1959 Fiat 600 Jolly
Displacement: 33.45 cu. in./.63 L
Horsepower: 28 hp at 4,800 RPM
Transmission: 4-speed manual
A Little History
The Fiat 600 was a mini car, or city car, produced by Fiat from 1955 to 1969. It was the first ever rear-engine Fiat, with over 2.5 million units sold in the span of its production. The 600 was so popular that Fiat released two other variations within one year of initial production: the 600 soft-top and the 600 Multipla – a 6-seater micro van. The Jolly cars cost nearly double what a typical 600 did back then and were made primarily to be stored on the fronts of yachts, then lowered onto the beaches when island hopping in the Mediterranean.
In 1958, Fiat shipped approximately two hundred 600s to the Italian design house Ghia. 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 were privately owned by very wealthy and famous people, including Aristotle Onassis, husband of Jackie, and President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was designed to fit four passengers and their luggage, with the ability to effortlessly cruise through the narrow and often treacherous Italian streets at a speed of no less than 85 km/hr.
There are only an estimated 100 Jolly cars left in existence today. Each Jolly is unique, as they were custom-made to their buyers’ requests. Every example featured wicker seats, eliminated doors and a hand rail along the perimeter to make up for the lack of seatbelts.
A Fiat 600 Jolly, the ultimate beach car, made a memorable appearance with Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K. in 2012 on the Netflix series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.