‘Little mouse’ 1947 Fiat 500 Topolino

The Pick of the Day is a microcar that packs a lot of style into a small package

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The little Fiat Topolino has an elegant design

One of the cutest microcars ever made came from Italy, of course, debuting in 1936 as a “people’s car” designed to put the nation on wheels during the economic turmoil of the 1930s.  It also has one of the most descriptive names of any vehicle, Topolino, which in English translates roughly to “little mouse.”

Disney fans know that Topolino also was the name that Italians dubbed Mickey Mouse, who was a popular American import. 

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The Pick of the Day is a 1947 Fiat 500 Topolino, a Transformable model with a fabric roof that slides back, and painted Maroon with a tan interior. 

“Convertible versions like this one with a retracting roof (aka the transformable) are among the most desirable and collectible today,” according to the Astoria, New York, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. “Launched in 1936, the new baby Fiat was the smallest mass-produced car of its time. With two seats, a 13bhp 569cc engine and a 6-foot wheelbase, it was designed to bring motoring to the masses.”

With typically innovative Italian engineering, the tiny 4-cylinder engine was mounted ahead of the front axle with the radiator located behind it, allowing the stylishly steep rake of the grille.  Rear-hinged “suicide” doors, full fenders and the spare tire inset in the trunk lid showed that even the simplest and least-expensive cars can be elegantly designed, Italian style.

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This looks to be a well-restored example of the Fiat 500, with its opening roof that provides al fresco motoring on a small scale.

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“Convertible versions like this one with a retracting roof (aka the transformable) are among the most desirable and collectible today,” the seller notes in the ad description.

The Topolino would be such a fun craft for tooling around town (unless, like me, you’re way too big to fit) but forget road trips – the top speed is just 50 mph, which was probably registered going downhill with a tail wind. Really, 13 horsepower doesn’t amount to much no matter how small the car.

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But wherever you go, the little car would be an outsized attention getter.

The asking price for this small slice of Italian caprice is $19,500. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Some other model names that sound wonderful in ltalian but have English translations that sound pretty ordinary: Barchetta (little boat), Quatraporte (four door), Millecinqecento (1500). Those are three that spring to mind without trying too hard. Anyone got any more?

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