1973 FIAT 500 LView vehicle description
The Fiat 500 was produced between 1957 and 1975, though the limited production of the Fiat 500K estate continued for a further two years. It was designed by Dante Giacosa, a talented man without a doubt.
Although diminutive in size, the 500 proved to be ever so popular throughout Europe, especially with city dwellers who were able to nip through tight back streets and park in the smallest of spots.
The 500 is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognisable cars on the planet and even with over 3.8 million built during the 18-year production run, they are now a comparatively rare sight on the road.
The early cars were very simple in their nature, with the aim of keeping costs low and accessibility high. Powered by a 499cc air-cooled two-cylinder engine, the Fiat 500 is often cited as the first successful purpose-built city car.
Such was the car’s success that is spawned all manner of variants. From the sports-focused Abarth models to the stretched-out ‘Giardiniera’ estate cars, the 500 sits up with the likes of the Volkswagen Beetle and the Austin Mini as one of the true icons of automotive history.
On sale here is a delightful 1973 Fiat 500 and a car which had one owner up until 2018. The then purchaser’s intention was to undertake a thorough restoration and it all began swimmingly. It was to be a present for his wife.
He stripped the car completely, carrying out the much needed bodywork repairs, before either losing interest or the ability to complete the work.
Our seller, an ex-Fiat Technician, purchased the car from him last year in its disassembled state and set about continuing the good work. He is somewhat of a Fiat expert, having worked for a Fiat dealership in the 1970s and ‘80s. He also confesses to being a serial Fiat 500 restorer, this car being number four. It is a passion and a hobby and looking at the standard of his workmanship, he clearly is spending his time wisely.
The car has been restored to as close to original factory specification as is possible, retaining original fixings and yellow zinc plating them as was the way back then.
Receipts galore attest to what has been done but spend some time and pore over the photographs of this fine Fiat and marvel at its condition. Or better still, pay us a visit and have a look at it in the metal.
On the Outside
The 500’s previous owner dismantled the car fully and had the body shell and other relevant mechanical components media blasted. The corroded areas were professionally repaired, replacement panels fitted where required and then a full respray in the car’s original Coral Orange was carried out.
We have to say that the sprayer clearly knew his art as the paintwork positively gleams. Panel gaps too look neat and precise, the car looking as though it has just left the factory.
The black sunroof is in excellent condition and can be opened in an instant, ideal for the UK’s variable climate in which a rain shower is never far away.
There’s lots of shiny chrome and we are told all of it is brand new. Lamps are new Carello units.
One of the few slight deviations from the original factory spec are the modern replica wheels. These new safety rims allow for the fitment of tubeless tyres, which seems sensible to us. And of course, new tyres are fitted all round.
On the Inside
The 500 is a packaging marvel, with seating for four. There might have to be a bit of give and take legroom wise, but children will love the back seats. Plenty of glass ensures a bright and airy interior, as does the expanse of body-coloured painted metal.
The seats, door cards and carpets are all newly fitted and are as one would expect like new.
The rest of the interior is a simple one and all the better for it. Ahead of the driver sits the speedometer, set in a minimalistic dashboard with few switches. There is little to distract the driver from the simple pleasure of just driving, something we applaud.
Luggage space is shall we say modest, the front compartment also housing the petrol tank and spare wheel. A little shopping or a couple of squashy bags will fit if a weekend away is on the cards. However, the rear seat back folds forward leaving a flat platform, ideal for suitcases for those that simply cannot travel light.
In his quest to create the best Fiat 500, our seller made sure that the car’s underside is as impressive as on top. To that end, a trawl through our picture gallery will show gleaming paint and a plethora of brand new and fully refurbished parts.
The suspension components were mostly reused but were blasted before being powder coated.
The care and time taken is truly impressive and since the car’s restoration was completed, it has been used sparingly and not in the wet, we believe. A few car shows and the odd day out.
It will come as no surprise that the 500’s compact engine bay is in mighty fine order. New components abound. The owner subjected the engine to a full strip and re build, with new pistons, rings, main and big end bearings, new timing chain and gears, new seals and gaskets etc. Its hardly surprising then, the peppy engine fires up smartly, and, with little weight to haul around, a decent turn of speed is possible.
The gearbox was also stripped down to make sure that all was well and it was in surprisingly good order, so may have been replaced at some point in the car’s life.
The good folk at Motorbambino Ltd have done very well out of the 500’s restoration. A vast array of invoices from this well known parts supplier accompany the car. From reading them you will see just how many new parts have been fitted during the restoration.
There are invoices for new panels and sills used doing the bodywork phase, but it’s the details of all the smaller components fitted that will truly impress. Over £5,000 went into their till.
With regards to the engine, one invoice shows that a new piston and liner set was ordered, along with new crank bearings, a big end set and push rod tube. From that we can deduce that the engine was subject to a rebuild, but there is no invoice for the work itself being done.
The Fiat is registered as an historic vehicle with the DVLA and therefore does not need to be MoTed each year. We have little doubt that it would pass the current test with flying colours, such is the standard of workmanship.
What We Think
There are always Fiat 500s for sale on the open market at any one time. However, we challenge you to find one as good as this one. We daren’t say as good as new, but…
The subject of a painstaking restoration by its last two owners, and properly stored in a garage when not in use, the car is ready to roll and enjoy this late summer.
Pack up a picnic, roll back the roof and head off into the countryside. Get used to the many admiring glances and to drawing a crowd when parked up. This is an eye-catching car without a doubt.
We confidently expect the funky 500 to attract a lot of interest and we expect a sale price of between £12,000 and £15,000.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
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BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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