Summer 1958 saw the introduction of the exclusive Fiat 500 Jolly, better known as the "Spiaggina", and it was the embodiment of "La Dolce Vita". 60 years later the iconic "Spiaggina" makes an elegant return to Europe's most famous resorts in the form of the new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series. Produced as a limited edition of 1,958 cars, it's a tribute to the year of the birth of the original and marks the 60th anniversary of the first special series of the 500.
To mark this dual anniversary Fiat has produced a video to the notes of the song "Volare", the ever-popular Italian classic which also appeared for the first time in 1958, starring the new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58".
Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth brand, explains: "The new "Spiaggina '58" is our gift to 500 for its birthday and the 60th anniversary of the "Spiaggina", a real "time machine" incorporating many reminders of the Dolce Vita era, such as the vintage Fiat logos and wheels, the white belt liner, the choice of convertible format only and the two-tone interior. Not to mention a special colour just for this series: Volare Blue. A name and a colour that take us straight back to 1958, to the Sanremo Festival of that year, when a young Domenico Modugno teamed up with Johnny Dorelli to give the first public performance of "Nel blu dipinto di blu", the famous song also known as "Volare", the soundtrack for the Dolce Vita years."
What's more, two other Italian centres of excellence - creative hub Garage Italia and design firm Pininfarina - have marked the anniversary by producing the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia" showcar. Based on a Fiat 500C, it features unique, sophisticated solutions that reinterpret those unforgettable years for today's world.
Lapo Elkann, Chairman and Creative Director of Garage Italia, commented: "Love at first sight, the kind that strikes deep into your heart and soul. This what I feel whenever I look at or drive a 500. I fell in love with the car when I was a boy, and as I grew up I was determined to bring it back to life. I am so happy about the model's relaunch, and hope it will convey the dreams and the magical years of the post-war economic boom and the Italian way of enjoying life. Since 2007, year after year, I've always personalised 500s for myself, and the opening of Garage Italia has enabled us to design a multitude of one-off versions, all confirming the versatility and immense contemporary appeal of this vehicle, still one of the world's best-loved brands.
"11 years have now passed since the model was reborn on 4 July 2007 and today, through Garage Italia, I've decided to celebrate and renew a splendid Italian icon by working with my design centre to create the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia", styled by my team with invaluable technical and engineering input from Pininfarina and with the support of the Fiat brand. I'm proud of what we have achieved, and I'm proud that all this has been done in Italy, with Italian firms which promote our beloved country all around the world. I'm sure that this car will make people imagine, dream and interpret the Italian way of enjoying life that has been inspiring the world for generations."
"Creativity and feasibility, technology and craftsmanship: Pininfarina's trademark characteristics at the service of a new icon of Italian design and know-how," explains Pininfarina CEO Silvio Pietro Angori. "The Spiaggina project has enabled Pininfarina to once again display its design capabilities and its natural vocation for the creation of unique, exclusive models. It was passion and attention to detail which enabled the firm's Founder Pinin Farina to build the Eden Roc for Giovanni Agnelli in the '50s. Today, these same qualities have guided Pininfarina in the development and building of the Spiaggina, starting from the configuration created by Garage Italia on the basis of the Fiat 500C. The Spiaggina project has brought together companies and people which have made the car, as both aesthetic object and industrial project, their mission."
The new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series
The new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series will be produced in a limited edition of 1,958 cars and is only available as a convertible. As befits a star of "La Dolce Vita", the new special series "wears" an exclusive Volare Blue livery, with ivory soft-top, shown off by a white belt liner and the vintage-design 16-inch alloy wheels. This exclusive colour scheme is enhanced by other distinctive features, including side mouldings with 500 logo, the chromed door mirror covers, the vintage Fiat logos and the chromed "Spiaggina '58" badge, in elegant italic script, on the rear.
The interior has the same class and elegance, with original and authentic design touches including the dashboard in the same Volare Blue colour as the exterior and a refined two-tone design for the seats, with grey striped base and ivory upper section. The chic interior is completed by specific floor mats and a steering wheel with vintage Fiat logo. The new "Spiaggina '58" special series offers the very best in connectivity since it is equipped as standard with Uconnect 7-inch HD LIVE touchscreen radio, so it's Apple CarPlay ready and compatible with Android AutoTM, as well as featuring navigation with Tom Tom maps and DAB digital radio. Also standard are the largest-in-class 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, rain and dusk sensors, automatic air-conditioning and rear parking sensors. The Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" is available with the 1.2-litre 69hp petrol engine, compliant with the latest Euro6D regulations.
Heir to a symbol of the "Dolce Vita"
Just a year after its launch on 4 July 1957, the Fiat 500 became a real cult object with the debut of its first special series: the 500 Jolly, better known as "Spiaggina", or "beach buggy". Built by Carrozzeria Ghia on the basis of the Fiat 500, and later also on the Giardiniera version, this exclusive car was produced from 1958 to 1965 and sold in Europe, the United States and even South Africa. Costing twice the price of the normal version, the special seaside version found favour with the most influential personalities of the age - including shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and actor Yul Brynner - who chose it as a "land tender" for their yachts or as a golf car on their country estates . A Fiat 500 Jolly even featured in the personal car collection of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
One of its distinctive features was the absence of doors - guard ropes were not introduced until around 1965 - although the most innovative aspect of its design was inclusion of the chromed rails in the sides and along the top of the bodywork, supporting the sunshade-canopy. It was equipped with a 22hp air-cooled two-cylinder engine, which gave the 500 Jolly a top speed of 65mph.
Spiaggina by Garage Italia
Fun and carefree, these are the feelings conveyed by the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia" showcar at first glance. This is achieved thanks to its typical summer colours, sky Blue and pearl white, which distinguish the two-tone livery of the body with Garage blue finishes and matching interior upholstery. The roof, just like the traditional '60s Spiaggina, has been removed and the rear passenger space has been transformed into a generous compartment with a built-in "shower" which can accommodate all the beach essentials. This modification was made possible thanks to the support of Pininfarina technicians, who assisted Garage Italia staff with the structural reinforcement work, such as the rear roll-bar, to ensure the chassis rigidity.
There truly are a host of details to make the latest creation by Lapo Elkann's creative hub one of a kind. The showcar has a lowered nautical windscreen and the load platform is covered with slatted cork, with a pattern recalling the design of teak floor boards on luxury yachts.
The two front seats have been replaced by a tailor-made bench which brings to mind the typical design of 1960s cars, embellished with blue and white Foglizzo Leather upholstery with a waterproof treatment. The chrome trim on the door handles, door mirrors and hubcaps on the vintage-look alloy wheels all contribute to making the "Spiaggina by Garage Italia" sparkle under the sun.
From showcar to production, there won't be long to wait. The car can be ordered and customised with all the features seen on this one-off by Garage Italia. This includes the possibility of replacing the front windscreen with a low nautical-style deflector. The production car can be equipped with any of the engine versions currently available on the Fiat 500 range.
The Fiat 500 collection becomes even richer and more exclusive
The 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" special series is the latest addition to the Fiat 500 collection, which comprises an impressive number of special editions over the last 11 years. The Fiat 500 has always been a trendsetter which, while remaining true to itself, has been re-interpreted over time, linking its name to iconic brands from the worlds of fashion, luxury yachts, arts and sport, in truly unique versions that have explored unusual territories for a city car. Examples include the stylish Diesel, Gucci and GQ editions and the recent Collezione in the world of fashion, the amazing Riva and Abarth Rivale evoking luxury yachts, the original Anniversario and 500-60th series celebrating the model's great forebear, and finally the 500 Mirror, with top-end connectivity for the modern lifestyle. Today it is the turn of the 500 "Spiaggina ‘58" to continue the story of the Fiat icon.
Launched in 1957 and established over the years as the symbol of mass car ownership in Italy, Fiat 500 was reborn in 2007 with the debut of the new model, soon to become a global phenomenon. Its success is demonstrated by over 2 million cars sold in more than 100 countries worldwide, with over 80% of sales outside Italy. A success that has made the 500 number one in Europe in its segment since 2013*. This status has been confirmed during the first five months of 2018, with leadership in 10 markets and a top-3 placing in 6 other countries. The model's growth shows no sign of abating, as in the first five months of 2018 and in its eleventh year, the 500 once again broke its own records, with more than 93,000 cars sold in Europe, making these its best five months ever.
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