While behind the wheel of this tiny time machine, it’s easy to imagine cruising the Amalfi Coast with a charming companion or waiting nervously for the start of the 1954 Mille Miglia, where this specific Fiat 500C raced in the enthusiastically crowded Turismo Nazionale 750 class.
Everyone named the car the “Topolino”, part for the size, part from the mouse-alike front, resembling the successful Walt Disney’s character Mickey Mouse (Topolino, in Italy)
The little “Topolino” is one of the most reknown and iconic car, even beyond the cars’ world.
Born in the 1930s’, it was the vehicle of the Italian renaissance before that the postwar new models hit the roads.
The origins of the car are quite adventurous, in 1930 Benito Mussolini talked to Giovanni Agnelli, senator of the Kingdom, about the imperative need of a low-cost car for the masses.
As the car should cost less than Lit. 5000, the task was arduous.
A young engineer, Dante Giacosa, scaled down the previous Balilla project, simplifying anything, as the cooling and the structure of the engine, while the body lines were inspired by the FIAT 1500 with a smooth bonnet, good for airflow and visibility.
The aeronautical experience of Giacosa inspired the lightened double rails chassis with the engine, a 569cc, 4 cylinder side-valve, cantilever mounted, to improve space inside. The prototypes had successful tests.
The car was presented in June 10, 1936 at Villa Torlonia, and the price was of Lit. 8.900, higher than the goal of Lit. 5.000 and really high for a common worker, but the car sold anyway.
Three models were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes.
Model A and B shared the same body, only the engine of model B had 16 hp, versus 13 hp of Model A.
Model A was produced from 1937 to 1948, while B was produced in 1948 and 1949.
Model A was offered as a 2-door saloon, 2-door convertible saloon and a 2-door van, while Model B also introduced a 3-door estate under the name 500 B Giardinetta.
Model C was introduced in 1949 with a restyled body and the same engine as Model B, and was offered in 2-door saloon, 2-door convertible saloon, 3-door estate and 2-door van versions.
In 1952, Giardinetta was renamed Belvedere (A pleasant view of the surrounding area, referring to its sunroof).
Model C was produced until 1955.
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
This example is one of the third series – also called Fiat 500C Belvedere. This Belvedere was originally delivered on the 25th. of September 1952 in Lucca. A city in Tuscany, Central Italy.
When delivered new, it was sold in Italy and remained for a long time in Italy.
In the 1954 Mille Miglia, this Fiat 500 Belvedere entered with Start Number 2113 with the drivers from Lucca and Viareggio Pietro Manodori and Mrs. Giovanna Moscatelli.
Mr. Manodori was the recorded owner of the car from new in 1952 until 1956 when he sold the Fiat to its next owner.
Period pictures and documentation from the Mille Miglia Museum Archive in Brescia provide indications of its beautiful competition career.
In November 1959 the Fiat was purchased by a gentleman in Forte dei Marmi, a luxury destination on the Versilia coast.
The car remained dormant for a number of years before it was discovered, remarkably complete and original with photos on file, and subsequently restored.
The restoration was carried out in Italy and done on a very high quality level.
The car went from Italy to a Belgium collector who sold the car towards a Swiss collector and this collector traded the Fiat on car from our collection.
In this French collection a comprehensive restoration with eye for perfection and originality was carried out.
The body of the Belvedere is in a very nice / top restored condition. The paint is wonderful and the nice details of the original race number is off-course amazing.
The number 2113 has a meaning as the car started at 21:13 hours in the 1954 Mille Miglia. A detail which may never been taken off in our opinion.
After restoration the Fiat 500 C Belvedere has been very well maintained and just benefited from recent work and an engine check up.
The interior has benefited from a superb refurbishment whereby the original characteristics has been kept on a new interior.
All meters on the dashboard are in a perfect functioning order.
The soft top has also been renewed and therefore the looks of the car are wonderful.
Absolutely amazing but this car could be used for a brochure how these cars were sold new.
We are personally completely in love with veteran Mille Miglia Fiat Topolinos and definitely with this rarest version Belvedere.
The driving capabilities of the Belvedere are even more spectacular. The car is driving fabulous and is running immediately and easy.
The handling of the car is impressive. Due to the low weight to power ratio the car is more fast then expected. The steering is direct and the car gives a lot of fun to drive.
Will be not one of the most expensive cars in the Mille Miglia but it certainly is the car which will get lots of attention and supporters.
We certainly hope to see this Fiat in the next Mille Miglia at the start.