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Fiat 600: buying guide and review (1955-1985)

Fiat 600 Fiat 600 Fiat 600 Fiat 600D Multipla Fiat 600 Abarth 1000TC
The Fiat 500 is a great car but it’s not without its problems – namely a lack of interior space, decidedly leisurely performance and relatively high values. So what if you could buy a car that has the 500’s cute looks but addresses these issues? The good news is that you can – with the Fiat 600.
As with the 500, the 600 was designed by Dante Giacosa, but the bigger car is far more grown up in a variety of ways. In one ultra-compact package you get a four-seat family car with a four-cylinder water-cooled engine. With its independent suspension the 600 also provided the basis for an array of sporty spin-offs from Abarth such as the 750 and 1000TC, along with the Monomille and Bialbero, so this is no economy special built down to the lowest possible cost – it’s more grown up than you might think.
But the 600 is still an economy car. However, while you can expect only so much from any car with a 633cc engine, the 600 is more fun to pilot than you might expect, even if it’s noisy on hills, bouncy on poor roads and struggles to keep up with motorway traffic. Just call it character.
Which one to buy?
It’ll come as no surprise that any of the more specialised variations on the 600 theme are hugely sought after and consequently very valuable. These include anything produced by Abarth along with the quirky Multipla. If you’re able to secure one of these we’d say go for it; buy at the right price and you’ll never lose out financially, while they’re also brilliantly fun and fabulously unusual.
You’re far more likely though to buy a regular 600 saloon, of one spec or another. While the earlier cars with their rear-hinged doors are wonderfully characterful and the convertible editions are enormous fun, you’ll have to buy whatever you can find as 600s of any description are very rare in the UK. That’s why you’ll probably end up having to go shopping in Europe if you want any choice, which means settling for a left-hand drive car.
There were some right-hand drive 600s made but there are very few left and they hardly ever come up for sale. So if you’re buying a left-hand drive car, also be prepared to look at SEATs and Zastavas – and if you’re considering the latter you’ve also got an 850 option available too.
Performance and specs
Fiat 600D
Engine 767cc, four-cylinder
Power 32bhp @ 4800rpm
Torque 40lb ft @ 2800rpm
Top speed 68mph
0-50mph 24sec
Fuel consumption 48mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2000mm
Length 3295mm
Width 1380mm
Height 1405mm
Weight 615kg
Common problems
• The 600 can rust spectacularly, and while body panel availability is pretty good, don’t under-estimate the cost of a complete restoration. 

• You need to check everywhere for corrosion, but home in especially on the front valance, front and rear chassis legs, door bottoms, sills and wheelarches. Also scrutinise the lower corners of the front and rear screens along with the lower portions of all four wings.

• The 633cc engine has to be worked hard to make progress, which can lead to premature wear in neglected examples. Check for the obvious signs of wear; smoking, rattles and low oil pressure, but rebuilds are easy and cheap enough.

• Failed head gaskets aren’t unusual either, thanks to the engine having overheated. See if there’s a white emulsion on the underside of the oil filler cap.

• Gearboxes are tough but there’s no synchro on first gear. Even so you can expect a smooth gearchange. Wear is inevitable of course, but rebuilds are possible, and costs aren’t high.

• The kingpin bushes need to be greased every 1000 miles; on early cars the steering links need lubricating just as frequently. A lack of lubrication leads to rapid wear.

• The semi-trailing arm rear suspension provides a comfortable ride but it needs to be kept in alignment to get the best out of it and to prevent uneven tyre wear. So get a four-wheel alignment done, just to be sure.

• If the steering is vague it’s probably because the steering box is worn. Things may be able to be tightened up but if not, expect a big bill to put things right.

• The all-round drum brakes are perfectly adequate for the limited performance available, but if you want the added security of discs up front, a conversion kit is available.
Model history
1955: Fiat 600 launched in March; by October there’s a Zastava version being built in Yugoslavia.
1956: The 600 Multipla MPV is introduced, along with a 600 convertible that features a large roll-back fabric sunroof.
1957: Wind-down windows replace the previous sliding items. Production starts of the SEAT 600 in Spain and the Neckar Jagst 600 in Germany.
1960: Fiat 600 production begins in Argentina and the Fiat 600D is introduced, with front quarterlights and a 767cc engine.
1962: There’s now a Zastava 750 edition.
1964: There are now front-hinged doors.
1965: Production ends of the 600 Multipla.
1969: The final Fiat 600 is made.
1973: Production of the SEAT 600 is halted.
1979: The Zastava is now offered in 843cc (850) form.
1982: Argentinian production of the Fiat 600 ends.
1985: The last Zastava 750 is made.
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.sportingfiatsclub.com
• www.fiat500enthusiasts.co.uk
• www.fiatmotorclubgb.com
Summary and prices

Due to the much smaller number of surviving examples than the smaller 500, the more practical 600 models are continuing to rise in value, although they still lag behind the miniature icon. Savable project cars can still be found from £1500, but scruffy running examples can be picked up for £3000. While restoration can be expensive, it means that the best examples are now fetching a premium, at £8000-£10,000. 
600 Multipla models are significantly more collectible, and fetch very strong prices when they do come up for sale. £15,000-£20,000 is the price for a straight car, but prepare to pay up to £30,000 for a top car. 
Words: Richard Dredge 
Fiat 600 Fiat 600 Fiat 600 Fiat 600D Multipla Fiat 600 Abarth 1000TC
Last updated: 3rd Dec 2015
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Fiat 600 cars for sale

3 Search results
Fiat 600
4180 36000 GBP
  • fiat 600 d

    £4,180 £4,180

    very nice conditions, start and drive, repaint, no rust. regular road papers http://www.alfavintage.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/VID_20160702_102540.mp4 http://www.alfavintage.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/VID_20160702_102509.mp4

    • Year: 1966
    • Mileage: 83832 mi
    For sale
    Alfa Vintage
    +39 348 25 47 887 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 1964 Fiat 600D

    £15,000 £15,000

    This RHD car has had two owners from new. It underwent a complete rebuild during 2008-2010, has 58,053 miles on the speedo and comes with a 12 month MOT. Uprated by MBG with Abarth A112 70hp engine, front disc brakes, Abarth spec. and suspension with adjustable gas dampers. It is fitted with front bucket seats. This car is badged Fiat 600 but performs as an Abarth - wonderful condition and great fun!

    • Year: 1964
    For sale
  • Fiat 600

    €36,000(£32,097.60) €36,000(£32,097.60)

    Extremely Rare 1957 Fiat 600 Coupé Viotti • Approximately 100 examples were built • Today less than 20 examples survive • Concorso Villa d’Este eligible model • A similar car was shown at the Quail More information on our website: www.kucarfa.nl

    • Year: 1957
    • Mileage: 70900 mi
    For sale
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