Fiat 500B Topolino
With the intent to bring motoring to the masses, Fiat hosted a design competition amongst it’s technical staff. They requested proposals for a vehicle that was seemingly a four-wheeled chameleon. It needed to be, “A baby sports car for a budding Grand Prix driver. Something to replace a rich farmer's donkey for that rare trip into town. An object to be hungered after by every factory worker. A possession for which young couples would work six days a week in an unlatin-like frenzy.” (Car and Driver, March 1964) Engineer Dante Giacosa’s entry answered the call. It was compact with a 6½ ft wheelbase, yet capable of transporting luggage or parcels, and fuel efficient at 47 mpg, yet reliably delivered 13 hp at 4000 rpm “up Alp and down Alp”.
Fiat introduced the 500 “Topolino” in 1936. Topolino translates to “little mouse”, a term of endearment the Italian people gave the 500. Produced until 1955, over 500,000 were made. At the time of its introduction, the Topolino was the smallest car on the market. Throughout its production, three variations were introduced, marked by minor cosmetic and mechanical changes.
Flat out in its first iteration, you’d be able to hit 52 mph, propelled by a 569 cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine churning out 13 hp. Of the three models produced, Model Type A and B shared the same body, however, the engine of model type B had been bumped up to 16 hp. The Model C was introduced in 1949 with a restyled body and the same engine as the Model B.
The Topolino here is a 1949 Model B with 4-speed manual transmission and the original owner's manual. It's had a recent engine rebuild and tune-up, and a new exhaust installed. Being an original car, it is subject to short-term mechanical needs which may require attention.
Opportunity to own an example of one of the most significant Fiats ever made