SOLD | 1954 Fiat 500 C Spiaggina
Thanks to Fiat’s 500 ‘Topolino’, built from 1936 to 1955, hundreds of thousands of Italians had the opportunity to own a car for the very first time. After the war, it was its predecessor, the 600, that practically put the rest of the country behind the wheel during the economic boom that swept Italy from the mid-1950s to the 1960s. As the economy stabilised and the bon vivant began to make their way to the Italian Riviera once again, cars started to be used as fun and exciting modes of travel instead of just as necessities. With the abundance of Fiats on the road, it seemed only practical to start turning them into fun, little spiagginas — Italian for beach car. The first to start this trend is said to be the ever-stylish Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli, who kept his bespoke Fiat 600-based example on his yacht and would winch it down every time he docked at the marina.
Unsurprisingly, demand grew and a variety of market alternatives were offered, including many conversions by some of the best design houses, such as Pininfarina, Vignale and Ghia. Although, there was no better candidate for conversion than the original ‘Topolino’.
This car first started life as a 500C ‘Topolino’ Belvedere, but as was the fate of many of these cars — affectionately nicknamed the ‘Little Mouse’, for the one and only Mickey — was converted to spiaggia specification in period. The car was eventually purchased by a Lake Como-based Topolino museum, from which the current owner purchased the car 15 years ago. Later, in March 2016 this car was featured in Octane Magazine.
Along with an all-steel chassis and a 569 cc, four-cylinder, OHV engine with a Weber 22DRS carburettor, the car is fitted with an Art Deco steering wheel and a grab handle on the passenger’s side. The doors were replaced with a secured woven rope, the roof with a parasol, and all four seats with wicker chairs. With room for four adults and all the equipment necessary for an enjoyable day at the beach, this mint green Spiaggina will turn heads at any waterfront resort, from the French riviera to the Amalfi Coast.