CC Capsule : Nouva Fiat 500 – They Came In Verde Chiaro Back Then?

12223659316_6da5605599_cPhoto by Passin’ gas at the Cohort

I considered calling this CC Capsule, “My First CC Effect.”  Why?  Well, you see, I have a personal connection to the pastel color of this Fiat cinquecento.


May I present my neo CC: it’s a 2013 Pop 500 with a five-speed.  Ironically, I used to own a Ford Focus as well, although mine was of a different color and trim level than the one parked behind my Fiat.  Of course, the Nuova 500 (The 1936 Topolino model was the original 500) was quite a different beast.


This picture of the original car gives a good idea of the size differential that characterized the Nouva 500 on American roads.  A co-worker of mine who is a British expat once asked about my current car, “Jana, that bloody thing has a 500cc engine. How do you expect to get it up the hill to your apartment?”  I explained to him that my Fiat is technically a millequattrocento, as all 500s assembled in Chrysler’s Toluca plant have the MultiAir 1.4 liter from Dundee, Mich.  Maybe his ignorance helps explain why the modern 500 has yet to catch on: not only is it unable to rely on nostalgia like the New Beetle, as it was always an odd sight “over here,” it is also too small for most American tastes.  Admittedly, I’ve had to make some adjustments in adapting to the car (want to buy a recumbent bike?).

Of course, like the Beetle, the engine did move to the front.


At first, I thought the original Nuova 500 was a repaint, but looking more closely, I see it’s not the same shade as Verde Chiaro (Fiat/Chrysler/Mopar’s term for the similar shade my car is painted).  I can only hope the owner of that car is enjoying it as much as I have enjoyed mine over the six months that I’ve had it.

It’s sort of odd, as growing up in Jackson, MO (pop. 7,257, it said so right on the city limits sign), I never would have imagined owning a Fiat. But then, I wouldn’t have imagined living in Albany either.  I remember there was a Fiat dealer in nearby Cape Girardeau at the corner of William and Sprigg, across the street from Del Farm/National Foods, where my dad worked as a Pharmacist (he once accepted a ride from a fellow RpH in an MG Midget, only to discover he couldn’t fit inside).  In those days, foreign cars were best left to eccentrics like his friend Dr. Hutton, who could be counted on to be behind the wheel of a Volvo or a Saab.  As I rapidly approach another birthday that starts with the number five, I’ve found that I also fall into that category (well, I do have a recumbent bike!).


I’ll end my little tale with another example of the example of the CC Effect, as this gorgeous red example posted to Cohort by donandreina reminded me of my initial test drive.  I initially thought I was going to get a 500L, but the salesman threw me the keys to a red 500 and told me to “go have some fun.”  He was successful in wooing me into the smaller car, but while I do like “resale red,” I like not meeting members of the Renesslaer, NY Police even more. Besides, as a CC’er, how could I resist Verde Chiaro?

I’ll leave you with a video that summarizes the differences between the old and new 500.