Car Show Outtake: Fiat 500 – Really Small Or Somewhat Small?

1971 2011 Fiat 500_3

The current Fiat 500 is a small car. Except for the two-seat Smart and the 3+ seat Scion/Toyota iQ, it is the smallest car available in North America, and one of the smallest cars sold in Europe. But compared to its stylistic inspiration, it’s big.

1971 2011 Fiat 500_4

The FIAT 500 Nuova, launched in 1957, Β was truly a small car. At 117 in, it was three inches shorter than a BMC Mini; its wheelbase was eight inches shorter and it was three inches narrower. It was powered by a rear mounted air cooled, 479cc twin cylinder engine, producing all of 13 bhp. Conceptually, it was all rather VW Beetle, except for its size.

1971 2011 Fiat 500_2

The biggest factor in flagging the difference in size between these cars is the weight – at up to 2000 lb the 2014 car weighs exactly twice the 1957 car.

The yellow example shown in a 1971 FIAT 500; there was also the 500L , a nominally more “luxurious” version with a revised interior and all of 17 bhp.

1971 2011 Fiat 500_1

So which do you want to take home? I know my choice!