Fiat 500 1957 Edition revealed ahead of LA Auto ShowThu, 14 Nov 2013
While American teenagers were cruising around in finned interstate crushers, Europeans of all ages were discovering the wonder of automobile ownership thanks to the tiny, affordable Fiat Nuova 500, introduced to a car-hungry public in 1957. The little two-cylinder city car was a smash hit, with 3,893,294 built before production ended in 1975.
Fiat 500 production resumed in 2007, but the new car was vastly different from the original: Its engine gained two cylinders and moved to the front of the car, while its footprint, though diminutive by American standards, positively dwarfs that of its predecessor.
Fiat is trying to wind the clock back, in spirit at least, with the 500 1957 Edition. For this upcoming, limited-run car, Fiat engineers have downrated the 500's 1.4-liter MultiAir engine to just 15 hp -- the same output of the Nuova 500's 479 cc two-banger.
Just kidding. The drivetrain is no different from the one in the regular 500 Lounge: A 101-hp, 1.4-liter mated to a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic, which makes the 1957 Edition an appearance package. As far as retro-inspired appearance packages go, though, it's a fairly successful one.
Here's what you get:
-- Three old-school exterior paint colors to choose from. You can opt to go all-white (“bianco”) or pair light green (“verde chiaro”) or light blue (“celeste”) with a white roof.
-- Vintage-style Fiat badges on the wheels and the car's front and rear. It's a subtle touch, but one we're fond of.
-- Brown leather seats and matching brown accents on the shifter boot, armrests and steering wheel. It looks good next to all that white plastic paneling.
-- Special wheel covers color-matched to the body. Fiat resisted the urge to throw vintage-style dog dishes on the 1957 Edition's wheels, something VW couldn't seem to pass up on its most recent round of retro Bugs. The resulting rollers look more like something out of the 1980s, but we're not complaining.
If you think this limited-edition package adds just the right amount of character to the 500, you'll be able to pick one up in spring 2014. Pricing hasn't been announced at this point, but we'll bring you any news from the floor of the Los Angeles auto show.
About the LA Auto Show
The Los Angeles Auto Show has long served as a spotlight for "green" cars and a popular place to unveil new hybrid and electric vehicles. We'll have photos, video and complete coverage of all the manufacturer reveals and top news from this year's LA Auto Show right here, so check back often.
By Graham Kozak