AN EXCLUSIVE BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO THE FIAT 500
Summer 1958 saw the introduction of the exclusive Fiat 500 Jolly, better known as the "Spiaggina", and it was the embodiment of "La Dolce Vita". 60 years later the iconic "Spiaggina" makes an elegant return to Europe's most famous resorts in the form of the new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series.
Produced as a limited edition of 1,958 cars, it's a tribute to the year of the birth of the original and marks the 60th anniversary of the first special series of the 500.
What's more, two other Italian centres of excellence - creative hub Garage Italia and design firm Pininfarina - have marked the anniversary by producing the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia" showcar. Based on a Fiat 500C, it features unique, sophisticated solutions that reinterpret those unforgettable years for today's world.
The new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series
The new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series will be produced in a limited edition of 1,958 cars and is only available as a convertible. As befits a star of "La Dolce Vita", the new special series "wears" an exclusive Volare Blue livery, with ivory soft-top, shown off by a white belt liner and the vintage-design 16-inch alloy wheels. This exclusive colour scheme is enhanced by other distinctive features, including side mouldings with 500 logo, the chromed door mirror covers, the vintage Fiat logos and the chromed "Spiaggina '58" badge, in elegant italic script, on the rear.
The interior has the same class and elegance, with original and authentic design touches including the dashboard in the same Volare Blue colour as the exterior and a refined two-tone design for the seats, with grey striped base and ivory upper section. The chic interior is completed by specific floor mats and a steering wheel with vintage Fiat logo. The new "Spiaggina '58" special series offers the very best in connectivity since it is equipped as standard with Uconnect 7-inch HD LIVE touchscreen radio, so it's Apple CarPlay ready and compatible with Android AutoTM, as well as featuring navigation with Tom Tom maps and DAB digital radio. Also standard are the largest-in-class 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, rain and dusk sensors, automatic air-conditioning and rear parking sensors. The Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" is available with the 1.2-litre 69hp petrol engine, compliant with the latest Euro6D regulations.
Heir to a symbol of the "Dolce Vita"
Just a year after its launch on 4 July 1957, the Fiat 500 became a real cult object with the debut of its first special series: the 500 Jolly, better known as "Spiaggina", or "beach buggy". Built by Carrozzeria Ghia on the basis of the Fiat 500, and later also on the Giardiniera version, this exclusive car was produced from 1958 to 1965 and sold in Europe, the United States and even South Africa. Costing twice the price of the normal version, the special seaside version found favour with the most influential personalities of the age - including shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and actor Yul Brynner - who chose it as a "land tender" for their yachts or as a golf car on their country estates . A Fiat 500 Jolly even featured in the personal car collection of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
One of its distinctive features was the absence of doors - guard ropes were not introduced until around 1965 - although the most innovative aspect of its design was inclusion of the chromed rails in the sides and along the top of the bodywork, supporting the sunshade-canopy. It was equipped with a 22hp air-cooled two-cylinder engine, which gave the 500 Jolly a top speed of 65mph.
Spiaggina by Garage Italia
Fun and carefree, these are the feelings conveyed by the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia" showcar at first glance. This is achieved thanks to its typical summer colours, sky Blue and pearl white, which distinguish the two-tone livery of the body with Garage blue finishes and matching interior upholstery. The roof, just like the traditional '60s Spiaggina, has been removed and the rear passenger space has been transformed into a generous compartment with a built-in "shower" which can accommodate all the beach essentials. This modification was made possible thanks to the support of Pininfarina technicians, who assisted Garage Italia staff with the structural reinforcement work, such as the rear roll-bar, to ensure the chassis rigidity.
There truly are a host of details to make the latest creation by Lapo Elkann's creative hub one of a kind. The showcar has a lowered nautical windscreen and the load platform is covered with slatted cork, with a pattern recalling the design of teak floor boards on luxury yachts.
The two front seats have been replaced by a tailor-made bench which brings to mind the typical design of 1960s cars, embellished with blue and white Foglizzo Leather upholstery with a waterproof treatment. The chrome trim on the door handles, door mirrors and hubcaps on the vintage-look alloy wheels all contribute to making the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia" sparkle under the sun.
From showcar to production, there won't be long to wait. The car can be ordered and customised with all the features seen on this one-off by Garage Italia. This includes the possibility of replacing the front windscreen with a low nautical-style deflector. The production car can be equipped with any of the engine versions currently available on the Fiat 500 range.
For more information on the Spiaggina 58 please visit www.fiat.co.uk