A bit about Fiat:
In 1899, a group of businessmen banded together to create an Italian car company, this company was called Fiat. In 1899, Fiat released their first car which was known as the 4 HP, referring to the power that the car had. Ever since then, Fiat has continued to create cars so, to say the least, they have some experience. I would personally argue that they have created some of the coolest and most quintessentially Italian cars to have ever been on the market! However, many people would disagree with me on that so let me first just address this idea that, some how, Fiat is not a good representation of Italy.
Many people know Fiat as a small, Mini-like type of car that is specifically for people who have no earthly possessions or are obsessed with saving gas to the point at which they lose sleep over it. However, while size-wise that is a correct analyzation, that is not the right way to look at this company. Fiat may not represent Italy in the way that Lamborghini or Ferrari do, however, I think that they are a very good representation of Italian culture in ways that Ferrari and Lamborghini are not. The supercar makers represent the freeing ideals and the beauty of the country. They represent the freedom of the mountain roads and the coastal highways. Fiat on the other hand should be taken as a perfect representation of the cities of the country.
That’s a pretty big claim to make though, so lets dig a little deeper into it! Why do I think that Fiat represents the culture of Italian cities? Well, lets start off with some basic conclusions. Firstly, the size of the cars have always been made perfectly for Italian cities. Italy never had cities like London or New York with wide roads and lots of cars. Rather, Italian cities are filled with cramped roads, tightly packed building that are hundreds of years old, and tiny parking spaces. Also, much like the cars, the cities are packed with culture! These cars are small and beautiful cars that are full of spirit and in my opinion, that is a perfect representation of the Italian cities! There is one car in specific though that I would like to talk about when it comes to Fiat, and that is the Fiat 500 Cabriolet Holiday.
The Fiat 500 Cabriolet Holiday
For many years the Fiat 500 was the crown jewel of small cars that were prefect for the city. The original Fiat 500 went into production in the year 1957 and was sold until 1975. In total, almost 4 million units were produced! It was originally conceived as a small two seater car in 1957. The first model was called the Nuova 500 and had a massive 500cc engine! That is where the 500 in the name came from and for those not too familiar with engine terminology, that is an extremely small size for an engine. One fun fact about the earlier models is that they had what are called “suicide doors”. These are doors that essentially open backwards. They used to be a lot more common but now are only really featured on Rolls Royce cars, but more on that in another story.
The Fiat 500 was a barebones car that had a single gage right above the steering wheel. Many models didn’t have a radio, climate controls, seat controls, or even a clock. The Fiat 500 was meant simply for quickly hopping from place to place around town and then coming back home. It was small, easy to drive, and cheap. However, the design was beautiful! It had beautiful little features and the red and white color scheme was magnificent. It was well received and soon Fiat released two more models. Fiat released a cabriolet version that was a partial convertible, but we will come back to that one. They also released a sports version which had a bigger engine and a sportier paint job.
So, you may have noticed that the Fiat 500 cabriolet that I just mentioned has a similar name to that car in the title. That is because it is similar to the car but not quite the right one. The one I chose is not made by Fiat, or at least the finishing touches are not done by Fiat. Rather, they are done by a company that is called Vernagallo Stile, an Italian coach house that specializes in car design. You see, the Fiat 500 Cabriolet has a soft top that can be removed, but the sides don’t fold down with it and for some people, this was a problem. Some people wanted a truly convertible Fiat 500 and that is what Vernagallo Stile gave them.
The Fiat 500 Cabriolet Holiday is a full convertible model of the Fiat 500 that can put the top completely down. To me, this is the perfect car for many places in Italy. I cannot express to you the amount of money I would give to zip around Naples or Rome in one of these. It is outfitted with the same amenities as the previous versions, which means it pretty much just has a single dial that acts as the speedometer, the rpm counter, and the odometer. But that doesn’t matter. In fact, none of it matters and that’s the point. It has the spirit of a fun little car that you can just pop around in! Many of the older versions of these cars can still be found in use in the cities of Italy and France today because they still are extremely fuel efficient and fun to drive!
These cars are the spirit of Italian cities and show true and quintessential Italian design. In fact, I even think that they share some Italian similarities with the Ferraris and Lamborghinis. They are fun to drive, just like the supercars. They are nice to look at, also like the supercars. And, most importantly, they have character! I would love to one day be able to purchase on of these little cars! At the very least, I would like to rent one and then drive it around Italy! If you enjoyed this article, it would mean a lot if you follows the blog, or left a comment and let me know what you thought!