARCH BEGAN TO FIND A SUITABLE CAR TO RESTORE. AFTER REJECTING SEVERAL, ALBERTO SOON FOUND THIS 1954 EXAMPLE, THE FIAT WAS SOLID, COMPLETE AND VERY ORIGINAL… IT WAS THE PERFECT STARTING POINT. THE PICTURES OF THE UNDER CARRIAGE SHOW THE RESTORER GAVE ALL DETAILS EXTRAORDINARY ATTENTION. AFTER MORE THAN TWO YEARS, THE CAR WAS READY AND ALBERTO WAS ABLE TO ENJOY THE ROADS OF LAKE D’ORTA ONCE MORE. HAVING RECEIVED A FULL BODY OFF RESTORATION, THE FILE CONTAINS NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF THE WHOLE RESTORATION PROCESS. THE 569CC, FOUR-CYLINDER, SIDE VALVE MOTOR PRODUCED A MODEST 13BHP BUT AS THE TOPOLINO WEIGHED LITTLE MORE THAN HALF A TON IT COULD NEVERTHELESS MANAGE A RESPECTABLE 50MPH-PLUS UNDER FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS. FOR MOST BUYERS THOUGH, THE (UP-TO-50MPG) FUEL CONSUMPTION WOULD HAVE BEEN THE MAJOR ATTRACTION. OUR BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FIAT IS FINISHED IN A FABULOUS COMBINATION OF TWO-TONE GREY WITH BROWN LEATHER SEATS. IT IS AN ENJOYABLE DAILY DRIVER THAT WORKS ON THE BUTTON, HAVING ONLY COMPLETED 1,560 MILES SINCE RESTORATION. THE FEELING WHILE DRIVING IS MAYBE ONLY UNDERSTOOD BY A TRUE ENTHUSIAST. DESPITE ITS SMALL SIZE AND LOW POWER THE TOPOLINO GIVES A FEELING OF FREEDOM, WHICH IS FURTHER ENHANCED BY THE FULL OPEN ROOF. PERFECT FOR THE LONG SUMMER, THIS IS A WONDERFUL CAR TO BE AROUND AND IS SURE TO ATTRACT LOTS OF ADMIRING ATTENTION. FOR THE FANS OF THE FAMOUS MILLE MIGLIA: THE CAR IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS GREAT ITALIAN EVENT AND THE CHEAPEST POSSIBILITY TO TAKE PART!

    • Year: 1954
    • Mileage: 1560 mi
    • Engine size: 0.5
    For sale
    £17,000 £17,000
  • 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)
  • Fiat 500

    €6,900(£0) €6,900(£0)

    Giannini Automobili S.p.A. Is an Italian car manufacturer, founded in 1920 by the brothers Attilio and Domenico Giannini. It is based in Rome and is one of the few companies still in business. The cars developed by Giannini have characterized the 60's, 70's and 80's, races reserved for elaborate cars. In the 1960s, the rivalry of the many elaborate versions of the 500 Giannini with the Abarth cars was characteristic. After the second half of the 1980s, it was decided to completely abandon the processing and move into the bodywork sector; So the new look customizations of the different cars, such as One, Type and Panda, started. The changes concerned mainly tapestries, saddlery, accessories, but also paintings, bumper and ailerons. Of these changes is also the sixteenth Giannini we have found. The car is in 1998 and is a sporty version with some finishing touches of the sixteenth century of the '90s. This sixteenth version of Topline Europa 899 (from engine displacement) can be defined as a "standard off-road". Its features are truly unique: elegant, comfortable, spacious but always safe and economical in use. The quality of the components and materials used and the completeness of the equipment (for the era) of the series, realize the exclusive "plus" Giannini and insert the sixteenth TL Europe in the top of the city-car important and of course historical interest. The RED KERMES PERLATO metallic tint, the light alloy wheels with low 165 / 55R13 wide tires, complete the outside of a passenger compartment designed to offer maximum comfort. The equipment is complemented by a radio system with radio, protected by a special dashboard. The guide of this Giannini Cinquecento is extremely comfortable, the road holding without uncertainty and the great silent running, accompany the interior space that Giannini has designed with hand-finished leather and velvet slingshot, front center armrest, electric windshields with Central locking and leather steering wheel. Car with original plates and documents, including use and maintenance booklet, warranty and dual keys, the car has 60,000 Km original, documented in detail by a personalized diary made by the owner. This particular Giannini Cinquecento has been carefully cut and carefully prepared by our atelier and without wanting to take off more beautiful cars is a rare and expressive specimen that expresses the "pleasure of owning a special car".

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 30000 mi
    • Engine size: 0.4
    For sale
    €6,900(£0) €6,900(£0)
    Carlo Carugati
    3388890387 View contact number
    Carlo Carugati
    3388890387 View contact number
  • 1959 Fiat 500 Jolly

    POA POA

    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
    POA POA