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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.