Fiat reentered the American market with the Cinquecento, otherwise known as the 500. A Mini Cooper-influenced retro minicar that was even smaller, the 500 was a throwback to the 500 that was built from 1957-75 (and the successor to the 500 famously known as “Topolino”). But there was a similar, larger version that appeared two years before. One of these cars, a 1961 Fiat 600, is our Pick of the Day. It is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Addison, Illinois. (Click the link to view the listing)
When looking at the 600, you can’t help but think of the Volkswagen Beetle or even the Renault 4CV thanks to rounded, “buggy” design and rear-engine packaging. Fiat had aimed to create something simple yet innovative, which is why one prototype features a V2 that lacked a clutch pedal. However, the production car featured a water-cooled 633cc four-cylinder with four-speed manual (with synchros in three gears). The 600 could carry four adults with luggage, though acceleration was leisurely at best, and worse with passengers. Later versions offered a 767cc four.
Though the 600 was produced by Fiat through 1969, it found a second life in several other countries with their own home-grown auto industries. Most popular was SEAT, which was produced in Spain through 1973, including a four-door version. Yugoslavia (Serbia) built the Zastava 750 through 1985, which also included the Zastava 850 with an upgrade to 843cc. And Argentina built the Fiat 600 with engines up to 903cc. Other markets built the 600 but none as substantial as the above.
Look closely at this 1961 Fiat 600 and note the suicide doors. Cool! Other features include Light Ivory paint with red and white interior with front bucket seats, shoulder belts, and gas tank under the front trunk. With only 98,634 kilometers (just over 61,000 miles), there’s plenty of life left in the slow lane for this little Italian. Though the seller doesn’t specify, we think this 600 is a 600D, which means it features the upgraded 767cc four with 32 horsepower.
For $22,998, you can drive around la città in style. This Fiat’s good on gas, has reasonable utility, and it’ll make you the most popular guy or gal in town. Parts are plentiful and it’s easy to work on, though if you’re the kind to be intimidated, you could always find a guy named Tony for maintenance.