The new Fiat 500 Spiaggina ’58 is a limited edition model that’s arriving in the Middle East next year to celebrate 60 years of the adorable wicker-chaired Jolly…
Dante Giacosa put Italy on wheels. Well, the original Vespa put Italy on wheels, but only two wheels, mind you. And we all know four is better than two, so Giacosa gets the credit.
Even though he already had a hit on his hands with the original Fiat 500 affectionately known as the Topolino (Italian for Mickey Mouse), it was the Nuova 500 launched in 1957 that became a symbol of Italy recognised all around the world. The following year, Italians were having even more fun up and down the 7,600km of coastline they’re blessed with, thanks to the 1958 Fiat 500 Jolly, a beach car with an air-cooled rear-mounted engine and wicker chairs. Oh, and a fabric awning for a roof…
Today they might be busy killing Lancia slowly, but back then the Italians really knew how to have fun, and it seems they’ve rediscovered some of that zest for life with a special edition car marking the 60th anniversary of the famous 500 Jolly. And so to the new 500 Spiaggina ’58, a model limited to (predictably) 1,958 examples worldwide, and crucially a model that will be available in the Middle East from 2019.
Ok, so the Middle East branch of Fiat may have missed the point of a 60th anniversary by actually marking it 61 years later, but we’re still glad the little Spiaggina is coming to our shores, even if they’ve forgotten the wicker and cloth.
Besides being a ‘full-options’ car the 500 Spiaggina (it loosely translates to something like beach-ette, or lil’ beachey, because spiaggia in Italian is beach) also comes in exclusive Volare Blue paintwork with a two-tone interior, and some retro-styled aluminium wheels that look like hubcapped steelies. And you know we love us some steelies.
Unlike the original two-cylinder engine producing 22 horsepower 60 years ago, the new Spiaggina gets a 1.4-litre turbo rated at 99bhp so it’ll certainly be faster than the Jolly – in 1958 it could barely crest 100km/h.
Finishing things off, the special wheel design makes it look like the Spiaggina rolls on whitewall tyres, if you squint. But we’ll take what we can get, and if you get your hands on one of the 1,958 cars available you’re sure to be the main attraction down at Dubai’s Kite Beach. That is, of course, if you can find a parking spot.