1959 FIAT 600
Displacement: 38.45 cu. in./ .63 L
Horsepower: 28 hp at 4,800 RPM
Transmission: 4-speed manual
A Little History
The Fiat 600 was a microcar, or city car, produced by Fiat from 1955 to 1969. It was the first ever rear-engined Fiat, with over 2.5 million units sold in its production span. At its introduction, the marketplace was rabid for a tiny yet capable car like this. It was designed to fit four passengers and their luggage, with the ability to easily cruise through the narrow and often-times treacherous Italian streets at a speed of no less than 85 km/h.
The 600 was so popular that Fiat released two other variations within one year of initial production: the 600 soft-top and the 600 Mulipla, a 6-seater micro van. They also began branching out their production to multiple countries around the world under slightly different names: the SEAT 600 in Spain, the Fiat 600 Neckar Jagst in Germany, and the Zatava 750 in former Yugoslavia, as well as several South American companies.
The most rare of all the Fiat variations, however, was the 600 Jolly, currently on display. In 1958, Fiat shipped approximately 200 600s to the Italian design house Ghia, the same designer who built the 1955 Lincoln Futura that was the foundation of the Batmobile on display as well. Each Jolly featured wicker seats, eliminated doors, and a hand rail along the perimeter to make up for the lack of seatbelts. The fringed top to shield passengers from the sun was a factory option depending on the buyer.
The Jolly cars cost nearly double what a typical 600 did back then, and were made primarily to be stored on the fronts of facts, then lowered onto the beach when island hopping in the Mediterranean. 32 of the completed Jolly cars were used as taxis on the island of Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles from 1958 to 1962. The remainder of them were owned privately by very wealthy and famous people, including Aristotle Onassis, Grace Kelley, Mary Pickford, and Mae West, among others.
Did you know?
There are only an estimated 100 Jolly cars left in existence today.
Each Jolly is different from one another. There were custom-made to their buyer’s requests.