The Fiat 500, commonly known as “Topolino”, is an Italian city car produced and manufactured by Fiat from 1936 to 1955.
The name “Topolino” translates literally as “little mouse” in Italian, but is also the Italian name for Mickey Mouse.
The Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1937, three models were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. It was equipped with a 569 cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, (later an overhead valve motor) and so was a full-scale car. The radiator was located behind the engine which made possible a lowered aerodynamic nose profile at a time when competitors had a flat, nearly vertical grille. The shape of the car’s front allowed exceptional forward visibility.
Rear suspension initially used quarter-elliptic rear springs, but buyers frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominally two-seater car, and in later models the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs.
With horsepower of about 13 bhp, its top speed was about 53 mph (85 km/h), and it could achieve about 39.2 miles per gallon (6.00 L/100 km; 47.1 mpg). Nearly 520,000 were sold.
Three models were produced. Model A and B shared the same body, only the engine of model B had 16 hp, vs. 13 hp of Model A. Model A was produced from 1937 to 1948, while B was produced in 1948 and 1949. Model A was offered as a 2-door saloon, 2-door convertible (with folding roof) and a 2-door van, while Model B also introduced a 3-door estate under the name 500 B Giardinetta. Model C was introduced in 1949 with a restyled body and the same engine as Model B, and was offered in 2-door saloon, 2-door convertible saloon, 3-door estate and 2-door van versions. In 1952, Giardinetta was renamed Belvedere (“A turret or other raised structure offering a pleasant view of the surrounding area”, referring to its sunroof). Model C was produced until 1955.
This beautiful Topolino was built in 1949, making it an early model C. It was subject to a full restoration in 2014, restoring the bodywork, mechanicals and interior. Garaged since, the car presents in excellent condition.